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Aquarium of the Pacific [12/19] Review of Aquarium of the Pacific

Discussion in 'United States' started by jayjds2, 30 Dec 2015.

  1. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    10 Nov 2015
    Virginia, USA
    The Aquarium of the Pacific is an aquarium situated on the waterfront of Long Beach, California. Its animal collection focuses on animals found in the Pacific Ocean, but there are also land dwelling animals such as two species of pinniped, four species of lory, and a few miscellaneous birds. Also present are freshwater trout, in one of the aquarium's newer exhibits. The aquarium's newest exhibit is a temporary exhibition of sea jellies, that contains a few species, as well as an interesting section that shows how jellies are reared.
    Since this is the first time I have reviewed an aquarium, I have modified the scale. It only contains five determining factors, each worth four points. The scale is under review for modification (for both zoos and aquariums) but I would love any suggestions.

    Edit: I just realized that there are already two reviews of this facility. Guess what: Now there's three. :)
    2 Shark Species that are not: Sandbar, Sand Tiger, Zebra, Bamboo, Blacktip Reef
    Cephalopod other than Giant Pacific Octopus
    2 or more species of sea turtle OR 1 species that isn't Green, Loggerhead, or Hawksbill
    An exhibit focusing on kelp forests
    The aquarium passes with flying colors. They exhibit whitetip reef sharks, as well as lots of leopard sharks. They are home to both flamboyant cuttlefish and California twospot octopus (also know as bimac octopus). There are three flatfish species I noticed at the aquarium: one flounder in a larger exhibit and two species of turbot in an exhibit dedicated to them. The aquarium is one of the only (the only?) in the USA to keep Olive Ridley sea turtles. They also have an entire gallery dedicated to kelp forests. Overall score: 20 out of 20.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------The Best:
    Southern California/Baja Gallery
    This is a gallery that mostly focuses on local waters. The first floor's premier exhibit is called "Honda Blue Cavern" and is a three story kelp forest tank. It has Giant Sea Bass, Leopard Shark, California Moray Eel, Kelp, California Sheephead, and other normal kelp forest tanks. Viewed next is the Amber Forest tank, which houses similar species. Afterwards, there are exhibits on filter feeders, abalones, spiny lobsters, eelgrass, sea hares, and more viewing for Amber Forest. Next, there are some jelly exhibits that contain Black Sea Nettle, Moon Jelly, and Egg Yolk Jelly. Around the corner, the visitor encounters a semi tunnel (not glass all the way around) for the normal Harbor Seal and California Sea Lion mix. Through this tunnel, the visitor exits the building. There are many exhibits outside, but I'll skip to the top floor of the gallery, as those exhibits are considered separate.
    The second floor of the gallery can be reached in many ways, but the easiest is to just climb the stairs outside. The order I describe the exhibits will be as if you did climb those stairs. The first area encountered is a small outdoor stadium, with above water viewing for the seals and sea lions that were seen earlier. It is the normal rocky basking area. Next is a medium sized area for a large breeding flock of Magellanic Penguins. The water area is long and a few feet wide. The land area is a little steep. All of the penguins are banded on their wings (as is normal for penguins) but the bands also have the names for the visitors to read. Additional viewing is found around the corner, and it is structured so the visitor may crouch down and have the penguins swim above their heads. This is not a full tunnel, and doesn't go anywhere. Afterwords, the visitor encounters a midsized touch pool for Bat Ray, Southern Stingray, and Shovelnose Guitarfish. The last outdoor exhibit is entitled "Shorebird Sanctuary" and is home to birds such as Snowy Egret, Killdeer, Dowitcher, Black-Necked Stilt, and several others. Next, the visitor enters the main aquarium building for two more exhibits. The first is a small tank for Spotted and Splendid Garden Eels. The last exhibit in the gallery is themed after the gulf of California, and contains puffers, trumpetfish, squirrelfish, and species of angelfish.
