Located 30 minutes from Lawndale in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor, the well-known Aquarium of the Pacific is the biggest Aquarium in Southern California and a must-do activity. This Aquarium is home to over 11,000 animal exhibits and explores the Pacific Ocean’s distinctive waters.
Start exploring this fantastic site in the Southern California Gallery, where you’ll find the three-story high, 142,000-gallon Honda Blue Cavern that features marine wildlife from the Catalina Island coast. Then head to the Ray Touch Pool and the Seal and Sea Lion Habitat; this area highlights habitats in the Bering Strait. The Northern Pacific gallery features a jellies collection, a Sea Otter Exhibit with four playful otters, and the world’s most notable species of octopus, the +20 feet long giant Pacific octopus.
Then, go to the Tropical Pacific Gallery’s warm waters and the 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat, the most extensive exhibition in the Aquarium that can be viewed from three locations; it holds sea turtles, colorful fish, coral, and two types of sharks. Remember to stop at the seahorse and sea dragon exhibition to look for these camouflaged creatures that hide in the seaweed.
Besides the three main galleries, the Aquarium of the Pacific also features outdoor exhibitions, including the Lorikeet Forest aviary, an interactive Shark Lagoon, a horseshoe crab touch, and a penguin habitat.
If you’re looking to dive in deeper, the Aquarium offers many exclusive, educational, and behind-the-scenes experiences. You can get up close and personal with marine animals such as sea lions, stingrays, and penguins or dive into an exhibit (certification required). And the newest addition to the Aquarium is the Pacific Visions, a wing that helps visitors better understand the ocean’s challenges and opportunities. This expansion includes a state-of-the-art interactive theater, an art gallery, and a more extensive exhibition gallery with live animals.