Long Beach: Aquarium of the Pacific

If you ask Dolittle what the highlight of our trip has been so far, feeding the Lorikeets at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is right there at the top of her list. 

I’d never heard of Lorikeets before we went. They’re adorable. They look like miniature parrots. Gorgeous, bright, little rainbow birdies. 
Dolittle and my mom got the little cups of nectar they sell outside the exhibit, and as soon as we walked through the door, my mom got bombarded. 
She was cool with the first two.

Three (there was still one on her hand) got to be a little iffy. Great face, Ma! 🙂
Dolittle was patient, and finally got to have her turn. 

 Aren’t they pretty?

I love this one. Little birdie’s looking right at her. 🙂

Dolittle wasn’t the only hands-on kid that day. BoyWonder enjoyed petting the stingrays and sharks (or trying to, anyway – his little arm had a hard time reaching far enough into the water). No fear.

Even The Muse, who prefers not to reach her hand into a pool of potentially dangerous creatures, convinced herself to touch some starfish and anemones in a touch pool.

See how proud she is of herself? Also, did you know that if you hold your finger on an anemone’s spines, it will close them gently around your finger? Super cool. 
Speaking of super cool, how are jellyfish even a thing? 

So freaking bizarre. And awesome. And mesmerizing. The jellyfish tank is like a living lava lamp.

(Funny side note: Shortly after we saw these jellyfish, we went to another hallway that had a tank of orange jellyfish. BoyWonder pulled on my arm and said, “Mama! Look! Let’s go see the hot jellyfish!” I love the way kids see things.)
Speaking of bizarre, check out this little guy: 
It’s like God just tossed a bunch of patterned fish parts into a grab bag and pulled this out. I think the poor little fellow’s got a major identity crisis on his hands. 
Also in the “delightfully bizarre” category, the Weedy Sea Dragon:

 And his funky cousin, the Leafy Sea Dragon.

 Come on! That’s just freaking cool.

I’d love to see some of those little buggers in the wild. 
Here are some things I would NOT want to see outside of the aquarium:
These things FREAK. ME. OUT. Little wormy eely things popping straight out of the bottom of the ocean floor is just not right. Not right at all.
I also wouldn’t want to cross paths with this guy.

 He’s just plain ugly. And scary.

Just wandering around with his mouth hanging out. No thank you.
Aquariums are cool for seeing what kinds of whacked out, mind-bogglingly, jaw-droppingly strange and diverse life forms there are. For real. Life in the ocean is like one big Dr. Seuss funhouse.
The only disappointment with the aquarium was that the sea otters were hiding. Otters are my fave. So fun and playful. 
Oh well. Those Lorikeets and Leafy Sea Dragons made up for it. 🙂

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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