    Wonders of the Deep:
    Wonders of the Deep is the gallery closest to the entrance of Aquarium of the Pacific. It features deep sea animals (gasp). The first exhibit is a touch pool for moon jellies. These exhibits are becoming more and more common, although this is the first that I have encountered. The next exhibit is home to Flame Jellies, a beautiful jelly species that only lives to the age of about four months. Following these is a group of the extraordinarily rare elegant jellies, which do not even have a scientific name yet. They are part of the genus Tima. Next is an exhibit for California King Crab. This is followed by a larger exhibit for California Sea Cucumber, Deep Sea Isopod, and various fish and sea stars. Around the corner is a cylindrical tank for the odd Pinecone Fish, but the tank is rather sparse, only offering a few rocks. Then, a dimly red-lit tank is shown, offering views of the Giant Flashlightfish's spectacular abilities. The final tank in the gallery offers a very different view. It demonstrates the ecosystem which is created when a deceased whale falls to the ocean's floor. There are lots of live anemones, but the main species are Japanese Spider Crab and Spotted Ratfish. One final activity the visitor may participate in is donning a pair of 3D glasses, and viewing live plankton raised by the aquarium through a TV monitor. If the visitor wishes, they may circle around for more viewing of the decaying whale habitat on the other side of the tank; otherwise they are done.
    Tropical Pacific Gallery:
    The Tropical Pacific Gallery is home to the aquarium's largest tank, as well a ssome of their rarest species. It is located on the second floor of the aquarium. The section focuses on live coral and its ecosystems. The first section is called Coral Lagoon, and offers just a taste of what is to come. Next, there are the usual "Nemo" exhibits, as well as some for Upside-Down Jellies, and baby sharks and skates. The two reef exhibits are the Hawaiian Reef and the Deep Reef. Interestingly, there is an exhibit in the middle of the hallway for a few species of frog: Vietnamese Mossy Frog, and some normal Dart frogs. After viewing this half of the gallery, the visitor enters the Soft Coral Tunnel.
    The Soft Coral Tunnel is one of two major viewing areas for the aquarium's Tropical Reef Habitat. This habitat is home to the aquarium's Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The best way to see one is in the tunnel. One of them hides in a shelter object on the side of the tunnel that is thinnest. The view from the tunnel is not spectacular, but most of the species circle through the tank quickly. Some of the species best seen from here are: Humphead (Napoleon) Wrasse, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Honeycomb Moray Eel, Blue Tang, Foxface Rabbitfish, Redtooth Triggerfish, Crimson Snapper, Spotted Unicornfish, Zebra Shark, and many other small reef fish.
    After the tunnel, the other half of the gallery is reached. The first major exhibit is the "Sex Change Exhibit" which is stocked full of fish that can do just that. Most of them are some sort of Anthias. Next is a set of tanks called "Jewels of the Tropical Pacific". Most of the tanks contain certain types of anemone, coral, and small invertebrates. The most notable (and one of the newest) has 6 or 7 Flamboyant Cuttlefish. This set of tanks is followed by a large cylindrical tank for Spotted Lagoon Jellies. Afterwards, two of the rarest animals (which sadly were off display when I visited) in the aquarium can be seen: Barred (banded?) Mudskipper and Black Banded Sea Krait. They are in an odd looking exhibit with grassy land area on top and simulated coral and caves on the bottom. The final exhibits in the gallery are two for sea dragons (one for Leafy, one Weedy) and another spot to view the Tropical Reef Habitat. That sums up this gallery.
    The Average:
    Lorikeet Forest and Surrounding Random Birds:
    Lorikeet Forest is one of the outdoor exhibits at the aquarium. It is one of the generic Lory feeding exhibits, where the visitor has the option to buy nectar to feed lories, and then walks through an aviary to view or feed the lories. The aviary is larger than most of the kind, but has little to no natural surroundings for the birds. There are four species (or subspecies, the Rainbow Lory taxonomy keeps changing) that are in the aviary. These species are: Green-Naped Lorikeet, Edward's Lorikeet, Forsten's Lorikeet, and Swainson's Lorikeet. There are also a few random birds scattered around the outdoor area. They are all in decent enclosures, but for their species, I felt kind of bad. The best enclosure is for Guam Kingfisher. There are also Collared Aracari, Laughing Kookaburra, and Australian Magpie.
