Walkway to the aquarium
|Date opened||June 20, 1998|
|Location||Long Beach, California, United States|
|No. of animals||11,000|
|No. of species||500|
|Volume of largest tank||350,000 US gallons (1,300,000 l)|
|Annual visitors||1.6 million|
June Keyes Penguin Habitat, Lorikeet Forest, Northern Pacific Gallery, Shark Lagoon, Southern California/Baja Gallery, Tropical Pacific GalleryDowntown Long Beach (Los Angeles Metro station)
|Public transit access||Downtown Long Beach (Blue Line)|
The Aquarium of the Pacific (formerly the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific) is a public aquarium on a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, California, United States. It is situated across the water from the Long Beach Convention Center, Shoreline Village, and the Queen Mary Hotel and Attraction.
The Aquarium features a collection of over 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species in exhibits ranging in size and capacity from about 5,000 to 350,000 gallons. Exhibits introduce the inhabitants and seascapes of the Pacific, while also focusing on specific conservation messages associated with each region. The Pacific Ocean is the focus of three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, a frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.
The Southern California & Baja Gallery features the varied habitats of this region. The first exhibit is the 142,000-US-gallon (540,000 l) three-story Blue Cavern tank, which houses animals that live in the waters surrounding nearby Catalina Island. Next is the Amber Forest exhibit, which replicates a Giant kelp forest with Garibaldi, California scorpionfish, and other representative organisms. The Gulf of California exhibit houses Cortez rainbow wrasse, Mexican lookdowns, Porcupine fish, and others. Other areas of the gallery include the 211,000-US-gallon (800,000 l) Seal and Sea Lion Habitat, Ray Touch Pool, and Shorebird Sanctuary.
The Northern Pacific Gallery focuses on organisms from the Bering Sea. Exhibits include the Sea Otter Habitat, home to southern sea otters; the giant Pacific octopus tank; and Diving Birds, where puffins and auklets live. Other species on display include Japanese spider crabs, jellyfish, and sea anemones.
The Tropical Pacific Gallery exhibits animals off the coast of the islands of Palau and has the aquarium's largest tank, the 350,000-US-gallon (1,300,000 l) Tropical Reef Habitat. This tank houses olive ridley sea turtles, zebra sharks, and many other species. Elsewhere in the Gallery are big-belly seahorses, leafy seadragons, weedy seadragons, and sea kraits.
The Aquarium's main outdoor area, Explorer's Cove, encompasses the Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest.
This 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) exhibit area houses over 150 sharks and rays. The main tank houses larger spec rays, whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and sand tiger sharks, while the more docile Bamboo and epaulette sharks live in the three touch pools.
The Lorikeet Forest walk-through aviary covers 3,200 square feet (300 m2) and houses five subspecies of rainbow lorikeet as well as the violet-necked lory. Guests may feed them small amounts of nectar for a fee.
In spring 2010, the Aquarium opened a new 4,700-square-foot (440 m2) Earth-Friendly Garden on its front lawn. The garden features California native and drought-resistant plants, as well as a very efficient irrigation system, to show part of the solution to Southern California's ongoing water shortage problems.
Activities of the Aquarium of the Pacific employees and volunteers extend far beyond exhibits. The diverse marine science and conservation ventures include: breeding and conservation programs for endangered marine animals and habitats; housing of unreleasable seals, sea lions, and sea otters from local care centers and marine parks; beach and habitat cleanups; a variety of green business practices; and continuing efforts to educate visitors on the importance the ocean, its threats, and conservation, including the hazards of marine pollution, over-harvesting, habitat destruction and global climate change. One example is a trashion festival with works by Marina DeBris educating about ocean pollution.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is also home to many cultural events throughout the year, such as the Pacific Islander Festival in the summer, the Moompetam Festival in the fall, special treats for the animals at Christmas, the Festival of Human Abilities in January, and the African Heritage Festival in February.
The Aquarium architecture is inspired by the towering, breaking waves of the Pacific and mirrors the fluid and dynamic temper of the ocean. Kajima International, developers of the world's most critically acclaimed and technologically advanced aquariums, was the developer of the Aquarium of the Pacific and architects included the Los Angeles office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassanbaum and Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis of San Francisco. Construction was a joint venture of Turner Construction Company and Kajima International. Construction of the Aquarium was completed on June 20, 1998 when the Aquarium opened to the public.
Entrance to tropical gallery, designed to replicate a tropical coral reef lagoon
California sea lion during training session