Guide to the Aquarium of the Pacific,
plus a Giveaway, Field Trip & Homeschool information!
Last fall, I took Field Trip Girl and Field Trip Boy on a little excursion to The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. They had a day off from school, so I thought we used our time wisely and explore one of Southern California’s most popular aquariums.
Founded in 1998, “the Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth most-attended aquarium in the nation. It displays over 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits that represent the diversity of the Pacific Ocean. Each year more than 1.5 million people visit the Aquarium. Beyond its world-class animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. Through these programs and a variety of multimedia experiences, the Aquarium provides opportunities to delve deeper into ocean science and learn more about our planet. The Aquarium of the Pacific has redefined the modern aquarium. It is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and a place where important topics facing our planet and our ocean are explored by scientists, policymakers and stakeholders in the search for sustainable solutions.” (source www.aquariumofpacific.org)
We have been to the Aquarium on numerous occasions. We aim to go at least once a year with my good friend, Windi, whose dad is a volunteer diver at the Aquarium.
The Aquarium of the Pacific has several exhibits that teach people about the importance of protecting our ecosystem and the marine life that lives in our ocean.
The Aquarium is home to 19 major habitats, 32 exhibits and more than 11,000 ocean animals. Inside the Aquarium families can learn and explore the waters of Southern California and Baja, the Northern Pacific and the Tropical Pacific. Some of the marine life that we saw were pinnacles, echinoderms and a variety of fish species.
Take a look at these giant sea bass that we saw! When I was younger, I use to go fishing with my dad in the Delta River in Northern California, but we never caught any fish this size. You can find these big guys located downstairs in the Aquarium where you can also watch diver demonstrations throughout the day.
Outside the Aquarium features outdoor exhibits like the Shark Lagoon, the Lorikeet Forest aviary, Our Watershed: The Pathway to the Pacific and the June Keyes Penguin Habitat.
At the Junes Keyes Penguid Habitat we learned that not all penguins live in a cold habitats such as the Magellanic Penguins. Magellanic Penguins are named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them on a voyage in 1519. They are from South American and found around the coast line of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. They spend their time at sea and when they come ashore to breed they form large colonies. They also feed on fish, squid and crustaceans and hunt in groups.
Field Trip Boy enjoyed the Aquarium’s Lorikeet Forest aviary the most. This beautiful forest is a 3,200-square-foot outdoor aviary with more than 100 lively lorikeets. Here I purchased one small cup of nectar and Field Trip Boy got to feed the birds as he walked throughout the exhibit. He really liked it when they landed on his arms in search of food.
After visiting the Lorikeet Forest, we went over to the Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific exhibit. The exhibit shares the history of local waterways and tells the story of the Southern California steelhead fish species and its importance in the local ecosystem.
However, if you play in the watershed just be prepared to get wet like Field Trip Girl did!
My favorite of course was the Shark Lagoon where they have more than 150 sharks. Through the viewing window we came nose-to-nose with sand tiger, zebra, and whitetip reef sharks, as well as the freshwater sawfish. In the touch tanks Field Trip Girl got to feel a Bamboo and epaulette shark and ray.
In fact, that’s what I really like the most about The Aquarium of The Pacific. Children not only get to see the animals, but they get interact with them. The Aquarium’s educators and volunteers who staff the touch tanks are also very friendly and willing to answer any questions that the children have.
Field Trips to The Aquarium of The Pacific are very reasonable. For a traditional school group, the price is $6 per participant during the Fall and Summer months with a 10 person minimum. In the Spring (Feb. 1 – May 20, 2015), the price is $7.50 per participant.
All school programs are led by an Aquarium educator and take place in the Boeing Learning Center, the watershed classroom, or the Ocean Theater. To learn more visit here.
Unique for homeschoolers, the Aquarium offers specific Homeschool Days tailored just for them throughout the school year. No other classroom-based school trips are booked on these days either! That’s another bonus!
On Homeschool Days the Aquarium’s educators set up engaging learning stations that allow homeschoolers of all ages to experiment, investigate, and explore marine habitats and concepts. In December, they also offer a Homeschool Holiday event. Just FYI, the 2015 Homeschool Days schedule has yet to be announced.
Hours of Operation: The Aquarium is open daily from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., except for Christmas Day and during the Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 17, 18, and 19, 2015).
Cost: You can purchase Aquarium tickets upon your arrival at the outdoor ticket windows or order tickets ahead of time on online.
Discounts: Over the years, I have found discount coupons for the Aquarium at various locations throughout the south land. Currently you can find coupons at either Gelson’s Market or Smart and Final.
Address: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
Parking: The price to park is an $8 flat rate for Aquarium guests if you scan your parking ticket at the Aquarium or pre-pay at any ticket window/information desk. You may also pay cash or credit card at the pay stations next to the elevators or credit card only at the exit gate.
Now it’s your turn to explore the Aquarium of the Pacific by entering our giveaway to win 2 tickets to aquarium!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and Happy Field Tripping!
Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific to help facilitate this post. All opinions are our own. Contest rules and regulations can be found in the Rafflecopter link above.
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We just went here for the last homeschool day for the year of 2014. My children had a blast! Especially my 4year old, her eyes were alit at all the beautiful creatures and the ability to touch them :D
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I went here about 5 years ago and loved it. I really like the sharks and rays that you can touch and the jellyfish.