Not so very long ago, I decided to create another "Adventure Day" and journey with two friends to the far and distant land of Long Beach...
I'm kidding, of course. Long Beach is 35 miles from my house. But we here in Los Angeles so often keep to a ten square mile radius, don't we?! One of the best things about LA (NO! It's NOT the traffic!) is its proximity to so many cool things to do and see right outside of town. You could day-trip and road-trip every weekend.
This adventure also allowed me to check my very first thing off on my "14 in 2014" goals list and that made me incredibly happy.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is an aquarium on a 5-acre site on Rainbow Harbor, across the water from the Long Beach Convention Center, Shoreline Village, and the Queen Mary Hotel and Attraction. Their mission is to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems. Their staff of over 900 people (650 of which are volunteers!) welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors each year.
It is a wondrous place. And I have to tell you -- it is a tremendous experience for kids; a great way for a family to spend a day, but I also recommend you grab your nearest adventure buddies and spend the day there with fellow grown ups as well. This is a place for everybody.
Right away, I found my people.
Clearly he wins for best named species at the Aquarium.
These guys win for the most magical. And note - this is a VIDEO. Not a video of a video. I mean, this is real. It looks animated or something -- it is not. They are really this cool looking:
Nuts, right? There are a lot of types of Jellyfish there -- even ones you can walk up and touch (I'm a pansy, but my friends did it). And there's a Sea Jellies cam on their website. 24/7 jellies!!!
See these guys? Also real. I swear. Who knew remarkable creatures like this existed?!
And here are some rather intimidating fellows....
There are a lot of areas of the Shark Lagoon where you can walk right up and touch them and the Stingrays. But not in this one. You can probably guess why. Those are some scary looking dudes. But beautiful, no?
The Sea Lions and Seals, whose names are Parker, Milo, Harper, Shelby, Ellie, Troy, Bixby and Toby, were amazing. I could watch them play all day. We caught one of the shows and they are also clearly funny little (well, huge) geniuses.
I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Penguins and that certainly stayed true at the June Keyes Penguin Habitat Exhibit where I met Avery, Noodles, Floyd and more. There's even one named "Whatever." And then there's this guy. I don't know what his name is, but we named him Phil and I feel rather attached.
Phil is one of the many Magellanic Penguins. He swam right up to us! I took a lot of photos. A lot. I want to go back and see him!
I would also be very happy to go back and visit the Otters. I'm not ashamed to say I could watch these guys play for hours. They are so wonderfully happy and playful!
Another amazing exhibit -- the Lorikeet Forest, a 3200 square foot aviary, home to 100 or so Lorikeets. For $3, you can buy a tiny cup of sugar water and a little attention from these colorful birdies. This was brave for me and I had a great time in there with my friends!
And the lovebirds. Literally.
Anne tried to make a new friend.
I had some short-lived success.
But let's get back to s'more weird looking guys.
And before I leave you, I must tell you that in addition to a terrific, upscale cafeteria with a huge variety of food options, a Jamba Juice and several snack stands, there is a marvelous gift shop worth stopping through on your way out as well.
I love the puns so much.
Admission tickets are extremely reasonable and often turn up on Goldstar for discounts (they have one right now for afternoon-only admission but be warned that you may find you need more than a couple hours to take it all in). But you can also save a few dollars on special attractions by purchasing tickets online in advance.
This was such a memorable, wonderful, educational, gratifying (ALL THE ADJECTIVES!) day. Thank you so much, Aquarium of the Pacific, for having me and my friends out for the day.
I hope the next time you and your family, you and your friends, or even just you all alone need something new and different to do for the day, you'll put this on your list.