Friday, February 17, 2017

Aquarium of the Pacific

 Let's face it. If you live in California you're never too far from the ocean. All manor of strange life from whales, crustaceans and porpoise live in these waters and even stranger life forms can be found on the beach. If you don't believe that part about the beaches then you obviously have never visited one in SoCal.  Anyway, life in California seems to revolve around the beach and how important it is to the ecosystem. To show love to the ocean and to give folks an up close and educational view of them there are multiple aquariums (that aren't SeaWorld) scattered throughout the state for anyone interested in checking one out. Well being the curious explorers we are we loaded up and headed to Long Beach, home of the Aquarium of the Pacific.
   Boasting over 11,000 animals and 500 different species the Aquarium of the Pacific is one of the largest and most popular (1.6 million visitors annually) aquariums anywhere. But to be honest I tend to feel that aquariums, much like zoos, all feel the same. They all seem to have the same animals in very similar atmospheres.  But what I liked about the Aquarium of the Pacific was that they broke the exhibits out into different areas of the Pacific Ocean. They give a very clear picture to what animals live where and how they live their lives. I'm also pretty sure this was the first aquarium that I've been to where you can touch jelly fish. I didn't. Mainly because I didn't trust the girl telling me that I could. She seemed shifty and somehow immune to the jelly's stings. Probably because she built up some sort of callous from handling them every day. I'll never know for sure but there were plenty of other folks willing to trust her. I wonder how many of them lived? Just kidding. It seemed to be perfectly safe and I'm sure most of them lived. 
 The penguins and otters are always popular no matter what aquarium I've visited. Even a manly man such as myself have to admit that their kind of cute and entertaining. This combination usually makes them difficult to see through the mass of people oohing and googling around the enclosures. But we were there on a good day and we were able to view them with ease. I don't know if it's due to the off season or whether the nice large viewing areas made it easy to see them but either way I'll take it. And while they were interesting they weren't my highlights. I found myself drawn to the various seahorses they have. I had no clue there were so many varieties of these little guys and many of them look a lot different then Disney showed me as a kid. Some of them look more like plants then sea creatures. I guess they're the stick bugs of the ocean, cursed with horrible looks to appear less appetizing then the more fortunate species of the seas.
   We didn't spend enough time to take in any of the movies that they offer and I all but ran out of the section that explained how bad humans have destroyed the planet and continue to kill off nature's darlings. It wasn't because I disagree (or agree) with everything presented in this exhibit. I just couldn't handle the guilt and I would prefer to keep my blinders on. Just kidding, we ran out of time. Overall I enjoyed our visit and will be going back soon (wifey bought season passes so I kind of have too.) Click here to visit the aquariums website if you would like to check it out and decide if it's worth a visit during your trip to SoCal. Have a safe and adventurous weekend kiddos!

Brandan

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