Enter the new “Ocean Exploration” program at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Animals, exhibits, educational displays, films, an art exhibit, and a guest speaker series with ocean explorers now focus exclusively on the dark depths of the ocean.
The most exciting part of the Ocean Exploration program for kids is undoubtedly the Wonders of the Deep exhibit, which is one of the first of its kind in the United States to recreate deep-sea habitats. It features both live animals and models and images to stand in for those animals that cannot be displayed.
In this darkened gallery, you’ll find animals such as flashlight fish, hagfish, chambered nautilus, urchins, crabs and more. You can also see a recreation of a hydrothermal vent and a life-sized model of a “whale fall” – the island of life that survives for decades on the decaying carcass of a dead whale once it sinks to the sea floor.
Although the Ocean Exploration program provides lots more information than most kids will have an interest in, it’s well worth a visit. And here’s why: More astronauts have traveled into space than aquanauts into the deepest part of the ocean. In fact, about 95 percent of the ocean is unexplored! Which means there is plenty still waiting to be discovered.
The Ocean Exploration program is open now through February 1, 2014.
4 Ways to Explore the Deep Ocean With Kids at the Aquarium of the Pacific
- Watch a live video feed from the deep ocean. You can even interact with ocean scientists and explorers live periodically throughout the day!
- Learn about bioluminescence, which about 95 percent of animals living in the deep sea rely on for survival. Don’t miss the flashlight fish!
- Touch moon jellies. Find out what they feel like and discover more about other gelatinous animals that live in the deep.
- Gauge just how deep the ocean is. There’s a two-story column erected near the Aquarium entrance that displays the layers of the ocean from the surface to the deepest depths.
- Admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific is $25.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids 3 through 11; kids 2 and under are FREE
- Check the Aquarium of the Pacific web site for hours of operation, dining options & special events
- Parking is $8
- All exhibits are stroller-accessible though I recommend leaving yours at home if possible; when it gets crowded, it can be tough to maneuver & wait times at the elevators can be a challenge
- The large, grassy area outside the aquarium is perfect for a picnic
- Allow at least 2 hours to enjoy the aquarium
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
For more on kids and the ocean, don’t miss:
- 6 things kids can do to help our oceans
- 6 ways to play at the Aquarium of the Pacific
- Children’s books about the ocean and marine life