Dive in to experience marine magic at Aquarium of the Pacific


Our Earth follows the cycle of creation, regeneration and degeneration. Change is the only thing that remains constant in the life cycle.
As we all are aware, planet Earth consists of 75 percent water. Ever wondered what these oceans hide inside them? Are all these oceans different from each other?
The Aquarium of the Pacific at Long Beach California provides answers to your many curious questions and yes, did I mention it does so in the most mesmerizing way?
The aquarium is home to more than 11,000 ocean animals, representing 500 kinds of different species. Divided into Southern California Baja Gallery and Tropical Pacific Gallery, it features marine life based on the geographical area and temperatures of the water in that region.
The aquarium is bubbling with activity with many schools bringing in their students for an educational field trip, where they can experience first hand the different variety of marine life.
As you enter and move further into the building you lay your eyes on the huge and magnificent Honda Blue Cavern Habitat. The habitat is modeled after the Blue Cavern Point, an underwater cavern along the coast of Santa Catalina Island. It focuses on the habitat found in underwater Kelp forest.
It houses the Giant Sea Bass, which has internationally been listed as critically endangered. It is a sight to behold — this ancient looking fish a rough silver and black in combination, so huge in size it takes a couple of minutes to fully capture its grandeur with our tiny eyes. It weighs more than 250 pounds and has a lifespan of 80 years!
There are other companions living along with the Giant Sea Bass like the Leopard Shark and the California Moray Eel.
As you move further up you will find the Northern Pacific Gallery, it represents the northernmost region of the pacific ocean. Here you will find the different species of fish, sea jellies, octopus and sea otters found in these chilling waters.
Sea jellies such as moon jelly, umbrella jelly, comb jelly, Japanese sea nettle and the Pacific sea nettle are so unique and unreal you can literally see through their translucent bodies and their water synchronized movement. The most interesting fact about these sea jellies is that they live without a heart, brain and lungs! They are made up of 95 percent water.
Moving further, you spot the Giant Pacific Octopus, which remains elusive. It is one of the largest species of octopus in the world and is known to be very intelligent and mysterious in nature. Apparently, it grows to a length of 20 feet, can weigh around 100 pounds and changes color according to its surroundings.
The presence of sea otters cannot be ignored due to their constant movement and noise. It was the feeding time and we were lucky to find the divers feeding them while giving us a live presentation about their nature and habits, answering questions and posing for pictures through the glass.
Next, we move on to the Tropical Pacific Gallery, this gallery features marine life found off the Coast of Archipelago of Palau, the warm 80 degree waters house a beautiful and exotic variety of coral, colorful fish, sea turtles, seahorses and seadragons.
You are not alone if you find yourself thinking about the underwater magical world of the Little Mermaid.
Also found here are venomous creatures such as clownfish and groupers; live coral reefs are displayed as well. The Aquarium of the Pacific is the only place where you get to see live coral exhibited.
One of the most unique sites is that of seahorses and seadragons. Seahorses are the only males that produce up to 900 young ones at a time in pairs. Seadragons hatch about 500 young ones per breeding season. Only three species of sea dragons have been discovered: leafy, weedy and ruby seadragons.
They are only found in oceans close to Australia where the waters are rocky rough and have reefs. The Aquarium of the Pacific was the first facility to breed weedy seadragons successfully.
The most unique sea dragon is the leafy seadragon — it actually resembles a leaf stalk!
The longsnout seahorse is majestic looking, seven inch long and a bright yellow in color.
Found in the waters of western Atlantic Ocean along the Bahamas and Bermuda near South America, they are a magical sight in the blue waters.
Touch Pools are the most fun filled attraction here, one can touch the baby sting grays, baby sharks and the guitar fish and feel their leathery and slippery skins, while they swim around in the pools. There is a shark lagoon as well where you can see huge sharks lazily passing their time.
There are inside touch labs where you can see some queer looking colorful starfish and other squishy fish, which do not move or take hours just to move an inch.
Outside on the terrace are penguin pools, where you can see baby penguins hanging out and playing — what cute sight!
Then there are the sea lions, and we were lucky to find a spot for ourselves at the sea lion show.
The sea lions lived up to their name, huge in size with whiskers their black coat glistening in the sun and water.
They showed their many tricks and behaviors that they learnt from their instructors, bowing to the audience, giving out flying waves and kisses, playing with props all in the lure of fish and not wanting to upset their favorite human trainer, they came across as warm and gentle. It was a pleasant show and all the children present were beaming with excitement.
The Lorikeet Forest houses around 100 lorikeet birds and is a must visit.
The birds also seems to enjoy the company of guests, as the moment you enter the aviary with a small cup of nectar (available for $3), they fly right down to you and start sipping from the cup. There are four varieties of the bird, namely green naped lorikeet, Edward’s lorikeet, Forsten’s lorikeet and Swainson’s lorikeet.
It takes around 3-4 hours to explore and enjoy the aquarium completely and it is totally worth every second.