If your travels find you with a stopover in LA or LA is your final destination, The Aquarium of The Pacific is a must see on anyone’s itinerary. This is one of the leading aquariums in the world with beautiful exhibits featuring California, Baja California, The Arctic, South Pacific and many more with ample opportunities to touch and interact with the animals in many of the exhibits. If you are adventurous and a certified diver (with your certification records with you), you can even dive in some of the larger exhibits by taking advantage of the Aquarium of The Pacific Dive Immersion Program. It is required that you book your spot for this incredible experience 24 Hours in advance, reservations and information can be found by CLICKING HERE or calling 562-590-3100, ext. 0.
The Dive Immersion Experience
Once you enter the dive locker you will be surrounded a host of friendly aquarium staff and volunteers who readily assist their fellow divers in selecting gear and prepping equipment. Bring your mask only as everything else will be provided by the aquarium ensuring no contamination is transferred from gear used in the ocean and you wont have to travel with wet gear. As you prepare, you’ll feel like you’re on the deck of a huge dive boat with everyone busy gearing up, excited for the days dives and talking about all of the animals you will see in the exhibits. The only thing missing is the rocking of the boat.
Diving The Blue Cavern
As you remove the guard rail to the exhibit it’s hard to contain the giddy kid like feeling and hold back a huge grin as you enter the water realizing your diving in an amazing exhibit with animals you don’t normally get to see on dives unless you’re lucky. Hit your exhaust valve and drop into an amazing underwater world that’s immensely different than what you saw from the outside as you entered the Great Hall at the main entrance to the aquarium. The first thing we took notice of is how well you can see all of the people looking into the aquarium, it’s exciting to look out and see the smiling faces of kids and adults alike. As you descend through the water column you pass by a few large yellowtail tuna, a school of sardines and then look down to see two giant sea bass that are easily 300
pounds and incredible to observe up close. There are also at least two moray eels, a giant sheepshead and a school of medium size fish that form a mesmerizing circle of movement as they school in the water at the top of the tank. Once you are on the bottom of the aquarium look up and take in the splendor of the exhibit teaming with life and natural sunshine beaming through from above. As you take in the beauty of what is happening above, it is hard to remember that you are actually in an aquarium in the middle of downtown Long Beach. Truly a must see for anyone who loves SCUBA.
Diving the Tropical Reef Habitat
A 300,000 gallon wonderland filled with more than 1,000 animals to observe and enjoy with a few that are extremely curious of you. This exhibit is filled with excitement from a batfish named “Bubbles” who will follow you throughout your entire dive and nibble at your wetsuit hood to two Queensland Groupers that are 300-400 pounds of gentle giant. As you drop into the deepest part of the main tank be careful to keep your position while you observe the graceful hammerhead sharks, giant stingray and curious zebra sharks swimming around you because there is a current on the left hand side of the tank and you can end up bumping into things if you’re not observant. Once at the bottom of the exhibit, it’s just you and Bubbles observing the busy habits of so many beautiful animals it’s overwhelming. There are large snowflake eels, moray eels, a beautiful sea turtle and sharks. The sharks in this exhibit are absolutely beautiful, there are two strong and healthy scalloped hammerheads and three zebra sharks. Observing the hammerheads as
they gracefully pass by, you can see all of the muscle in their sleek body and their coloring is breathtaking to see up close. Then there are the awe inspiring zebra sharks, about five feet in length they effortlessly slip through the water. As the zebra sharks swim past you can see the rough texture of their skin and their markings take on an artistic patina as they get close to you, if these were the only animals in the exhibit it would be worth it to pay and dive with them. Once you have spent some time in the main tank you can swim over to an area where people are below you in a tunnel and there are loads of smaller tropical fish to observe. This portion of the exhibit is home to many of the tangs and surgeonfish with every color in the rainbow surrounding you as they curiously swim around you. Spend a few minutes in the tunnel area and then get back over to the main tank to watch the kaleidoscope of color and life swim around you before it’s time to surface back into reality. It’s impossible to describe the beauty and wonder you will experience in this exhibit, once you are under it’s easy to drift off into the undersea beauty and feel just like your on a dive on a remote reef in Southeast Asia. We highly recommend this experience for anyone traveling through or staying in LA, and you don’t even have to get your own gear wet on the way to your final destination.