The combination of extensive distance learning and our state’s shelter in place order have compelled us to get out of our house now that businesses are re-opening. One of our favorite things to do in LA with kids is visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Engaging and educational, we have spent hours exploring the sea life at the aquarium. In addition to implementing new safety measures due to COVID-19, the Aquarium of the Pacific debuted Coral Reefs, a brand new exhibit dedicated to Nature’s Underwater Cities.
Aquarium of the Pacific Reopening
After being closed for several months, Aquarium of the Pacific reopened with new guidelines in place last week. As is becoming the new standard, guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask/face covering and undergo screening prior to entry. Here is an overview of the new guidelines:
- All guests must purchase a timed-entry ticket online as the aquarium is currently operating at limited capacity. If you are a member, already have a ticket, or are using a coupon, you can make a reservation online. At present, the aquarium is limiting groups to 6 to adhere to city and government guidelines and re-entry is not permitted.
- Guests over the age of two are to wear face covering during your visit. If you do not have a face covering, you will have the option of purchasing one. Any guest who has a medical condition that prevents him/her from wearing a mask should inform a staff member upon check in.
- Upon arrival to the aquarium, all guests will have their temperature taken. You cannot visit the aquarium if you have a temperature over 100.4.
- Additionally, you will be asked a series of questions which include whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, fever, or recent loss taste or smell. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should plan to visit the aquarium at a later time when you are symptom-free.
- Once inside the aquarium, you’ll notice signs reminding you to practice social distancing.
- Clear partitions have been installed in areas where staff interact with guests such as the main entrance, member services and retail areas.
We decided to arrive early, at opening (which I highly recommend). The screening process was quick, and shortly, we were inside the aquarium. Signage is prominently displayed throughout the aquarium reminding guests of the new guidelines. I personally appreciated the addition of hand-sanitizing stations and the staff’s frequent sanitizing of touched surfaces. While the aquarium has temporarily paused shows and presentations, nearly all of the exhibits were open during our visit.
Arriving early was key because it allowed us to avoid crowds and see nearly all of the aquarium. Food options are still limited at the aquarium due to government guidelines surrounding the pandemic, so decided to explore for half a day, then grab lunch in Long Beach. As the guidelines across the state continue to change, I recommend reviewing current policies at AquariumOfPacific.org/Visit/Aquarium_Safety before your visit.
Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities
Explore the beauty of coral reefs and the animals that inhabit them in this brand new exhibition. Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities features new exhibits, animals, and programs. Families will discover a variety of coral reef environments and their inhabitants including pufferfish, cuttlefish, glowing flashlight fish, clownfish, and a green sea turtle.
Meet the new seabird Animal Ambassador, Sula a red-footed booby and one of only two of her kind known to be living at a zoo or aquarium.
Exhibits will also include a coral lagoon habitat functioning as a nursery for young fish, an exhibit with corals confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an exhibit of coral eaters such as parrot fish, an exhibit highlighting bioluminescent and fluorescent animals on coral reefs, and more.
Coral Reefs is colorful, engaging, and educational. Families will learn about coral reefs, the threats they face, and how you can help save them.
Aquarium of the Pacific Location and Operating Hours
Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. Parking is available on the water side of Shoreline Drive between Chestnut Place and Aquarium Way. You can park at the structure all day, and visit The Pike and Shoreline Village for food and shopping before or after your visit to the Aquarium. The fee is $8.00 for the day with Aquarium validation.
The Aquarium will be open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and will extend its hours Friday through Saturday until 9:00p.m.
Aquarium Online Academy
If you are planning to continue to shelter in place, you can still experience a variety of programs at home through the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Online Academy. This fantastic online resource includes live and on-demand programs, exhibit webcams, age-specific courses, coloring sheets, lecture series, and more.