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Aquarium of the Pacific (Again)!

whale of a tail

When it rains it pours around here with blog posts. And I have another one in my head so stay tuned! I have to write about things when the whim hits me because otherwise I wait too long and then they are lost forever in the breezes of my rusty old brain. Speaking of, I could use some breezes around here. It is HOT HOT HOT in the city! It’s 7:45 in the morning as I type this and already I’m feeling the heat of the day. It all makes me want to plan a Halloween Party. I’m getting the itch.

Anyway! This last Monday my sister-in-law got us free admission into the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. She has an old friend from high school who works there and they hooked us up! It was so good to be there again after all these years. Especially in the heat we’ve been having lately. It’s always nice and cool inside the Aquarium.

giant seaweed

Here’s the picture I took of Bug standing by the Big Blue Cavern way back in 2008. I love that picture.

long time since we've been here

And here she is this last Monday. She’s not much taller but she sure has grown up. I feel like I have a teenager already. I wanted to recreate the same shot but it was way too crowded. Maybe we’ll try again in four years. Ha ha. Actually, I would totally go back again sooner than that I just don’t ever seem to find my way to Long Beach, which is silly since it is not that far away from us.

giant blue whale

My whole family came with us. My dad recently tore his rotator cuff and is out of work for at least three months. This is terrible news financially for my family (though he does have Workman’s Comp, thankfully) but great for the get-together-happiness of our family. We never see him because he’s a trucker and always on the road so this turn of events has him home all the time! It’s so great to have him around.

He can’t build me ottomans (dangit!) or help me load up my car with a giant piece of plywood for my latest bulletin board idea (crap) but he is around for fun family outings AND….get this: I convinced him to take basic html coding classes and he’s enrolled in an online course. He’s taking advantage of his time off to become my own personal web programmer! Just kidding, programming is something he’s always done and loved but I do have to admit I’m thinking selfishly of this skill. I always need dependable web coders.

whale architecture

Anyway it was super cool to wander around with the whole fan-damily. My Dad finds everything fascinating and it’s good for me to slow down and just let him and Bug dawdle.

Dad craning to see. around and around

moon jellies

The moon jellies were my favorite part. They are so beautiful and touchable!

they don't sting!

kitties love starfish

It’s funny how much touching changes an experience.

scaling the icy mountain

We’re not just walking eyeballs after all.

cool fish graphics

I personally loved the graphic design with my eyes. Pretty fish graphics! I’d love to try some kind of cut-out sculpture like this with my graphics for maybe say a book convention booth or something.

hello buddy

The cousins had a ball hanging out together as they always do. Bug wishes she had a sibling so bad. She and Superchic are like sisters, squabbling and all.


der dur, der dur, der dur...

making it rain

almost getting in trouble

Getting into trouble together…having adventures together…they are two peas in a pod.

getting sprayed

It's a Suki crab!

Super Chic

I don’t know why I didn’t take as many pictures of Rapunzel. I blame the bright pink flowered headband Super Chic borrowed from Bug. It just caught my camera’s eye. But Rapunzel was there, wearing some fabulous red lip stain. I caught it later on our whale watching trip.

mama lovin'

great blue cavern

scuba divers

riding the elevator to a top secret behind the scenes tour!

Later in the day CC’s friend took us on a brief behind the scenes tour. You can pay extra for an official behind the scenes tour but this personal tour was just as good. Probably not as long but very informational and interesting! I asked about a thousand questions. Like why do they need such a big giant elevator? Because they have to haul big sea creatures in it! Seriously, sea lions have ridden in this very same elevator. No, it didn’t smell.

gear dive stickers

back of the tanks

When we got up to the third floor this is what we saw. The backside of the aquariums! It was really noisy because thy have giant factory fans keeping everything cool.

Behind the scenes @aquariumpacific

Here’s an instagram of all of us behind the scenes.

behind the scenes

And another tour going on.

polar bear stamp

Then we left (getting stamped before leaving of course so we could go back later) and had some lunch.


At Bubba Gump’s of course. Not my favorite restaurant but good since it was right across the street and didn’t involve any driving or paying for new parking spots.

Queen Mary

After lunch (probably not a good decision) some of us went whale watching. I wasn’t supposed to go. I didn’t buy tickets ahead of time like my sister-in-law did but at the very last minute plans changed and she couldn’t go and Bug and Superchic decided they wanted nothing to do with boats or possible sea sickness.

I’ve shared a bit about Bug’s obsession with vomit. I’m sorry. I hope you aren’t eating your breakfast/lunch/dinner while you read this. If you are, just skip to the end. I’ve talked about her anxiety before and because of that one day back in kindergarten when three kids puked in one day, vomit or anything in anyway hinting at the subject is a major trigger for her. We’ve tried everything and while school is out her anxiety is totally manageable.

Going on a boat was NOT manageable for Bug’s anxiety. I get sea sick myself very easily so I was happy to let her skip the trip. However, we had these free tickets and they needed to be used. So we called Toby, thinking he could go with my nieces and I would stay on shore with Bug. Well, as usual, communication failed between Toby and I. He rearranged his work schedule, rushed through traffic and barely made it to the parking garage before the boat was scheduled to leave. My mom, Rapunzel and I decided we better get on the boat because it didn’t look like he was going to make it. Parking can take forever.

