There is something about the mystique associated with the underworld of the ocean. Our family loves the opportunity to commune with the world under the sea any chance they get when vacationing. And, although there are some pretty incredible Aquariums out there throughout the United States, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, has always held a special place in my heart. As former residents of Los Angeles, my husband and I would visit this location before we even had kids. I would marvel at the aquatic universe that made up the local area. I would feel more in touch with the earth and all of its inhabitants.
As this is one of our personal must-see locations when visiting the Los Angeles area, Kid Allergy Travel reached out to partner with the Aquarium of the Pacific (via sponsorship) so we could bring you all the details for your next visit to this part of Southern California.
Kid Allergy Travel believes in checking the status of any animal based encounter with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and supporting only those institutions in good standing. The Aquarium of the Pacific is certified through the AZA as an accredited facility that meets the highest standards of quality in animal care, scientific research, conservation, and education programs.
Roughly half an hour drive from Downtown Los Angeles, the Aquarium of the Pacific is located in the city of Long Beach. Situated right along the harbor, you know you are in the right place when you see a fountain of three playful dolphins. We love that all buildings that make up this aquarium complex are a work of art. Even the parking garage is architecturally significant! Soft grey curvy edges round out all the structures, along with bright blue glass panels all beautifully represent the rise and fall of the sea.
Length of Stay
We recommend spending a full day here. In the very least, you should plan for four hours to hit the highlights. We visited with another family this day and had a group of kids ranging in the ages from five to eighteen. The hands on activities, live presentations and shows, and walk through exhibits were engaging enough that even our varied age group found themselves entertained for hours on end.
The Aquarium of the Pacific encompasses a whopping 5 acre site. This means you will be traversing a very large area and will be given a great amount of opportunities to visit with or look at some pretty incredible Pacific based sea-life. If you are short on time or have small kiddos tottering along with you, you might want to focus on what parts you think will interest your family the most. For our group, we happened to find the following areas most engaging.
Don’t miss the gift shop on the way to the touch pool, and the toddler-sized splash pad and climbing structures located right before the Shark Lagoon entrance.
The Southern California Steelhead Story
Just past the shark area you will find a touching exhibit about the ocean-going species of rainbow trout called Southern California Steelhead. Although historically they have managed to stay flexible enough to weather the fluctuation of environmental change, sadly these dynamic fish are at risk for extinction. Learn how we can make changes to save this population of fish. The older kids and adults were very keen on reading about how our actions now can make change and have a lasting impact. The smaller kiddos enjoyed the hands on activities.
Shows & Presentations
Showtimes for live shows and presentations are ongoing just about every hour. Make sure to set aside some time to sit and listen to those that peak your interest. If traveling with little ones, this is a great opportunity to sit and rest a bit in case you need a recharge before tackling some more exhibits. Our kids loved the Blue Cavern, Dolphins & Sea Otters.
For those who like film presentations, don’t miss the Ocean Theater for a variety of shows sure to peak the interest of all ages. For an additional fee, you can make time to add a 3D experience to your day.
Please note Kid Allergy Travel did receive a discount while visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific. Although this was part of a media visit, rest assured, the opinions provided in the post by Kid Allergy Travel remain our own. Photos by Kid Allergy Travel.