Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Our summer to-do list always includes the Aquarium of the Pacific. I remember it being the first place I felt comfortable taking my 2 year old and infant to as I navigated being a mom of two. And although they are a bit older, I still see the same excitement in their eyes when they run up to the tank and see the beauty of sea life. We had the opportunity to be hosted for the open house of the Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities. We got to explore colorful coral reefs, learn about the animals that call them home, view a film at the Honda Pacific Visions Theater, identify threats they face along with how to protect them. The Aquarium redesigned its Tropical Pacific Gallery to focus on coral reefs and showcase new animals. My kids thought the sexy shrimp were hilarious, they were fascinated with the sea turtles, rays, and they loved seeing Dumpling, the octopus glide through the water. We learned so much just by interacting with the exhibit such as the coral life cycle and how reefs form.

After exploring the Coral Reefs exhibit, I left with an appreciation for their contribution to marine fish and their potential to support us for any life-saving opportunities. Did you know that while coral reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor, more than 25 percent of all marine fish species depend on them? They are the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems. But now they are at risk due to global warming and pollution. So I did some more research and as a side note, I started using Think sunscreen and products because their ingredients are reef safe. We also have been reading and focusing on marine life this summer and this visit was perfect to help kick off our theme.

I loved all the fun activities we can do. In addition to more than a dozen exhibits representing various coral reef habitats and species, guests can take a virtual dive with a new multimedia experience in the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater. The theater is huge and spacious for everyone. Our favorite section was an interactive exhibit where guests can digitally color a coral reef animal and add it to a virtual tank, a coral art installation, and informative displays where visitors can learn more about the importance of corals and reefs to animals and to people and what can be done to help protect them. My boys loved this section so much and we stayed there for the bulk of our time. I did see the opportunity for all learners to gain something from this section, from kinesthetic learning to auditory and visuals. The aquarium did an excellent job being inclusive to all learning styles.

The exhibit is running now until April 2022. The Aquarium of the Pacific is located on 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 There is a membership opportunity which is affordable for the family especially if you plan to visit more than once. We loved it so much, we are heading back again this week. There are also so much to see and do around it, such as grab lunch or shopping. So it is the perfect location for a staycation too!

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