Amazingly, the boat waited for him. It was a moment right out of movie. Everyone on the boat was standing at the railing watching him as he ran from the parking garage, across the promenade and in the wrong direction towards the aquarium. We were all shouting at him and waiting in suspense to see if he would make it at the last minute.

AND THEN much to my horror, Toby decided that Bug needed to go with him. They have history over boating since this same thing happened several times on their camping trip this summer and Toby parents in the “tough-it-out” style that I don’t. So there I was on the second story of the boat watching this all go down but I couldn’t do a thing about it. I was too far away for him to hear me. I couldn’t explain that we’d already tried every trick in the book to get Bug on the boat so I had to watch him work her over again and all of her very public distress. It was terrible. The whole boat was watching. And then at one point he actually picked her up and tried to carry her kicking and screaming onto the gangway. Everyone on the boat was cheering her on but it didn’t help a bit. It probably made it worse for her.

Finally, it was perfectly clear to everyone, even Tough-Love Toby, that Bug was not going on the boat and he gave up. Or maybe the captain just started the boat and then he gave up. I don’t know. I just know it was a huge terrible ordeal and I just wanted to hide under my giant green purse. I felt like taking a bow and passing around a hat for tips. It was a scene.

leaving Long Beach

It’s a good thing the trip was three hours long because I needed to cool down. I needed some space. I wanted to comfort Bug but there was nothing I could do outside of jumping overboard and I knew she’d be okay in the long run. Toby isn’t a monster. He’s actually very empathetic. He just doesn’t always see parenting the same way I do and it gets us into trouble when we don’t communicate.


So off to whale watch we went. I took some dramamine (probably unwise as it made me drowsy for a whole day afterwards–ugh) and we made the best of it.

thar she blows!

We actually saw a lot of a mother and baby blue whale. It was amazing. I took about a thousand pictures that look exactly like this:


They don’t look like much on the screen but after the build-up of taking the boat out to find them and all the talking about it and anticipation, it is a HUGE deal. You get caught up in the excitement of the hunt and when you actually see this giant majestic creature, it is magical. Everyone was taking pictures galore. If you think my photos are boring you should see the guy next to me. He had his camera on sports-action mode and seriously took about 300 photos every time he saw the faintest little splash. Good times in editing for him.


You can thank me later for only sharing a few photos.

finally heading to calmer waters

It was fun except for the sea-sickness part. I got good and queasy but thankfully never lost my big lunch. I’m so glad Bug didn’t come with us. It would have been terrible. One little boy got sick and they they hosed it off and the spray got all over everyone. It was disgusting.

pretty water

You can imagine how happy I was to see the shore again. And poor Toby, he’d had three hours to figure out our miscommunication. He apologized profusely and I was long over it thanks to the exhausting boat trip. He took us out to dessert and we called it a day.


Parking Sculpture

Good Night Long Beach! We’ll skip the whale watching next time.


  • Sonja

    I don’t have a tendency to get sea sick, but when I went whale watching years ago, I did get really queasy. AND we saw no whales. Pffft!
    And now I have Boat Anxiety because I have two non-swimming children, so whale watching is not going to happen for us for a while.

  • bethany actually

    Yow, that sounds like it was a crazy ordeal! I’m glad for your and Toby & Bug’s sakes that you all had a nice long period to cool off.

    I’m sorry the Dramamine made you sleepy, though. Troy usually takes a half dose when he’s in rough waters. It works but doesn’t make him want a nap.

    So…I guess going on a Harbor Tour in with you guys in San Diego will not be on the agenda after we move back? :-)

  • Mary

    One of the few things I did in long beach was go was a nice day and we enjoyed walking around the lighthouse park nearby.

  • Hil

    Thankyou for sharing the bad with the good. It is hard to know when to push a kid and when to let it go. I’m glad you saw a whale!

  • Cathy

    My now 17 yo daughter developed a vomit phobia at a young age and still has it. I still hope she outgrows it but yeah, while we don’t have the tendency for seasickness, this reminds me to keep her off whale watching expeditions! The Aquarium looked like tons of fun tho!

  • OMSH

    I have always wanted to find ways to overcome the motion sickness I get. My dad had a sailboat when I was young and I always had to sit at the bow when it was choppy so the wind in my face could off-set the queasiness in my stomach. Later, we went deep sea fishing and I nearly puked the whole time, but kept a smile on my face because I truly WANTED to enjoy it.

    I’ve tried near sea fishing and all that – just can’t get beyond it.

    Even cars, when I’m not in the front seat, are difficult for drives. I’m the one looking like a dog with my head sticking out the window taking in the breeze to keep from heaving.

    If there was a magic cure I’d take it. There are many things I’d like to do that I don’t because it never ends up being pretty, no matter how hard I try.

  • Mrs. Wilson

    I need to get my girls to make these. My five-year-old has many worries, and both my girls LOVE to do crafts. I’m thinking this would make at least a day or two of the last two weeks of summer vacation fly by.