DAY TRIP: AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC

Situated along the picturesque waterfront in Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific is located less than 30 minutes from the Anaheim Resort. Aquarium of the Pacific offers a glimpse into the depths of the world’s largest ocean with 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits.

The largest aquarium in Southern California is celebrating its 20th anniversary year in 2018, promising visitors an abundance of exciting new exhibits, animals and activities. As part of the festivities, an exhibit featuring the top 20 entries from a JetBlue art competition will open on the second floor of the Great Hall on Dec. 15. Each painting, photograph, drawing, multimedia or digital work celebrates the aquarium’s history.

Brand-new this year, Tentacles and Ink is a cephalopod exhibit showcasing squid, octopuses and cuttlefish. Its primary objective is to highlight these species’ unique capability to shift color and pattern, in addition to their tendency to shoot a jet of ink when disturbed. Currently on exhibit are a dozen golden cuttlefish, tiny animals that reach a maximum length of 18 centimeters and are rarely displayed in the United States.

Another animal recently making its debut is a juvenile female scalloped hammerhead shark, the first of its kind to be housed at the aquarium. When fully mature, the endangered shark can reach a weight of 340 pounds and grow to 10- to 14 feet long. Three Magellanic penguin chicks, hatched in May, also greeted guests for the first time this season. A species listed internationally as near-threatened, Magellanic penguins hail from the southern tip of South America. Earlier this month, a 4-year-old sea lion named Chase joined the mammal habitat, weighing in at 280 pounds. Future visitors can watch the playful animal interacting with trainers during the daily seal and sea lion shows.

In addition to 20th anniversary festivities, the aquarium never passes up an opportunity to celebrate the holiday season. From Dec. 1-23 this year, Aquarium Holidays offers guests fun surprises like a snow play area, photos with Santa, a daily Penguin Parade and seasonal treats for animals.

Looking forward, visitors planning a trip in 2019 can be among the first to experience the Aquarium of the Pacific’s much-anticipated expansion. The brand-new wing, Pacific Visions, opens to the public in spring 2019 and features a bold, biomorphic design inspired by nature itself, along with an interactive theater, live animal exhibit gallery and space to display artwork. Its focus will be on the challenges the Pacific Ocean faces and exciting opportunities that lie ahead for the planet as a whole.

 

Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. Visit aquariumofpacific.org for hours of operation and daily schedules.