Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Aquarium of the Pacific...

Collapse

Ad Widget

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Trip Report The Aquarium of the Pacific...

    I'm very excited to bring you my first roving report for Mice Chat. It is also exciting for me because it's the first time I've gone any place other than Disneyland in quite a while.

    So let's put on our mask and snorkel and take a journey through the Aquarium of the Pacific.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722230260_354a7edc02_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	163.5 KB
ID:	7369516

    This is my first time visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I checked out their website at Aquarium of the Pacific and purchased my tickets online in advance. It was a few dollars cheaper to do it as a package which included my admission, the Behind the Scenes Tour and the 4D movie.
    Here are the current Admission, Membership and Online prices.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722230968_bce3999602_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	126.6 KB
ID:	7369517

    I'm a pretty frequent visitor to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which I love and also have been to Scripps Aquarium, the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco as well as Sea World many times. Other than Monterey, most aquariums don't thrill me too much because I have had aquariums my whole life and go to so many pet stores that I see fish every day. As a child my dream was to become an Ichthyologist (it's the branch of zoology that deals with fishes) and I took 4 years of biology and Marine Science. That was until I learned that most of them don't make very much money and have a very difficult time finding consistent work. "They never tell you that before you spend years studying it."

    I have to start off by saying that my day going to the aquarium did not start off as I had planned. We got off to a later start than I wanted which was only exacerbated by car troubles making me spend 3 hours and close to $800.00 at the auto repair shop. Needless to say I was in a really bad mood before we even left San Diego and still had 2 hours of sitting in traffic in front of me.

    We finally arrived at the Aquarium at 3:00 in the afternoon and parked in the structure right across the street. Parking is close and convenient for $8.00. By pre purchasing the tickets online and printing them out, you can completely skip any lines at the ticket windows.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722787750_0b574d4a23_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	215.7 KB
ID:	7369443

    Simply take your print out right to the front door and walk in. That was nice. We had purchased the tickets for the Behind the Scenes Tour at 1:30 but since we didn't get out of San Diego until after 1:00, we obviously missed it. We went to the guest services station and explained what happened and asked if we could join a later tour. The last tour was at 4:00 but it was completely booked and they can only fit so many people. BUMMER! Without me asking or even thinking of asking they promptly offered me a refund on the cost of the tour. I figured we missed it and that was our fault but they were really, really nice and gave me back $28.00. I was genuinely impressed and was now in a good mood again, ready to begin my adventure.

    The very first thing that struck me about this aquarium as compared to others was how family and especially child friendly it was. All of the exhibits are very low and everything is touchable. Most of the displays go all the way to the floor making it easy for even the smallest child to sit and watch the fish.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722275014_472c6a1daa_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	220.0 KB
ID:	7369444

    The first area you enter lets you know right off the bat that the seas are in peril and the aquarium has a very strong environmental approach with displays showing what is going on.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722236778_4e116c80ab_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	152.0 KB
ID:	7369445
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722261152_225a86e8ca_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	171.8 KB
ID:	7369446

    There are a few small fish displays in there as well as a jellyfish petting tank. Yes, an actual tank where you can pet jellyfish.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722261960_db956a2e90_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	176.0 KB
ID:	7369447
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722244902_8876b806a1_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	198.2 KB
ID:	7369448

    The little ones found this fascinating.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722251806_f1c3e3a7be_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	155.6 KB
ID:	7369449


    Outside of that area is a little stand where you can Adopt an Animal and donate to help support whatever your favorite type of fish is.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722305608_6ca73e2fca_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	231.7 KB
ID:	7369450

    Next on the ground floor is the large Southern California & Baja section.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722490584_840c93fb15_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	156.1 KB
ID:	7369451

    This is where you will see the 30 foot tall, 142,000 gallon aquarium representing our local waters and marine life that inhabits it. From a photographic standpoint, this is a difficult tank to photograph because of the sunlight and lights glaring off the glass. I want one of these for my house.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722709478_987a6b9d28_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	175.5 KB
ID:	7369452

    However, every so often they dim the lights and play a movie about penguins on the wall near it.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722314998_57e2b0513e_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	159.5 KB
ID:	7369453

    When the film is playing you get a better view of the giant tank and can get a much nicer photo without as much glare.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722328758_972d475037_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	212.5 KB
ID:	7369454
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722355764_e56d044da5_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	194.7 KB
ID:	7369455
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722343032_7a11482ea5_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	167.4 KB
ID:	7369456

    That's when you can take photos of this guy.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722678282_4ef75d678e_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	225.2 KB
ID:	7369457

    Or my favorite fish, the Leopard Shark. (I've had two of these in my own aquarium and they are the coolest fish ever. That is until they get too big and you have to donate them to Sea World.)
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722688674_0e8ac4c460_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	167.5 KB
ID:	7369458

    There are other exhibits showcasing our local waters including a nice Jelly Fish display.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722505986_28627c690b_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	135.9 KB
ID:	7369459
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722497040_782b88db36_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	136.9 KB
ID:	7369460

    Next, you travel north and check out the marine life in the Northern Pacific.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722511922_94b4d0f357_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	142.7 KB
ID:	7369461

    There is an exhibit of Alaskan Sea Birds (Puffins)
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722518796_54fddc8c94_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	232.0 KB
ID:	7369462

    There is also a Star Fish area where you can pick up and experience the feel of a Star Fish.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722530882_6020ff0549_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	186.3 KB
ID:	7369463

    Other exhibits include a large tank with lots of schooling fish and a sleepy Sea Otter as well as giant Spider Crabs.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722538146_e6248d21a9_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	173.6 KB
ID:	7369464
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722542804_c67f9a50d9_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	123.6 KB
ID:	7369465
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722551426_9d1eea96d2_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	187.3 KB
ID:	7369466

    No aquarium would be complete without the warmer, sunnier waters of the Tropical Pacific.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722643274_885fa3253e_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	175.6 KB
ID:	7369467
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722572828_2acdf77d47_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	174.3 KB
ID:	7369468

    Here you find the more colorful fish like you would find in most fish stores. One of the very cool exhibits is "The Tube" where you walk through a large tank filled with all kinds of fish, small sharks and a sea turtle.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722604774_6475a77a71_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	175.4 KB
ID:	7369469

    Everyone is fascinated by the divers in the tank keeping it clean. I wish I could clean my tank like this.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722610590_625a222ed9_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	210.7 KB
ID:	7369470

    "Hey Mister, watch out! There's a Shark above you!"
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722624468_e749aa76df_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	214.5 KB
ID:	7369471

    Not to worry, it is only a harmless Bonnethead Shark.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722655798_25b53c0a4c_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	156.0 KB
ID:	7369472

    Or is it a Zebra Shark?
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722662494_7658718f98_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	191.1 KB
ID:	7369473

    This area of the aquarium had several colorful and very interesting exhibits. Being close to Disney, you have to have a tank filled with these crazy characters. I heard little kids yell "It's Nemo" at least 5 times in the few minutes I was there taking pictures.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722592542_e10b01d65e_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	125.9 KB
ID:	7369474
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722587036_85a18fd444_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	104.9 KB
ID:	7369475

    There is a tank showing symbiotic relationships like this Cleaner Wrasse that picks bacteria and tiny pests off of other fish, keeping them healthy.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722597154_765ca9f995_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	117.6 KB
ID:	7369476

    Also of interest is this tank showing how some fish can change sexes if needed for survival. The bright orange ones are the females and the darker more colorful purple ones are the males. If the dominant male dies, the most dominant female will become a male in just a few days. I've had several of these in my aquarium and it really is remarkable how fast they change sexes.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722617692_009f8f69e5_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	167.3 KB
ID:	7369477

    One of the more interesting displays is the tank with the Leafy Sea Dragons, relatives of the Sea Horse. (NO FLASH PHOTOS of these) They are so well disguised with the plants around them that several people glanced at it and walked away thinking it was empty.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722636190_f029a6d9e8_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	178.3 KB
ID:	7369478

    Outside the main building are the larger exhibits. First up is the Lorikeet Forest.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722364848_5246eb6e1c_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	172.7 KB
ID:	7369479

    You can purchase a cup of nectar to take in with you and feed the birds.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722484230_9b3ed98dbd_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	163.3 KB
ID:	7369480

    This is a surprisingly large aviary filled with colorful & noisy lorikeets.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722411600_2f89fa9d05_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	165.2 KB
ID:	7369481
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722414980_1f50914ff8_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	168.8 KB
ID:	7369482

    In between the Lorikeet Forest and the Shark Lagoon stands the appropriately named Shark Shack.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722368934_e99beb5419_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	168.1 KB
ID:	7369483

    Here you can buy all kinds of unique merchandise like shirts and plushes.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722375056_e77b4fa6b1_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	205.4 KB
ID:	7369484
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722382624_cd01798a54_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	216.9 KB
ID:	7369485

    Fellow Mice Chatter, Legacy 55 seems confused by this Tiger striped Shark/Dolphin type plush. What is it, a dolphin, a shark or a tiger?
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722400402_2c3ab9b0cc_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	139.0 KB
ID:	7369486

    Now we venture over to the Shark Lagoon where you get up close and personal with toothy characters like these Black Tip Reef Sharks.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722396444_6991e850d2_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	100.3 KB
ID:	7369487

    Or this Sawfish.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722417830_baf40415f6_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	109.7 KB
ID:	7369488

    Or this guy with a menacing smile, the Sand Tiger Shark.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722422594_cde644dfee_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	102.6 KB
ID:	7369489

    There is also a wonderful area where you can pet larger rays like this big sting ray. "Stinger removed"
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722390112_8be6d0b4e2_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	172.0 KB
ID:	7369490

    As I mentioned before, the Aquarium of the Pacific is extremely kid friendly. Outside is also a large play area with fountains and all kinds of structures for kids to climb on.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722474542_093ab81e45_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	169.0 KB
ID:	7369491
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722681852_f0761f0567_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	172.8 KB
ID:	7369492

    Even the restrooms have little fold down stairs for kids to reach the sink and wash their hands. I thought this was a really nice and thoughtful touch.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722747534_ff6e2f4f39_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	78.2 KB
ID:	7369493

    Up another flight of stairs, or elevator are more exhibits that allow you to reach out and touch the fish. This one features local fish like bat rays.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722437608_e43712c874_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	163.9 KB
ID:	7369494

    I had to post this shot just for the Halibut.... get it? "Just for the Halibut"... bad, I know.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722429356_6b8bb1787d_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	222.2 KB
ID:	7369495

    There is a California Sea Lion exhibit with an underwater tunnel as well but it was being serviced on this day. It didn't stop this little guy from looking and looking though.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722499774_a850b80e1e_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	90.8 KB
ID:	7369496

    Now for the newest and featured exhibit. PENGUINS! This exhibit is only a few months old and they are very proud of it.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722453782_c395c78b6d_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	192.6 KB
ID:	7369497

    There is a little beach for the penguins to hang out on.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722460334_9670bf1f79_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	166.0 KB
ID:	7369498

    My favorite little viewing area was this little cut out in the tank allowing you to sit and watch them swim by and above you.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722446074_195a58234a_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	136.0 KB
ID:	7369499

    They are fast little buggers and kind of hard to photograph though.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722466354_a510560fbf_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	84.6 KB
ID:	7369500

    Now it was time to check out our movie Turtle Vision in 4D. This is a pretty short film that is only about 15 minutes long. You watch it in 3D with some 4D effects like steam and water sprays, (nothing too annoying or wet). The film is cute and is the story of a young turtle exploring the world and learning about the dangers and hazards created by man. If you purchase the online package that includes the film, it is worth it. I wouldn't pay the full $4.00 for it though.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722693668_2946466489_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	134.9 KB
ID:	7369501
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722652830_c4b5bdb277_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	94.3 KB
ID:	7369502

    Another interactive thing you can do is take your aquarium map around to all the different stations where you can emboss a stamp on the matching page. My wife Diane made it her mission to go around and get every one.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722719882_891f39cb49_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	126.6 KB
ID:	7369503
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722696956_e4d79e005e_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	148.3 KB
ID:	7369504

    Of course you will undoubtedly get hungry or thirsty during your visit. The aquarium has a coffee station with Starbucks coffee and the usual assortment of sandwiches, pastries, sodas and ice cream. We did get a sandwich and salad here that were both pretty good.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722285226_2308941f01_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	147.5 KB
ID:	7369505
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722292720_0f78b1102c_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	230.2 KB
ID:	7369506

    There is also Cafe Scuba which has a larger menu featuring sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and pizza. I didn't get the opportunity to try out the food at Cafe Scuba because it closed at 6:00 and we just missed it. When I first looked at the menu I was a little disappointed because I love the dining area at the Monterey Bay Aquarium which has a fantastic menu with unique and very gourmet selections. Then I looked at the crowd that this aquarium receives and realized that the menu they offer is perfect for their particular audience. The vast majority of the people they will be feeding are small children who only eat hot dogs, burgers and pizza. For a tourism location such as this, the food is actually reasonably priced too.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722670494_c5bd175898_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	232.0 KB
ID:	7369507

    No visit to a place like this is complete without stopping in the large and well stocked gift shop.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722733438_725b6c308e_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	169.9 KB
ID:	7369508
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722745984_e199edaccd_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	168.9 KB
ID:	7369509
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722766156_f6995542c1_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	197.3 KB
ID:	7369510

    Most of the merchandise is reasonably priced too, averaging a few to several dollars less than similar items you would find at Disneyland.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722757944_d3bcc59212_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	162.5 KB
ID:	7369511

    Had I not felt so poor after my car repairs, I would have bought a few things. There were several t-shirts that I liked.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722755660_2d4b7ee120_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	152.5 KB
ID:	7369512

    Speaking of Disney, they found their way into the gift shop as well.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722781008_cca8f215c0_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	203.6 KB
ID:	7369513

    If you find yourself short on cash, there is also an ATM for your shopping ease.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722773228_9cc59d698a_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	110.5 KB
ID:	7369514

    For most adults, a trip through the Aquarium of the Pacific will only take between 2 - 3 hours. For families with small children, count on 4 - 5. All in all it was a lovely way to spend the day.

    I should also let you know that if you want to spend a few hours there for less money and avoid most of the family crowd which clears out by 5:00, they are open till 9 on certain evenings during the summer for a discounted price. Here is a little info on that. You can check out their website for the specific dates. www.aquariumofthepacific.org
    Click image for larger version

Name:	7722227214_4bb146fcac_z_d.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	102.4 KB
ID:	7369515

    Since any of my trips like this are focused around photography, one thing became very clear to me in my first 5 minutes there. If you arrive in the afternoon like we did and plan on taking pictures, bring a cloth to wipe the glass where you want to take your photo. By 3:00, every square inch of glass in the entire place was completely covered with fingerprints. I guess that's the price for making them so accessible to children.
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 08-06-2012, 03:06 AM.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


    Flickr page: www.flickr.com/ringoffirehotsauce
    You Tube: www.youtube.com/ringoffireguy
    Facebook: http://profile.to/michaelgreening/
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/RingofFire1
    Personal website: www.mikeanddianes.com

  • #2
    Re: The Aquarium of the Pacific...

    Love this place, but it's a little challenging to take photos sometimes. A circular polarizer can sometimes help reduce the glare on the glass, or having a large rubber lens-shade that you can put up to the glass. My husband had good luck using a remote-control flash unit as well as a rubber lens hood. Also the white balance can be tricky, but the gravel beds can work well for examples of "white or grey" for setting it, either in the moment or after using software.
    I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Aquarium of the Pacific...

      Awesome TR! I went here once on a Saturday during the summer it was so packed with people you couldn't move through the exhibits without getting your feet stepped on. I guess going during the off-peak times of the year would have been much more enjoyable.
      Twitter: infamoustmk

      IG: tcadillac17

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Aquarium of the Pacific...

        Oh my gosh, thank you for such a wonderful TR, of my home aquarium! We had passes when my son was little, but let them expire ages ago. I took the kids two weeks ago, on a whim, and got a family pass, my girls hadn't ever been there. They loved it.

        The big whale is dusty, and really needs to be cleaned, lol... Glad you didn't get a shot of that.

        If you do ever eat at Cafe Scuba, honestly, just get a sammich. The pizza is blah, the pasta side dish was horrible (I actually chased down a napkin to spit it out, in front of the kids), the kid's bucket meal was fine. Two of the five in my party got sandwiches, and they were great! But seriously, for +$60, I expect the food to at least taste good. Next time, we'll grab something downstairs, or get hot dogs.
        xo, Deanna

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Aquarium of the Pacific...

          Wonderful trip report thank you!
          Get the latest and greatest theme park news by

          Comment

          Ad Widget

          Collapse
          Working...
          X