My husband grew up in Monterey Bay and just from living there, knows more about marine biology than I do, and I studied Ichthyology in college! I grew up in a beach town also in Seal Beach, Southern California, but there wasn’t an aquarium nearby back then. But now there is!
The Aquarium of the Pacific is next door to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, one town over from Seal Beach. While the Aquarium of the Pacific can never match up to Monterey Bay Aquarium from location alone (it’s on the ocean’s edge where it dips into a deep cavern), it’s still a pretty nice aquarium to visit.
Our trip to California was mainly centered on my mother in law’s 80th birthday …
and visiting my mother, about to turn 93, in her new independent living facility.
Related to that, we spent two days cleaning out my mother’s house, the house that I grew up in, which is a big job as she’s a hoarder.
My kids called our California trip a “work” trip because it was not a family vacation centered around fun. Still, we managed to visit the places that they wanted to go: Muji (a Japanese design store with pens, household goods and clothes), Daiso (a Japanese $2 discount store), Jamba Juice, In-and-Out Burger, Krispy Kreme donuts, and surf stores for back to school shopping.
In addition, we did Stand Up Paddleboard in Redondo Beach, visited the artist Victor Hugo Zayas in his studio, and saw the Aquarium of the Pacific.
The visit to the aquarium came about because we had a red eye flight and time to kill. This aquarium is near the Long Beach Airport and turned out to be the perfect diversion.
Things to do in Long Beach with Kids
- Check out the Museum of Latin American Art
- See a vast assortment of fish and creatures at the Aquarium of the Pacific
- Explore the Queen Mary
- Hike El Dorado Nature Center
- Visit Long Beach Museum of Art
- Explore the ocean on a Stand Up Paddleboard (We did Stand Up Paddleboard in Redondo Beach at Rocky Point)
- Take a boat to Catalina Island
- Catch a show at the Long Beach Playhouse