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Oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” Though we can’t all be underwater explorers, aquariums are a great place to observe and learn about marine life without having to put on a wetsuit. California offers multiple opportunities to come up close with fish, crabs, turtles, sharks, penguins, sea otters, and other creatures. Here are Culture Trip’s seven favorite aquariums, from San Francisco down to Long Beach.
The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro showcases marine life from Southern California, with key areas including an exhibit hall, aquatic nursery, and research library. Guests can also come for the seasonal “grunion run,” which is when the small fish arrive at high tide to fertilize and bury their eggs in the sand. Admission is reasonable: a $5 suggested donation for adults and a $1 donation for children.
Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences houses nearly 40,000 animals representing 900 species. Of note is a swamp habitat where Claude, an albino alligator, lives. Nearby, visitors will also find the Kimball Natural History Museum, an impressive rainforest exhibit, and the Morrison Planetarium.
Steinhart Aquarium, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 379 8000