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This week’s Secret of SoCal is the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is home to “more than 11, 000 ocean animals, representing nearly 500 species”. Upon arrival, I realized how little I knew about the diversity of marine life in the Pacific Ocean. This aquarium was the perfect place to learn more! The aquarium “explores the waters of Southern California and Baja, the Northern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific, highlighting 19 major habitats and 32 focus exhibits.” Although I loved learning about every fish and barnacle, I enjoyed three particular exhibits the most. (Aquarium of the Pacific, 2016)

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Did you know that shark skin is composed of tiny teeth called dermal denticles? Shark Lagoon was an informative, interactive exhibit! There were three shallow touch pools and if you were brave enough, you could touch Bamboo and Epaulette Sharks as they swam past you! However, not all sharks at Shark Lagoon could be touched. 

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A large tank housed the biggest, meanest sharks at the aquarium: a Zebra Shark, a Blacktip Reef Shark, and a Sand Tiger Shark! The Sand Tiger Shark immediately became my favorite because it swam slowly with its mouth open, displaying its skinny, sharp teeth. Look at this smile!

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Did you know that Sea Lions have an external ear flap and Harbor Seals don’t? Walking through the viewing tunnel on the first floor and watching from the outdoor amphitheater deck allowed me to get a first hand look into the daily lives of these playful Harbor Seals and Sea Lions. Seeing the Sea Lions communicate with one another was surreal!

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Did you know that Sea Jellies have lived on Earth for more than 500 million years, making them an older species than dinosaurs? I shamelessly stared at the jelly exhibits for hours! Sure jellies are made up of 95% water and their movements are merely a consequence of the water surrounding them, but jellies offer so much to their ecosystem and to ours! For example, jellies are an indicator of the ocean’s health; if there are too many jellies, the ecosystem is lacking fish. Who knew??

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I spent hours roaming around the aquarium and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend you visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach! An adult ticket cost $29 and was worth the priceless knowledge I gained about the Pacific Ocean. 

Be sure to follow me on instagram (@ericaadean) for more Secrets of SoCal

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