I’ve lived in Long Beach for a year now and still hadn’t visited the Aquarium of the Pacific, one of the best in the country. Since my niece Annie was coming to visit for a couple of days, it seemed a good excuse and she was enthusiastic. (She’s 13.)
We started with a bus ride downtown. Crazy person sitting behind us insisted on telling us how he’d scammed the system by getting a doctor to verify that he was “disabled” so he could get a discount bus pass. We were relieved when he got off.
Anyway, we made it to the aquarium okay. The first thing we did was get a squashed penny. I’ve been collecting those for years, every time I see one. Cheap souvenir! It was a fabulous aquarium, everything was so clean and bright and beautiful, with plenty of wonderfully designed exhibits and of course beautiful critters. I could watch jellies forever. They had a pool where you could pet rays. The rays actually like it; one came right up to me and flapped its flipper (flipper?) against the side of the pool wanting attention.
I love the starfish and seahorses and lion fish. Oh, and a fantastic octopus, eels, sharks (I also pet a tiger shark). They just completed a big sea otter habitat renovation. Annie and I got picked to be volunteers during the otter show. We had to hold up colored shapes against the side of the tank and the otters would swim to the right one on command. Sea lions were fun to watch, too. So sleek and graceful.
I’m not sure why they have a lorikeet exhibit at an aquarium, but since I’m a sucker for birds I had to see. Rob paid $3 for a teeny cup of nectar so I could feed them. You walk in the exhibit and hold out the cup, and the idea is that they will land on your hand and arm to lap up the nectar. (A lorikeet is an Australian parrot.) At first they were shy, but finally one landed and I was so charmed; then another one landed on my head and another on my shoulder. The one on my shoulder started chewing on my sterling silver earring. Since I’ve had pet birds for years I knew he could very well steal it if he wanted. Rob and Annie were laughing so hard they were no help! I really wish I’d had a camera.
The highlight of the visit, though, was the whale song exhibit. They had a machine that would play the song of whatever whale you chose and show you what the sound pattern looked like, as a digital wave. Then you pushed a record button and tried to recreate the song. Vocally. The three of us really got into it. Rob was bellowing at the top of his lungs, I was whistling, Annie was mostly laughing. We monopolized the machine for about twenty minutes while we did it over and over, trying to get it right. I was laughing so hard I almost wet myself, and I think the management was about to throw us out for causing a disturbance.
Took the bus home and got to listen to a couple loudly breaking up. Public transportation is so interesting! Great material for a writer.