Home > Aquarium Blog > 25 Random Things About The Aquarium Of The Pacific

25 Random Things About The Aquarium Of The Pacific

Hugh's avatar

10 Year Anniversary Stories | Volunteering | Birds | Mammals

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Since the theme of “25 Random Things About Me” seems to be the “now” thing at social networking sites lately; this week’s blog is about 25 random things about the Aquarium of the Pacific that you may or may not have known.


1: The Aquarium is built on land reclaimed from the sea. Back in the 1950s this area was offshore of the old Pike Amusement Park roller coaster.

2: The pedestrian bridge over Shoreline Drive is actually made to look like the old Pike roller coaster.

3: Ellie the harbor seal’s real name is Elga. She is the only Atlantic harbor seal in the exhibit. Shelby and Troy, our other two seals, are of the Pacific species.

4: Ellie was born on May 16, 1989 at an East Coast zoological facility and will be 20 years old this year. She was named after an East Coast Socialite.

5: Ellie loves salmon! During Miller the sea lion’s big birthday bash a couple of years ago Ellie stole the big salmon that Miller received as a gift and kept it for herself.

6: Miller the sea lion is a rehabilitated animal. He was a distressed orphaned pup that was rescued from a San Diego beach in 1981.

7: Before coming to the Aquarium, Miller was a star performing sea lion at an amusement park in Orange County for many years. Linda, one of our original marine mammal volunteers used to work with Miller at the park. Linda treats Miller like royalty.

8: Miller loves to have his chest rubbed by a trainer.

9: Back in the early days of the Aquarium, to work with Miller a volunteer had to go through an intense tiered training and review process known as Miller 101, 102 and 103. 101 involved basic manners behaviors. 102 involved husbandry and basic skills behaviors. 103 involved advanced performing behaviors.

10: Three of the original Grand Opening Day marine mammal volunteers are still at the Aquarium working with the pinnipeds and other critters. Linda, Robin and I were there when the doors first opened to the public.

11: We’re known simply by the staff around the Aquarium as the “Saturday Crew’.

12: Rob, our assistant curator of mammals and birds is one of the original marine mammal staffers.

13: Rob’s favorite sea otter is Charlie. Charlie is world famous because he was the first sea otter in the world trained to give a voluntary blood sample. Rob helped train this behavior so I guess that makes him world famous too.

14: There is a video clip of one of our otters, Brook, dueling with a special effects added light saber.

15: The Aquarium has in its history participated in the rescue of a blue shark, green sea turtles, and a baby fin whale.

16: The “first” Aquarium animal was actually a cat named Topaz.

17: Topaz shares two cubicles and an office with staffers. One cubicle has his cat box and food. Another has his bed and the office is just where he likes to hang out to get away from it all.

18: Café Scuba has a neat view of the seal and sea lion exhibit.

19: There is a nesting pair of Western gulls that hang around the seal and sea lion exhibit year round. They actually nest on the rock work in the back of the exhibit near Café Scuba during the spring and summer.

20: The best place and time for guests to see our sea lions is in the underwater viewing tunnel under the exhibit just after the Aquarium opens in the morning. Several of our sea lions look forward to interacting with guests at the acrylic in the tunnel at that time.

21: There is a resident Coopers hawk that hangs around the aquarium keeping the pigeons on guard.

22: Oddest wild bird I’ve ever seen around the Aquarium was a burrowing owl.

23: Lola the cockatoo, one of the Aquarium’s program animals, is actually a male. When birds are young it is hard to tell if they are male or female so Lola’s previous owner mistakenly thought he was a she.

24: Other program animals at the Aquarium include a rescued opossum named Skittles who’s just learning how to be out in public. Skittles is the prettiest and classiest looking opossum I’ve ever seen.

25: There is a local TV News remote camera mounted on top of the Aquarium overlooking the seal and sea lion exhibit. Occasionally it’s pointed down at the exhibit but mostly it’s pointed out toward the river mouth to show the weather conditions.

<< Back

Your Comments

Have Something to Say? Leave a Comment!

Alexi Holford's avatar

Alexi Holford

Thursday, February 12, 2009 09:13 PM

I love this!

MarineDepot's avatar


Friday, February 13, 2009 05:34 PM

That was a fun and enlightening read, Hugh. Much more entertaining than a lot of the Facebook “25 Random Things” lists I’ve read from friends. Shhh… don’t tell them I said that. ;-)

default avatar


Wednesday, February 18, 2009 06:40 PM

I love this blog. I love learning about each of the marine mammal aquarium residents as individuals. Especially the harbor seals because when I visit the aquarium the harbor seals seem so shy. I’d imagine one would really have to spend some one on one time with the harbor seals to learn their personalities, and likes and dislikes.
Thank you, everyone at the aquarium, for taking such good care of Miller. He is amazing. I did the animal encounter with him at the end of last year. Miller and the trainers made that such an amazing experience. Miller is so intelligent. I am in awe of that wise old man.

Hugh's avatar


Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:16 PM

Hi Alexi,

Thanks for your kind comment.

Hi folks at Marine Depot,

Glad you found the list to your liking.


Hi Barrie,

I’m happy you noticed the seals. They’re such neat critters.
I’m also in awe of Miller. In the ten plus years I’ve known and worked with him he’s always impressed me with his intelligence and good nature.



default avatar


Monday, February 23, 2009 08:52 AM

Thank you, everyone at the aquarium, for taking such good care of Miller. He is amazing. I did the animal encounter with him at the end of last year. Miller and the trainers made that such an amazing experience. Miller is so intelligent. I am in awe of that wise old man.

Hugh's avatar


Monday, February 23, 2009 08:55 PM

Thank you for visiting with Miller.

default avatar


Tuesday, March 10, 2009 11:01 AM

I loved this, I want 25 more cool things!! Thanks for being such an awesome blogger!

Hugh's avatar


Saturday, March 14, 2009 08:26 AM

Hi Carley,

I’m actually thinking up 25 MORE random things about the Aquarium of the Pacific. There’s always so much going on at the Aquarium.

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

<< Back