A Fun Family Day Trip For The Summer: The New Pacific Vision Wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific


The new Pacific Vision wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific is now open to the public and features interactive exhibitions, a 300 seat theater, live animal exhibits, and an art gallery that transports you to the bottom of the ocean.  The aquarium located in Long Beach is a wonderful learning environment for children and families and the new wing is an expansion of education that helps to teach kids about the effects taking place on our oceans and what the world could look like in the future

Aquarium of the Pacific. Photography by Tom Bonner

The 53 million dollar wing opened on May 24th, making it the first expansion in the aquarium’s 20-year history. Pacific Visions is a 29,000 square foot structure whose exterior reflects a biomorphic form created by a rain glass cladding system consisting of tinted glass. It’s beautiful colors and shape are a stunning sight to see, and it’s exterior glass changes colors depending on the lighting and angle.

The entrance to the wing steps you into Reef & Drifters, an art gallery that shows you the complex habitats and species that inhabit the depths of our oceans. 3D Wall exhibits project elements of coral and plankton, an infinity garden allows you to peer into a repeating abyss of coral as far as the eye can see, and hand-blown glass sculptures of plankton species suspend from the ceiling above you.

After the gallery, guests then enter the 2,600 orientation gallery with an 18 ft virtual waterfall that reacts to movement. The kids have a blast chasing after projected fish on the floor that swims around and under your feet as every step you take sets off a splash in the pattern. A 26 ft wide screenplays a pre-show film about nature and humanity and how we are all connected over the course of history. Once the pre-show has finished, guests are escorted into the Honda Pacific Visions Theater.

The Honda Pacific Visions Theater sits 300 guests where they will emerge into an 8-minute multisensory experience that engages your sense through fog, wind, scent, strobe lights, and seat vibration. The impressive 130 ft wide by 32 ft tall arced screen is accompanied by a 36 ft wide floor projection disc that helps to enhance the visual experience of the film. The show, Designing Our Future, shows us what the world could look like if we worked to make a better planet for the future.

The experience ends in the culmination gallery where interactive walls and tables engage guests with games and exploration opportunities on what we can do to conserve the ocean. It’s a place where you don’t have to say “don’t touch that,” to your kids as they interact with their surroundings from popping bubbles on the wall to learning about marine life on game tables. After you’ve experienced all that Pacific Visions has to offer, you can then set off into the second floor of the main aquarium and continue on your day of learning and ocean exploration.