The city of Long Beach is lovely with its cool coastal air, many attractions and great dining options. But, what really makes the city unique is that it houses one of the most popular tourist destinations, The Aquarium of the Pacific. Although, many of Southern Californian’s have probably already visited the aquarium at some point or other, I figured it was worth another go around. The parking structure is conveniently located across the street from the main entrance for 8.00. The blue, wave shaped building is exquisite and the ticket booth is easy to spot on the right. Entrance fees are 24.95 for adults and 12.95 for children 11 and under. If you purchase your tickets online you can receive 5.00 off the adult general admission price. There are other additional activities that can be added to your visit. Some of these activities consist of an hour long guided tour, a harbor cruise, even admission to the near by Queen Mary for a featured bundled price. Your ordinary day… to the not so far away Long Beach can easily be turned into a true day trip with the Aquarium being your starting point. Check the official website for details.
The Aquarium is organized into three main galleries, the special exhibits gallery, the Ocean Science Center and the outdoor gallery featuring the Shark Lagoon, as it’s main attraction. With all this educational fun you may be wondering when is the best time to plan your next visit. The weekends are the busiest days so try to make it as early as 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning. In order to avoid school field trips during the week, navigate the crowd by attending after 2:00 p.m. when the large school crowds are long gone. Once your in you can explore the first floor and make your way to the end wall with the big two story floor to ceiling fish tank. Behind that area you can flow easily to the outdoor patios where children and adults alike can literally touch some of the fishy residence. Once outdoors don’t bypass the Lorikeet atrium. It costs 3.00 for one small serving of nectar. Buying nectar happens to be optional. However, if you expect a Lorikeet to befriend you… be prepared to pay up. It really is a lot of fun for kids and adults to get up close and personal with the winged little critters. There is a café, a snack stand and a Jamba Juice Express on the premise making it easy to refuel while you explore.
It is so effortless and pleasant to make a day out of visiting this magnificent place whether this would be your first of tenth visit something new is awaiting. It’s not hard to imagine why it attracts tens of thousands of people each year. Places like this remind me of how lucky we are to live in an area where there is so much to discover near our hometown. Take it in and enjoy!