The Aquarium of the Pacific showcases planet Earth’s largest and most diverse body of water, the Pacific Ocean, and is the 4th most attended aquarium in the country. Located on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, across the water from the Long Beach Convention Center, Shoreline Village, and the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific is only 8 miles away from Ayres Hotel Seal Beach. More than 11,000 ocean animals occupy the Aquarium with exhibits ranging in size from 5,000 to 350,000 gallons. Visitors are guided through the Pacific Ocean’s three major regions including Southern California/Baja, Northern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific.
The first gallery embodies Southern California/Baja’s diverse marine environment in 18 exhibits. At the entrance of the gallery is the extraordinary Honda Blue Cavern, representing the underwater habitat you would find along the California Coast and also around the local island of Catalina. In addition, the Southern California/Baja Gallery also showcases the Seal and Sea Lion Habitat, the Ray Touch Pool, and the Amber Forest full of giant kelp and California’s state fish the colorful Garibaldi. The section also features a bilingual Gulf of California gallery featuring reef fish of Baja California, Mexico.
The Northern Pacific gallery introduces a drastic temperature and atmosphere change journeying into the ice-cold waters of Alaska, Russia, and northern Japan. The gallery features 16 thrilling exhibits exemplifying the Bering Sea and includes a Sea Otter Exhibit which plays home to three energetic and curious sea otters in their natural habitat of kelp forests. Mesmerizing sea jellies, bright sea stars, giant Japanese spider crabs, and a giant Pacific Octopus all await the inquisitive Northern Pacific gallery visitor.
Leaving the cold, the Tropical Pacific offers a different variety of exhibits that will leave friends sun-kissed by Micronesian paradise. With coral lagoons to deep reefs, the islands of the Palau are the focus for this particular gallery. Sea horses, snakes, and dragons swim throughout a coral lagoon on display. The largest exhibit in the Aquarium, the Tropical Reef Habitat, is the most popular playing host to sharks and colorful sea life that swirls around visitors in a tunnel and through various viewing windows.
Besides these staple exhibits the Aquarium of the Pacific has ever changing special exhibits, a Lorikeet Forest, Shark Lagoon, and much more! The Aquarium educators host a variety of classes, presentations, Behind-the-Scene Tours, and even more special activities for school and youth groups. Of course, there is a marine-related gift shop named Pacific Collections and their Café Scuba offers a variety of dishes with a marvelous view of the Queen Mary and downtown Long Beach waterfront.