    Shark Lagoon and Molina Animal Care Center Exhibits:
    Shark Lagoon is another one of the aquarium's largest tanks. It is home to sharks (another big gasp) as well as a few rays. It was recently home to a Freshwater (Largetooth) Sawfish, but she has moved to an undisclosed location for a breeding program, as international law now prevents EVERYONE (aquariums, fisherman, etc.) from taking sawfish from the wild. It is home two Whitetip Reef Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, a Zebra Shark, Sandtiger Sharks, and Reticulate Whiptail Rays. Outside the viewing area, there are also shark touch pools. The first contained Bonnethead Sharks, a Zebra Shark, and Cownose Rays. There were also a variety of tropical fish, which I don't advise, especially the foxface rabbitfish that were in it. The next touch tank contained assorted bamboo sharks and epaulette sharks. I haven't seen so many of those species in the same place, ever. They should probably distribute a few to other aquariums.
    A few tanks are present around Molina Animal Care Center. The first was a touchtank for things such as Horseshoe Crab. A large quarantine tank that on my visit contained Reticulate Whiptail Ray, a pair of Whitetip Reef Shark, and one Blacktip Reef Shark. These are nothing special.
    Southern California Steelhead Story and Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific
    These are two very small outdoor exhibits. The first, Southern California Steelhead Story, aims to enlighten the visitor on the downfall and partial bounceback on the Rainbow Trout population in Southern California, but it fails to do so. There is a group of rather mediocre exhibits for Rainbow Trout, but they are not appealing. The only signs to explain anything instead describe the phases of a trout's life, rather than their plight.
    Our Watersheds: Pathways to the Pacific is a small educational area that doesn't appeal to most people. It explains what a watershed is, and how they work. It also explains how they impact the ocean. The interactive areas are popular with children.
    Northern Pacific Gallery:
    The Northern Pacific Gallery is the the last exhibit at the aquarium. It is on the second floor. The first two exhibits are surge channels on either side of the visitor. They have live kelp and various small species of fish. The next set of exhibits is the new Jellies gallery, which contains a few different species of sea jelly- Japanese Sea Nettle, Crystal Jelly, Pacific Sea Nettle, Comb Jelly, and Moon Jelly. There is a set of three tanks for Moon Jelly, which demonstrate three of its life phases. The next large exhibit is for diving birds- a tall rocky outcropping and long pool for Tufted Puffin, Horned Puffin, Crested Auklet, and Pigeon Guillemot. After, the visitor may make a choice, they can get in line if they wish to for the Coastal Corner Touch Tank, or they may just keep walking. Although everyone can view the Giant Pacific Octopus, those in line for the touch tank can see it up close. The touch tank contains mostly anemones and sea cucumbers. After the touch tank, there is a large curved wall panel which allows visitors to view into the habitat of four Southern Sea Otters. Although the habitat is large, the land area is plain and the water is equally barren, except there are fish and kelp (I presume artificial) in the water. There is only one strand of kelp. After the visitor is done looking at the adorable sea otters, they continue to a section called "Otter Food" which has examples of many invertebrates and other creatures that Sea Otters like to eat. The second to last set of exhibits is called "Jewels of the Northern Pacific" and contains animals such as Tube Dwelling Anemone, Spot Prawn, Gooseneck Barnacle, Twospot Octopus, Candystripe Shrimp, Crimson Anemone, Giant Sculpin, Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker, Sailfin Sculpin, and Mosshead Warbonner. The final exhibit is home to a group of Giant Japanese Spider Crab. Their exhibit is a bit on the small side.
    Unique and Rare Species:
    Olive Ridley Sea Turtle: +10
    Black Banded Sea Krait: +10
    Overall, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a nice facility to visit if you are in Long Beach. It has recieved a score of 90, putting it at #1 of the 1 aquarium facility I have reviewed. The aquarium did not have any exhibits that would rate as the worst, and instead most were fairly average. The previous facility to be reviewed was: the Fort Worth Zoo. The next facility will be: the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Photos of this facility will be in the gallery tomorrow or the next day. Comments, suggestions, etc. are welcome. Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!