The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California is the largest aquarium in Southern California and the fifth largest in the United States. Welcoming about 1.4 million visitors annually, it is the third largest attraction in the Los Angeles area and home to more than 500 species in 19 habitats and 32 focus exhibits. Dedicated to educational efforts, the aquarium focuses on conservation of wildlife in three areas of the Pacific Ocean; Southern California/Baja's sun and fun, the cold waters of the Northern Pacific and the bright effervescence of the Tropical Pacific.
The Shark Lagoon showcases more than 150 sharks, which are known as the ultimate predators of the sea. Large viewing windows provide visitors with an exceptional view of the voracious creatures in a natural habitat. With daily presentations during feeding times, visitors can see the power of the beautiful - and sometimes dangerous - sea dogs. The tank is filled with sand tiger, white tipped, nurse, sandbar and many other types of sharks. The exhibit features three touch tanks that let visitors reach in and pet the sharks, if they dare. The touch pools allow guests to touch bamboo, zebra and epaulette sharks.
A unique feature at the aquarium is the Lorikeet Forest, which showcases a mix of colorful birds in a 3,200-square-foot outdoor aviary. The aquarium is dedicated to teaching visitors about conservation efforts to save all types of endangered birds. With hues of rich red, bright blue, vibrant yellow and deep purple, more than 100 lorikeets - including five species of rainbow lorikeets - call the enclosure home. Guests can spend time in the aviary petting the exotic feathered vertebrates or hand-feeding them nectar.
The Tropical Pacific Gallery features more than 1,000 fish. The gallery is the largest of all the exhibits in the Aquarium of the Pacific. With 16 exhibits, the Tropical Reef Habitat can be seen from three locations in the gallery, which holds 350,000 gallons of water. Black tipped reef and zebra sharks, sea turtles, porcupine puffer fish and a variety of other species inhabit the large tank. Many smaller tanks in the gallery are filled with several species of marine life, including seahorses, sea dragons and clownfish. Daily dive and feeding presentations give visitors a chance to learn more about various species of fish that live in tanks located throughout the Tropical Reef Gallery.
The Northern Pacific Gallery focuses on the northernmost region of the Pacific Ocean, which includes more than 800,000-square miles between Alaska, Siberia, the Bering Strait and the Aleutian Islands. Sea creatures that inhabit this portion of the globe include many species of jelly fish, octopi and sea mammals. The Sea Otter Exhibit is home to three types of the mammal that are native to the region, while the Diving Birds Exhibit gives visitors a chance to see a variety of puffins - including Northern Coast puffins - and other auklets that build nests along the rocky cliffs of the Northern Pacific. With the region's temperature normally lower than 54 degrees, a visit to the gallery is sure to be a chilly, yet exhilarating experience.
The Southern California/Baja Gallery is filled with mangroves, giant kelp forests, warm bays and lagoons. The animals found in the exhibit include sea lions, seals, sea stars, California scorpion fish and more. Showcased in 18 exhibits are a Ray Touch Pool, Rocky Intertidal, Wetlands exhibits and Sanctuary to Shorebirds. The Southern California/Baja Gallery is filled with information on the Southern California coastline.
Also in the Southern California/Baja Gallery is the 211,000 gallon Seal and Sea Lion Habitat. The Aquarium's Sea of Cortez exhibit features some of the variety of one of the most biologically productive and diverse seas in the world. It includes unique species of butterfly fishes, and large silvery fish called Mexican lookdowns. Guests may also enjoy the Ray Touch Pool, and Sanctuary to Shorebirds, Rocky Intertidal, and Wetlands exhibits, and many more in this rich gallery highlighting Southern California's coastline.
Extending 800 miles from Oregon to Mexico, California's coastal waters include a variety of ecosystems, animals, and temperatures. Beyond the most southwestern point of the United States, extending along the coast of Mexico to the Sea of Cortez is the Baja Peninsula.
The Southern California/Baja Gallery represents this diverse marine environment in 18 exhibits. At the entrance of the gallery is the impressive Blue Cavern. This 142,000-gallon, three-story high exhibit stands at the end of the Aquarium's Great Hall of the Pacific and features ocean inhabitants found off the coast of Catalina Island.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is filled with many diverse species of aquatic life that live in and around the Pacific Ocean. The interactive exhibits are educational and exciting for children and adults. Visitors are sure to enjoy all the rich cultural and educational activities and exhibits the aquarium has to offer.