Quick! What is home to over 12,000 ocean animals, has more than 500 species in 19 major habitats, and has over 30 exhibits? If you said The Aquarium of The Pacific, give yourself a cigar. Located in Long Beach, California, the aquarium, designed to mimic the Pacific ocean with its wave like architectural facade is truly a man made marvel. Opened in 1998 it was designed to showcase all aspects of the abundant marine life of the Pacific Ocean.
Brrr! The Northern Pacific Gallery houses the inhabitants of the icy regions of the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. Gaze in wonderment at sea jellies, gigantic octopus and sea otters. Just as delightful, noisy puffins and auklets chirp happily as they build their nests completely oblivious to the captivated crowds.
Lush lagoons along with mangrove forests and thick kelps represents The Southern California/Baja Gallery. The major draw is the California state fish, the garibaldi. It shares space with the scorpionfish, sea stars and silver fish.
Perhaps the most interesting gallery is Tropical Pacific. Shrouded in seaweed it runs the gamut with over a thousand species of fish, exquisite coral, terrifying black tip and zebra sharks and the humongous Napoleon humpback wrasse.
In addition to the exhibits the Aquarium offers interactive workshops, seminars and classes designed to educate the public on the importance of maintaining and preserving the fragile and often disappearing oceans. So whether you want to hand feed a shark, chirp alongside a rainbow lorikeet, laugh with the children watching animated shows, the Aquarium of The Pacific is surely a journey worth taking.
Photo by mstickmanp on flickr
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