#OnlyinLB: Aquarium of the Pacific

Did you know that Long Beach is home to Southern California’s largest aquarium? The Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way), located on the waterfront at Rainbow Harbor, is home to 12,000 animals, from adorable baby tropical fish and fuzzy sea otters to massive California sea lions and impressive sharks. The Aquarium is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023, so there will be special events and exhibits on view starting Memorial Day weekend. If you are planning any leisure time in Long Beach this summer, the Aquarium is a must for your itinerary.

Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific


While you start daydreaming about a day spent in the cool darkness of the Aquarium’s halls, taking in dazzling views of tropical reefs and swaying kelp forests, here are some ways to optimize your visit. Be sure to make an online reservation a day or two in advance, particularly for weekends and holidays when tickets are in higher demand. If you arrive at 9 a.m., when the doors open, you’ll have many of the exhibit areas practically to yourself.

Credit: Tom Bonner



Don’t miss the Aquarium’s popular animal shows, when the animal care staff feeds animals like sea otters, sharks, or penguins while explaining their biology, behaviors, habitats, and conservation. During dive shows, watch divers feed the fish and speak to the audience while underwater. You can also check out the Aquarium’s documentary films. The immersive Pacific Visions Theater uses rumbling seats, lighting effects, and a 180-degree curved screen to make you feel like you have traveled to the bottom of the ocean and are swimming alongside massive whales. In the Ocean Science Center, see ocean phenomena projected on a six-foot globe and learn about our ocean planet.

Credit: Robbin Riggs



Your family will be able to make amazing memories by getting up close to and touching ocean animals. Did you know the Aquarium of the Pacific is one of the only places in the country where you can touch a sea jelly? You can also touch a shark, sea anemones, sea stars, bat rays, and horseshoe crabs at touch labs around the facility. For an extra charge and with special reservations, you can book an Animal Encounter for a private experience meeting and feeding one of the Aquarium's iconic animals.

Credit: Robbin Riggs

Only in Long Beach

About the Author
Claire Atkinson