Arts & Life, Student Choice Awards Winner

Aquarium of the Pacific wins the most ‘Instagrammable’ place in Long Beach

The Aquarium of the Pacific first opened in downtown Long Beach in 1998 and now has over 100 exhibits containing more than 12 thousand animals.

Their galleries consist of sea and freshwater life, including fish, sharks, birds, amphibians and mammals such as seals and sea otters. Some of these exhibits also allow guests to interact with the animals, like the ray touch pools and the lorikeet forest, which provides the option to buy a cup of nectar to feed the birds.

The variety of animal life and its exhibits present many photo opportunities for those looking to compose social media galleries.

A flamboyant cuttlefish resting at the bottom of its tank.
Photo credit: Jonathan Bigall

Madeline Walden, the assistant social media manager of the Aquarium of the Pacific, said she constantly receives notifications when the aquarium is tagged in peoples’ social media posts.

“You can come here with the most minimal photography knowledge and take the most beautiful picture ever,” Walden said.

Walden, who manages all of the aquarium’s social media accounts, notes some of the most popular animals she sees online include sea otters, rays, seals and sea lions, which have been the subjects of many of the posts on the aquarium’s social media.

For $4 guests can buy a cup of nectar to feed the lorikeets in the lorikeet forest exhibit.
For $4 guests can buy a cup of nectar to feed the lorikeets in the lorikeet forest exhibit.

“Harpo the sea lion is our most famous animal here,” Walden said. “He’s the star of our most viral TikToks.”

Myles Mineer, a fourth-year at Long Beach State, is an employee at the Aquarium of the Pacific. He believes the aquarium is a great place to visit for CSULB students enjoying downtown Long Beach.

“I would say the tunnel in the tropical gallery is the most iconic,” Mineer said. “It’s amazing to be surrounded by all the aquatic life.”

Walden said that the aquarium is still serving a limited capacity of guests compared to their numbers prior to the pandemic.

“A normal day is probably around a thousand people, maybe less depending on different capacity restrictions,” Walden said. “Pre-pandemic, a general weekend we’d see over ten thousand people in a day. So definitely a lot more paired down right now, which I think makes for a really nice experience, especially as we get back into normal life.”

a Solomon Island leaf frog perched on a rock.
a Solomon Island leaf frog perched on a rock.

Since its opening, the aquarium has made a handful of expansions such as the Shark Lagoon and the Pacific Visions art exhibit and theatre.

The aquarium also offers opportunities to interact with some animals as well as whale and dolphin-watching cruises.

There are occasionally special events organized by the aquarium as well, such as the Night Dive events, which the aquarium organizes six times a year. Night Dives are meant for people 18 years old or over and feature live music. The next will be held in celebration of New Year’s Eve.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is open every day of the week and tickets must be purchased ahead of time. CSULB ASI has discounted tickets for students at $28 for adults and $21.95 for children.

More information about the aquarium such as hours, upcoming events and educational information can be found on the aquarium’s website.

Address: 100 Aquarium Way Long Beach, CA 90802

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