Should you visit aquariums? Southern California has so much natural beauty for tourists and locals to enjoy. Since it is located next to the ocean, the marine life in particular is both diverse and breathtaking. Whether you live in the Los Angeles area and are looking for something unique to do, are visiting and looking for a fun experience for the family, or are considering an aquarium installation in your own home and are seeking inspiration, visiting aquariums in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area is a great idea.

The Wonders of L.A. Public Aquariums

There are a number of incredible sea creatures indigenous to southern California, including the Orca and the Blue Whale – the largest living mammal. The area is home to the basking shark and the blue shark, as well as sea lions and the bottle nosed dolphin. There are a number of great freshwater and saltwater aquariums that will give you the opportunity to get a close look at these animals. For your convenience, we have compiled for your enjoyment a list of four of the most popular and exciting aquariums.

1. Aquarium of the Pacific – Located in Long Beach 

Located across the water from the Long Beach Convention Center, this expansive aquarium attracts around 1.5 million visitors a year, and for good reason! The Aquarium of the Pacific contains over 11,000 types of animals, and over 500 types of species. The aquarium aims to introduce its audience to the seascapes of the Pacific and the inhabitants that can be found there. Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Aquarium of the Pacific is that it strives to emphasize the importance of conservation, creating messages specific to each region of its three permanent galleries.

The Southern California and Baja Gallery

This gallery features an ample three story tank that contains 142,000 gallons of water. Each gallery contains exhibits – this one presents three for its visitors. First, there is the “Amber Forest Exhibit.” This display replicates a giant kelp forest where animal lovers can admire the scorpion fish among others.

The Gulf of California Exhibit includes exotic and beautiful marine creatures, such as the Cortez Rainbow Wrasse, the Mexican Lookdown, and the Porcupine Fish. Finally, there is the seal and sea lion habitat that includes a ray touch pool and a shorebird sanctuary.

The Northern Pacific Gallery and the Tropical Pacific Gallery

This gallery educates visitors about organisms that can be found in the Bering Sea. Here you can view diving birds, a sea otter habitat, and a giant Pacific Octopus tank. The Tropical Pacific Gallery presents visitors with a look at animals living off of the coast of the Islands of Palao.

If you pay this aquarium you visit, be sure to check out the Shark Lagoon, the Lorikeet Forest, and the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, all worthy investments of time with lovable creatures.

2. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San Pedro California 

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Offering school and group programs as well as hosting many visitors, this tropical aquarium has both indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces, an auditorium, and wet laboratories. The architecture of this aquarium is striking – in 1981 the famous architect Frank Gehry re-designed the structure.

Along with the impressive architecture, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium boasts the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world. At the aquarium, you can explore interpretive displays, museum collections and adaptations of the local sea life. This aquarium is special because it takes an interactive and natural approach to educating its visitors on the marine environment.

3. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, this aquarium welcomes 65,000 visitors from across the globe. It offers educational programs, activities and special events to address pollution, being friendly to the environment, and marine conservation.

Among the exhibits that the aquarium offers its visitors are shark, ray and octopus tanks. There are three touch tanks you can use to feel the animals as well as a crustacean tank. Be sure to look into the kelp forest tank and the sandy bottom tank when you explore this fascinating venue.

Like the other tropical, saltwater and freshwater aquariums, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium recognizes the importance of marine conservation. They educate interested visitors about keeping Coastal waters safe, healthy and clean, and organize community action programs.

4. Ty Warner Sea Center

Located on Stearns Wharf, the Ty Warner Sea Center is owned and operated by the Museum of Natural History. It includes features such as the Living Beach Interactive Tide Pool, and the Biolab, which depicts the biological life cycle of marine creatures. Among other exhibits one very impressive display there is the Mammal Mezzanine, which includes thirty six species of marine mammals.

These aquariums teach their visitors how to respect and appreciate the marine life around them. They also take the time to stress the importance of conservation, so that we will be able to enjoy our ocean-dwelling companions for as long as possible. Show your support for these good causes, and learn about fascinating creatures by stepping in to their world for a day. Locals, tourists, and enthusiasts interested in aquarium design alike have to agree that this is a win-win situation!