Families on vacation in Long Beach or Los Angeles don’t want to miss the Aquarium of the Pacific, a world-class aquarium with 19 wildlife habitats and 32 smaller exhibits. With this general admission ticket, you can see nearly 500 different marine species, including penguins, otters, sharks, sea lions, sea horses and an octopus. With its regional galleries that span the Pacific Ocean — from Alaska to Australia — the aquarium will both educate and fascinate you.
When you arrive at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, about 25 miles (40 km) south of central Los Angeles, head inside with your general admission ticket to begin your exploration of this marine wonderland. Right off the bat, be wowed by the full-scale model of a blue whale (the largest animal in the world) suspended above you in the Great Hall of the Pacific, and gaze at the leopard sharks and other predatory fish swimming around the three-story Blue Cavern Habitat.
Your general admission gives you access to all of the aquarium’s galleries and exhibits, which focus on the creatures and environment of the Pacific Ocean. Your self-guided tour of the aquarium takes you from the cold waters of the Northern Pacific to temperate Southern California to the sunny tropics. Spend as much time as you like at the aquarium, checking out the 11,000-plus animals that represent almost 500 marine species. A sample of the galleries is listed below.
Southern California and Baja: Enjoy up-close views of playful seals and sea lions in their indoor/outdoor habitat, and admire reef fish from the Sea of Cortez in a kelp forest.
Northern Pacific: Feel the temperature drop as you enter this gallery, dedicated to the ice-cold waters of northern Japan, Alaska and Russia. Watch puffins dive for food, be amused by frolicking sea otters, check out a giant Pacific octopus, and take a look at sea stars and Japanese spider crabs.
Tropical Pacific: Embrace the vacation-like atmosphere of this gallery, where you’ll see brightly colored fish from Micronesia swimming around a coral lagoon with sea horses and sea dragons. The gallery is also home to the aquarium's largest exhibit — the Tropical Reef Habitat — where you can spot sharks and other sea creatures via a glass tunnel and viewing windows. June Keyes Penguin Habitat: The exhibit is home to the first penguins in the Aquarium’s collection and includes a crawl-in space, allowing you to feel as if you are in the exhibit with the animals. Also, you'll find panels and interactive touch screens that will teach you about the penguins and the issues that are affecting their survival in the wild.
Lorikeet Forest: Stroll through this hands-on aviary to admire dozens of Australian lorikeets, whose bright feathers come in various shades of blue, green, yellow and red. If you wish, purchase a cup of sweet nectar to feed the birds, who will perch on your hand, your arm or even your head.
Shark Lagoon: This large exhibit showcases more than 150 sharks, including sand sharks and tiger sharks. If you dare, reach into the touch pools for a feel of their skin.