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Dive into the depths of the world’s largest ocean as you explore and learn about the underwater ecosystems and aquatic animal life on view at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Opened in 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is the largest aquarium in California and occupies more than 360,000-square-feet of space along Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor. The aquarium is one of the region’s top family-friendly experiences, welcoming over 1.5 million visitors each year to admire and study the over 11,000 animals representing 500 species on view throughout the over 100 exhibits, habitats and theaters, including the recently-opened Pacific Visions expansion — an immersive theater with animal shows and interactive art installations.
We’ve pulled together some essential aquarium information to help you plan your perfect Pacific adventure.
Aquarium Fun Facts
While navigating the Aquarium of the Pacific, visitors will encounter over 100 different exhibits, including 19 distinct habitats that allow you to come face-to-face with some of the Pacific Ocean’s most remarkable creatures.
Begin your adventure by meeting some of the aquarium’s youngest (and cutest) animals at the new Babies! exhibit — open through April 2023. Here, observe tiny cuttlefish, baby sea otters, little sharks and other adorable sea creatures as you learn how the aquarium helps endangered animals through conservation programs.
Immerse yourself in the underwater world of coral reefs in the Tropical Pacific Gallery and observe the dazzling colors and rich diversity of these underwater metropolises. Continue your journey under the sea by admiring the beauty and grace of jellyfish without the fear of getting stung by these majestic invertebrates.
Learn more about local wildlife at the 18-exhibit Southern California/Baja Gallery, featuring the 142,000-gallon, three-story Honda Blue Cavern that houses species from just off the shores of nearby Catalina Island. Your journey along the Baja coast includes views of colorful kelp and fish — including California’s state fish, the garibaldi — at the Amber Forest, and a stop at the 211,000-gallon seal and sea lion habitat.
Brace yourself for daring, up-close encounters with some of the ocean’s most revered predators at the Shark Lagoon, which includes a touch pool for hands-on studies of select sharks and rays. Don’t leave the aquarium without visiting the Lorikeet Forest — a 5,400-square-foot aviary that is home to over 100 colorful lorikeets, whom you can feed nectar as they perch themselves on your hand, arm, shoulder or head.
Other can’t miss exhibits include June Keyes Penguin Habitat, home to 20 Magellanic Penguins that can be viewed from below via a crawl-through tunnel, as well as a special habitat in the Northern Pacific Gallery that houses several playful and ever-curious sea otters. To view all current exhibits, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific’s official website. For a map of the Aquarium of the Pacific, click here.
Dive deeper into your aquarium experience by attending one of several interactive encounters. These optional activities are available for an extra charge of $150 per person, but offer the unique opportunity to touch, feed and interact with some of the unique animals housed within the aquarium.
Feed sharks and walk among rays during a private encounter led by knowledgeable aquarium staff at the Shark Lagoon (Saturdays and Sundays at 8:15 a.m.), or hang out with adorable penguins in their enclosure prior to the aquarium opening (8:30 a.m., daily). Connect with more feathered friends during a hands-on training session (8:30 a.m., daily), or meet one of the resident harbor seals or sea lions during an up-close visit alongside aquarium care staff (9:15 a.m., daily). To learn more about these exclusive encounters, click here.
The Aquarium of the Pacific hosts several special events throughout the year, offering visitors unique experiences, close up encounters and even late-night access to the exhibits. Night Dives are an adults-only, after hours aquarium experience from 7:30-11 p.m. featuring live music, food trucks, drag queen bingo, cocktails and the opportunity to explore the aquarium after dark.
The Aquarium also hosts a range of cultural celebrations throughout the year, such as a Pride Day, Pacific Islander Festival and Juneteenth celebration. In September, the annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival celebrates the cultures of Mexico, Central and South America via dance, live music and educational programming. Each November, the Aquarium honors and celebrates Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino cultures during their Autumn Festival, featuring traditional crafts, music, dance and art exhibits.
To view a full calendar of upcoming events, click here.
In addition to being one of Long Beach’s top attractions, the Aquarium of the Pacific is also one of the city’s top event venues, perfect for weddings, corporate gatherings and special events. Host your nautical nuptials in one of several distinct underwater areas, such as the Shark Lagoon, Upper Level Galleries, or beneath a replica blue whale in the Great Hall. Hold educational workshops, meetings or team retreats inside the Watershed classroom, or wow your colleagues with an after hours reception alongside some of the wonders of the Pacific Ocean. Attendees of catered Aquarium events can savor a menu of chef-driven, sustainably-sourced small plates and entreés with, of course, plenty of seafood to choose from.
For more information about hosting special events at the Aquarium of the Pacific, click here.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is located in the heart of downtown Long Beach at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802.
Prices for admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific vary by age and are subject to change throughout the year. For the latest pricing information, please visit the Aquarium's official website.
The Aquarium is conveniently located near multiple hotels and is within walking distance to nearby shopping, dining and entertainment options found at The Pike Outlets and Shoreline Village.
The Aquarium of the Pacific encompasses 360,000-square-feet, making it California’s largest aquarium.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way on Rainbow Harbor, along the Los Angeles River and next to Shoreline Aquatic Park. Those arriving by car can find parking on the water side of Shoreline Drive, between Chestnut and Aquarium Way. Parking fees are $8.00 per day with validation from the aquarium.
The nearest stop for those traveling via Long Beach’s convenient public transit system can be found just a half mile from Transit Mall in Downtown Long Beach — a 10-minute downhill walk from the Blue line and major bus lines. From Transit Mall:
Visitors can also take advantage of Long Beach Transit’s FREE Passport Bus, which allows boarding at multiple stops along Pine Avenue, with arrivals every 8-12 minutes. The Passport Bus also features service to and from Downtown Long Beach and The Queen Mary.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is home to over 11,000 animals, encompassing 500 different species. A few of the types of animals you can view at the aquarium include fish, eels, anemones, coral, sea otters, jellyfish, diving birds, giant crabs, and over 150 sharks and rays.
All day parking is $8.00 with aquarium validation.
It takes the average visitor about 3 hours to explore the Aquarium of the Pacific, but any visit can be extended by attending shows, special events or educational activities hosted throughout the day.
No outside food or beverages are allowed inside the Aquarium of the Pacific. Located inside the Aquarium and overlooking the seal and sea lion exhibit, Café Scuba serves snacks, sandwiches and other menu items sure to please all ages, including a selection of plant-based, sustainable menu items. Other aquarium dining options include the Bamboo Bistro and the Blue Whale Café coffee cart.
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