Isn’t there a song that goes “Jam Up And Jelly Fish?” or is it “Jelly Tight?” Something like that, right? But we all know now that it’s scientifically non-PC to uses the term “jellyfish” rather than the more recent and somewhat fanciful name of “sea jellies.” After all, they aren’t really fish. Well, then what about Sea Horses? But I digress.
In the beginning of a journey that took seventeen years, Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific was regarded unfairly as “that other aquarium.” Then it developed into an impressive oceanic educational museum dedicated to the biodiversity of the ocean and its inhabitants. The jellies seem to have the mini-Medusa effect of transfixing us in front of the glass tank for long stretches at at a time — or as long as the other families and the squirmy kids will allow (OK so I’m a grumpy Gus).
The aquarium has always had a more than adequate sea jelly gallery, but this new rotating exhibit will feature different Jellies throughout its run into February 2016. The animals are as simple as can be. They only have primitive nervous systems and live without lungs, gills, a brain or a heart, and yet they are capable of complex shapes and even what looks like rapid cycling lights traversing their bodies. Also, jellies predate the dinosaurs. You can find many of these facts in two separate theaters in the lower hall.
Some of the tanks are curved in a concave manner so if you stand close you feel enveloped in the realm of these quizzical sea creatures. There are twelve new tanks featuring jellies as tiny as a pinkie digit and others as big as your head. The best part for many is The Moon Jelly Petting Zoo. I kid you not. You will be instructed on the correct way to stroke their backs, and should you slip to the treacherous underside of the slippery critter, not to worry. Their stinging cells are meant to kill microscopic plankton. The human skin won’t even feel it.
There are plenty of other things to enjoy there. You can feed the Lorakeets with cups of nectar. If you have brightly colored hair, the males might land on your shoulder for a brisk mating dance. You can also spend time watching the predators and learning about the reefs and kelp beds. A short sea lion show is as close as it gets to a circus thing, but honestly, if the sea lions aren’t tired out with distractions like a show, they could cause a rumpus. For kids, the aquarium has constructed a medium -sized splash and play area where you can climb over giant sea critters and blast your buddies with water from three or four places on its concrete body.
If the crowded foot traffic is too much for you, and you’re not really a family type of person, the Aquarium is now offering extend hours throughout the month of August. From 5: PM to 8:PM, Adults will be allowed in at children’s prices. The low lights and breezy atmosphere makes for a nice date night and there a couple a top notch eateries nearby if you don’t fancy the snack bar or the cafe at the premises