Aquarium of the Pacific
Even the locals enjoy the exhibits at Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, 562/590-3100, www.aquariumofpacific.org, daily 9 a.m.–6 p.m., adults $21, children $12). The large aquarium hosts animal and plant life native to the Pacific Ocean, from the local residents of SoCal’s sea up to the North Pacific and down to the tropics.
While the big modern building isn’t much to look at from the outside, it’s what’s inside that’s beautiful. Aquarium of the Pacific has far more than the average number of touch-friendly tanks. Kids and adults all love the unusual feel of sea stars, urchins, and rays.
More exciting, you can dip your fingers into the Shark Lagoon and “pet” a few of the more than 150 sharks the Aquarium cares for. If you prefer tamer and more colorful denizens of the air, spend time in the loud Lorikeet Forest.
For visitors who are just too cool for fish, there’s the Catch a Wave exhibit, which displays the history and culture of surfing, the science of waves, and the species that inhabit this turbulent small part of the ocean.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition