Friday October 30, 2009 / 3:00pm - 6:00pmAquarium of the Pacific
General Admission - Adult
How was your experience?
While the exhibits and shows at the Aquarium of the Pacific can't hold a candle to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago or the Monterey Bay Aquarium, it's the best available marine life experience in the SoCal area. The $15.50 (including service fee) Goldstar price makes the admission cost more palatable, although you're limited in the shows/movies that are available between the hours of 3 & 6 pm. However, three hours is plenty of time to see all of the exhibits and experience the touch pools, especially off-season, on a weekday when most of the kids are (or should be) in school. The knowledgeable docents are readily available during these less-busy times and happy to share their expertise. The facility itself is well laid out, with a cafe, concession stand and plentiful restrooms. Parking is $7 and just a few steps away at the garage that also services The Pike dining and entertainment center. If you take advantage of the limited hours offer from Goldstar and would still like to make a day of it, the Rainbow Harbor area in Long Beach has plenty to offer. Family-friendly restaurants such as Bubba Gump's, Boston's, Gladstone's, Chili's and Famous Dave's are right next to the Aquarium. The Pike continues across the street over the bridge walkway, with more restaurants, such as CPK, Cold Stone Creamery, Sgt. Peppers Dueling Piano Cafe, and entertainment at Cinemark Theaters, GameWorks, the carousel and ferris wheel. A short stroll around the harbor brings you to Shoreline Village and its shops and restaurants, such as Parker's Lighthouse and Yard House, plus yet another carousel. (Shoreline Village also offers another parking option--2 hours free with validation; $8 max.) If you time it right, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a pleasant, relaxing way to spend some time at Long Beach's Rainbow Harbor.