For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific is offering live, online tours of sea otter, sea lion and seal exhibits.
People can sign up online to participate in the hour-long exhibit, communicate with the tour guides in real time and learn new facts about sea animal favorites in real time.
Like many other businesses during the pandemic, the aquarium has essentially been closed to the public since the stay-at-home orders were announced in early 2020. Visits to outdoor exhibits, available during late summer and fall, were cancelled when the COVID-19 surge prompted tightened restrictions. That has prompted the need to introduce new ways to experience the exhibits.
In December, the aquarium's first live, virtual tour was launched, featuring a live Q&A chat. Viewers watched as tour guides started at one exhibit before moving onto the next, discussing animal and ocean facts and answering questions from the audience.
Animal facts and pop quizzes are dished out during the tour. Did you know that all jelly fish are plankton and the most fish recorded caught by a puffin in one swoop was 62 fish?
Eventually, the tour reaches the sea lion and otter exhibit, where viewers can watch the guides feed and play with the "sea dogs" before logging off.
Virtual Seal and Sea Lion Encounter tours happen at 11:15 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday. Virtual Sea Otter Encounters are available at 2 p.m. every Thursday and Sunday.
Tickets are $10 per household, and reservations for each tour must be made 48 hours prior to the start time. Go to aquariumofpacific.org for more information and reservations.
From 9 to 9:30 a.m. and 10 to 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Aquarium is offering free virtual classes for children, featuring topics about the ocean and animal concepts. Older children will explore topics in marine biology, environmental science and conservation. Classes are offered in Spanish at 10 a.m. every Wednesday.
Go to aquariumofpacific.org/education/aquariumacademy to sign up for free.
People can log on for a virtual tour of the Northern Pacific Gallery from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 16. Participants will learn about cold water animals and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Sea Otter Habitat, as well as meet staff members from the animal care team. Registration is required and the cost is $10 per household.
A virtual tour of the Tropical Pacific Gallery is from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. this Sunday, Jan. 17. The gallery includes the aquarium's newest exhibit, "Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities." Registration is required and the cost is $10 per household.
People also can view live webcams streaming all day long. Go to aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/webcams.