California Aquariums


Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way Shoreline Drive @Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA
(562) 590-3100

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A driving circle and huge parking garage are a delight to look at. If you don't have time to go inside, at least drive by and examine the exterior structural design. A traffic circle greets your arrival.

Designated as a Coastal Ecosystems Learning Center (CELC)   Long Beach, Calif--The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, is one of the largest Aquariums & Zoos in the United States with more than 12,000 ocean animals and nearly 50 exhibits requiring more than a million gallons of Pacific seawater. It is the only aquarium in the world to focus on the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can enjoy more than 500 species, in 19 major habitats and 30 exhibits which take them on a journey throughout the Pacific Ocean's three regions: Southern California/Baja, the Tropical Pacific and Northern Pacific. Ranked as one of the top Family Vacation attractions in Los Angeles and Orange County, Aquarium of the Pacific is the perfect place to take children for educational entertainment. With its sweeping, curving, wave-like architecture, the Aquarium of the Pacific is designed to emulate the ocean. The Aquarium also features a scenic indoor/outdoor restaurant, Café Scuba, boasting a spectacular view of picturesque Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor, and a 4,000-square-foot gift shop. Called Pacific Collections, it showcases hundreds of marine gifts, toys, games and souvenirs.  Additions to the Aquarium since its opening include a wetlands exhibit; rotating exhibit gallery that currently features Jellies: Phantoms of the Deep--an exhibition dedicated to sea jellies, mysterious animals with no heart, brain or eyes; Lorikeet Forest, a 5,200 sq. ft. walkthrough aviary where visitors will embark on an interactive adventure with colorful and friendly birds from down under” that they can feed and hold; the ultimate interactive exhibit--Shark Lagoon, featuring more than 150 sharks you can touch…and some you can't!; daily presentations, including sea otter, sea lion, underwater diver and special shark feeding presentations that allow guests to witness the awesome power of these apex predators; the Bamboo Bistro Café; Shark Shack gift store; daily Behind-the-Scenes Tours; Animal Encounter Program, which allows you to learn about the care and feeding of our animals, highlight includes feeding and interacting with a seal or sea lion; annual holiday events; cultural festivals; scientific guest lectures; hundreds of school as well as public education programs tailored for various age groups from two years old Aqua Tot Programs to 18 and over Adult Programs; and much more!  Each exhibit and its inhabitants receive processed seawater through a filter to keep the habitat environment clean. Depending on the tank exhibit and species that inhabits it, the entire tank filtering process takes place every 30 to 90 minutes. To ensure the exhibits are filled with the most pollution-free saltwater, approximately once a month, new seawater is replaced in each living exhibit tank. The water initially used in the Aquarium exhibits was supplied by Catalina Water Company. Water is currently being barged in from waters two to four miles outside of Long Beach.  

Three football fields could fit into the Aquarium's expansive, 156,735 square-feet, featuring 19 major exhibit habitats, holding from 5,000 to 350,000 gallons of water, plus 30 smaller 32 focus exhibits. More than 12,000 ocean animals, representing over 550 species, await your visit. Complementing the permanent installations, a 5,200-square-foot gallery hosts special and touring exhibits. Innovative "please touch" areas for children, including participatory Discovery Labs and Rays Touchpool, the Honda Theater, two wet/dry classrooms, a teachers resource center and the Aquarium on Wheels outreach vehicle augment the Aquariums serious commitment to Pacific discovery for everyone.   Complementing the permanent installations, a 5,200-square-foot gallery hosts special and touring exhibits. Innovative "please touch" areas for children, including the participatory Kid's Cove, an auditorium, two wet/dry classrooms and a teachers resource center augment the Aquariums serious commitment to Pacific discovery for all ages.  

GRAND OPENING: June 20, 1998. The Aquarium includes 520,000-square-foot retail and entertainment center completed in 2001.

OPENING INVESTMENT: $117 million  The architecture is a joint venture of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassanbaum (HOK) and Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD) of San Francisco. EHDD designed the critically acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium and has collaborated on the plans for numerous marine exhibitions worldwide.   Billed as the largest waterfront development in California history, the Pike Project features the Aquarium of the Pacific as a centerpiece of the project. The Queen Mary is an Aquabus ride across the harbor.

Where to eat? There are many great restaurants surrounding the Aquarium with a few favorites that include PF Chang's, Bubba Gumps and Parker's Lighthouse.   Where to park? Parking in a garage next to the building offers many parking spaces, fee charged.

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