It seems like I’ve been to quite a few aquariums this year. Besides the Long Beach Aquarium, I also went to the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco and the New England Aquarium in Boston. I do love a good aquarium!
Way back in February, (yes way back then!) we went to the Steinhart Aquarium. It was just remodeled and so there were a lot of people wanting to see it. My mom said that she tried going once and they had closed it because they were already at capacity. I would suggest buying your ticket online, which is what we should have done, but I forgot. There was a huge line around noon and I worried that we wouldn’t get in.
It’s also a good idea to get there early. By the time we got there the parking lot was full. We had to park on the street. Street parking is problematic because they are either two or three hour parking spots. Parking too long as of February 2009 will cost you about $50. You can pay it online using your credit card, trust me, I know.
The aquarium is a good place for children. They had a lot of waist height exhibits, which meant we did a lot of stooping. The kids really enjoyed it though because it was right at their eye level.
They have these little light-up signs that tell you what are in the tanks. Some of them weren’t lit and I initially thought that they were broken, but I turned out that they were touch sensitive. I imagine it’s to save energy when the aquarium is slow. The day we went was so busy that almost all of them were lit before we got to them.
Obligatory Penguin Photo! All Aquariums Have Them!
What they lack in aquascape design, they make-up in having a lot of little specimens. they didn’t have a lot of really big tanks, but they did have a freshwater aqua tunnel that’s popular in the modern aquarium. Unfortunately this one was usurped by moms and their strollers. They fully took up half the tunnel and mad it hard to look at anything because it had been turned into a two lane pedestrian highway.
The one thing that they do way better than any other aquarium I’ve been to is the food. They have a wonderful cafeteria. Don’t eat in the center area. There is a real place around the corner. They have the normal pizza/burger/hot dog fare, but they also have a pasta station, soup station, a wok station and a fresh sandwich station. Everything tasted very fresh like a real place to eat and it tasted good. It wasn’t an after thought.
Looking at my photos, it didn’t seem like I was all that interested in taking photos that day. So don’t let my bad photos make you feel like the place isn’t worth going to. It’s a great aquarium and a nice place to spend the afternoon.