Surf on Our Turf

It's Christmas eve. You're bored. The only things open today are Albertsons, Vons, Disneyland (see above) and . . . this place. Though Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific boasts a noble collection of more than 12,500 creatures who call the Pacific home, it's easy for us to overlook it. Opened in 1998, the aquarium is still fairly young but showcases a number of impressive creatures and exhibits that render it a world-class institute that's actually fun to wander through. Featuring 19 major habitats and 32 focus exhibits, the aquarium's main galleries highlight the various regions of the Pacific Ocean, including the Southern California/Baja Gallery (kelp forests!), Northern Pacific Gallery (giant octopi! And otters!), Tropical Pacific Gallery (sea turtles!)-and there's even a hands-on Shark Lagoon (where you can very gently pet sharks and stingrays), Shorebird Sanctuary and Lorikeet Forest. And now, you can learn about tsunamis, the heart-pounding art of surfing, how our fucking up the environment is changing how waves affect us, what causes waves here in Southern California and more in the aquarium's newest exhibit, “Catch a Wave.” Aw, come on. Even Vons doesn't have sea otters.
Nov. 25-Jan. 2, 9 a.m., 2007

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