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The Aquarium of the Pacific Celebrates 25 Years and Honors Southern California

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is turning 25 this year and its birthday theme is connecting guests to the habitats and ecosystems of Southern California.

LONG BEACH—The Aquarium of the Pacific opened its doors in 1998 and has since been connecting millions of people to the wonders of our ocean planet. This year the Aquarium is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new programming, events, exhibits, and a new podcast called “Aquarium of the Podcific,” all highlighting Southern California and the efforts we can make to restore and conserve it. The underwater exhibit, scheduled to open July 1, features habitats from kelp forests to deep-sea reefs portrayed from a diver’s perspective. The exhibits will also feature native species such as the two-spot octopus, sharks, scorpionfish, eels, and pipefish.


Going hand-in-hand with the Southern California highlight, the Aquarium’s 2023 theme is “connecting to nature.” The Aquarium is finding new ways to connect the public to nature to conserve, restore, and protect the ocean world and its association with the land. 


The Aquarium’s Vice President of Education and Conservation, Jennie Dean, explained what we could do to help connect with nature and care for it. Efforts include:


– Carbon footprint: you can reduce your carbon footprint by walking, biking, carpooling, or using public transportation; composting your food waste; and making your home energy efficient. 

– Enjoy at a Distance: when visiting marine habitats, tread carefully, and never remove an animal. Next time you’re walking the wetlands, remember to try your best not to leave a trace. 

– Debris Cleanups: Improve your community and contribute to a cleaner ocean by participating in community trash cleanups. For those seeking a group to become involved with, the Aquarium of the Pacific invites you to join its watershed cleanup program, T.R.A.S.H.—Taking Responsibility And Saving Habitats.

– Spotting Giant Sea Bass: If you see a giant sea bass while exploring waters off California, snap a photo of its side and upload it to the Spotting Giant Sea Bass website. The spots of the giant sea bass are unique to the individual fish, so the database of photos allows researchers to track the population. The Aquarium is a partner in this community science program to help increase knowledge to aid in conserving this endangered species.  

– Other suggested efforts include habitat restoration and volunteering


The new Southern California exhibits will feature Sterling, the octopus. This small octopus figurine will change tanks day-to-day to encourage guests to take a closer look and observe the SoCal habitats up close. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the first person to spot the sculpture of this master of disguise hidden in an exhibit each day will receive a limited-edition commemorative pin. Just snap a photo of Sterling on your phone and upload it to your social media. Then, show it to the staff at the Member Services desk near the Aquarium entrance. If you are the first person to find it that day, you will receive the commemorative pin prize. 


The Aquarium of the Pacific is Southern California’s largest Aquarium and was created to conserve nature while facilitating the need for respect for the Pacific Ocean and its ecosystems.

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