Explore the Largest Ocean at Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium of the Pacific Exterior

A Fun and Educational Family Day at Aquarium of the Pacific

We recently took a day trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in lovely Downtown Long Beach. The aquarium’s location is in the heart of a wonderful seaside area that has many family activities, shops and restaurants that are within walking distance. Families can easily take a break from the aquarium, walk to a local restaurant for lunch and then return to the aquarium to continue their visit.

Aquarium Highlights

  • 11,000+ Animals
  • Large Variety of Different Species
  • Many Hands-On Opportunities
  • Educates via Staff and Signage
  • Up Close Displays
  • Saturday Family Fun Program

Aquarium of the Pacific Exhibits

As you walk into the Aquarium of the Pacific you can’t help but notice the life size Blue Whale models hanging from the ceiling that takes up most of the interior. The aquarium is two stories and neatly divided into sections of the Pacific Ocean that explore the waters of Southern California and Baja, the Northern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific. Outside of the main aquarium is the outdoor area with the Lorikeet Forest, Shark Lagoon, Seal & Sea Lions and a Penguin Habitat. They also have the Molina Animal Care Center which provides healthcare to the aquarium’s animals and offers chances for visitors to see the veterinarians in action.

Aquarium of the Pacific Blue Whale Model

The Blue Whale model that dominates the exhibit hall of the Aquarium of the Pacific. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

The exhibits in each area are situated to give you easy access and allows for a natural flow of guests through the exhibits. This makes it quite easy for families with small children or with strollers. The only time we got into a jam of guests is when waiting for exhibits that allow guests to touch and interact with the marine life, which is understandable.

To the right of the main entrance they have an exhibit hall that changes galleries from time to time. During our visit, we saw the Arctic & Antarctic Regions in Peril exhibit. This was a really interesting and educational gallery and the dark and blue atmosphere was pretty cool. The kids and I liked the “Whale Falls” exhibit which shows a replica of a whale carcass on the ocean floor and the life that springs up on and around it.

Whale Falls exhibit

The Whale Falls exhibit at the Arctic & Antarctic Regions in Peril gallery. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Southern California and Baja Gallery

Extending over 800 miles from the norther part of California to the southern tip of the Baja, this exhibit has plenty of diverse habitats and species. The first floor portion of this exhibit has Spiny Lobsters, Jellies, White Sea Bass (which populations were previously threatened ), and a kelp forest exhibit which has lots of diverse marine life that depends on kelp. Our favorite of the SoCal & Baja first floor exhibit was the Seals & Sea Lions which you can view underwater.

The second floor of the Southern California and Baja Exhibit has Garden Eels, the above ground view of the Seals & Sea Lions, a Shorebird Sanctuary and the Gulf of California exhibit which is filled with many beautiful fish like the King angelfish and the Longnose Butterflyfish. Two of the outdoor exhibits of this area were a favorite of our girls. First was the Ray touch pool which had the girls running back and forth to touch the Bat Rays and Shovelnose Guitarfish (these were tougher to touch). The other favorite of the girls was the Penguin Habitat which seemed to be a crowd favorite judging by the crowds.

The Ray touch pool at the Aquarium of the Pacific

The Ray touch pool kept the girls entertained for quite a while. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Northern Pacific Gallery

The focus of the Northern Pacific gallery is the rough Bering Sea area. This gallery is very diverse with Giant Spider Crabs, Sea Jellies, a Giant Pacific Octopus (one of my favorites) and a cool surge channel exhibit. Our favorite of the Northern Pacific gallery was the Sea Otter habitat which has the cute little mammals swimming and playing in the water.

Aquarium of the Pacific's Giant Pacific Octopus

A Giant Pacific Octopus in the Northern Pacific Gallery. | Photo by FamilyVacationhub

Tropical Pacific Gallery

This was our family’s favorite gallery which displays the tropical fish, coral, and other marine organisms of the archipelago
of Palau. This gallery of colorful marine species includes a coral lagoon, a Hawaiian Reef, a Tropical Reef Habitat, Sea Dragons, Lionfish, Sea Turtles, Clownfish and Bonnethead Sharks. The aquarium’s largest exhibit and the most colorful is the Tropical Reef Habitat which has over 1,000 animals and kept the girls attention for quite some time.

A tank full of Clownfish

A tank full of Clownfish provided a colorful exhibit that the girls loved to watch. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

The Lorikeet Forest

We weren’t expecting too much from the aquarium’s Lorikeet aviary, but it was quite fun and memorable. Lorikeet’s are small, cute and colorful birds that are pretty active. The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Lorikeet Forest has around 100 Lorikeet’s that are free to fly and walk all around you. If you were lucky (or some would say unlucky) enough to have some food for the Lorikeet, then they would fly onto you to get some of the food. As I was filming the Lorikeet’s, one of them flew inches away from my head which had my wife and the kids cracking up. You can see the funny incident in the video below.

The Shark Lagoon

One the of the coolest exhibits at the Aquarium of the Pacific is their outdoor Shark Lagoon. There is a shallow pool filled with Bamboo and Epaulette sharks that you are allowed to touch (with two fingers). The kids are a bit nervous at first when you tell them to touch a shark but after the first one, they want to touch more. Behind this touch pool is a large and shark display which has Sand Tiger, Zebra and Blacktip Reef sharks as well as Rays and Freshwater Sawfish.

Aquarium of the Pacific's Shark Touch Pool

In the Shark Lagoon of the Aquarium of the Pacific is the Shark Touch Pool filled with Bamboo and Epaulette sharks. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Aquarium of the Pacific Photo Gallery (24 Images)

  • Anemone touch pool
  • Diver in Aquarium Tank
  • Tropical Fish
  • Lions Lighthouse in Long Beach

Why We Recommend It For Families

  • Interactive and Hands-On Displays
  • Animal Displays Beautifully Done
  • Easy to Navigate Displays and Exhibits
  • Kids Play Areas
  • Educational for Kids and Adults
  • Nice Variety of Marine Life and Birds
  • Great Location with Many Other Family Activities
  • Walking Distance to Shops & Restaurants

Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website for hours, tickets and other information.

Best Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles

Best Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles

The Aquarium of the Pacific is part of our comprehensive list of things to do with kids in Los Angeles. Our list of family friendly activities that the whole family will enjoy includes amusement parks, museums, aquariums, beaches, Los Angeles landmarks, parks, shopping and much more.

We were provided media passes to Aquarium of the Pacific for the purpose of reviewing it on our blog. Regardless, we would only recommend places, activities or services that we would use/visit personally and that we believe will be good for our readers.

About Joe Filipowicz

I have a passion for finding fun things to do, good restaurants and places to stay while traveling with my family and friends. Since it takes a lot of research and exploration to find these family friendly places, I wanted to share my findings with others to make it easier for them to plan their next getaway.

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