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Best Place to Lose a Finger Orange County 2008 - Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium of the Pacific

100 Aquarium Way

Long Beach, CA 90802

562-590-3100

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Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Aquarium of the Pacific has helped to make Long Beach a tourist destination for families from Southern California and beyond. Many, however, aren't aware of the fun tours it offers that many other aquariums—we're looking at you, Monterey!—don't. For $90, you can sign up for a behind-the-scenes Animal Encounter tour. You've got three choices: the shark encounter (put on wet suits and climb into the pool with sharks!), the seal and sea lion encounter (get kissed by a sea lion!), and the sea otter encounter (learn just how FUCKING DANGEROUS cuddly sea otters really are!). All three tours include a general tour of the aquarium's inner workings, like climbing above its largest tank, feeding sharks some delicious-smelling chum, and preparing meals for sea otters and such. Charlie the otter will even offer you his paw before you very gingerly hand him chunks of scallops, shrimp and fish. He's not as nice as he looks, though: Otters are actually related to badgers and wolverines. On our last encounter, we even got to meet Mr. Green the Puffin, who likes to hang out by the door of his exhibit—and who promptly took a chunk out of a trainer's hand after performing a mating-dance ritual with her waggling fingers. Puffins? Not that nice, either.

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