May 22, 2014
This summer, the Aquarium is debuting many new exhibits and programs that give visitors up-close experiences with the animals and a look at what goes on behind the scenes at the Aquarium. Visitors also have the opportunity to learn more about conservation of endangered species. As part of the Summer of Wonder, the larger of the two touch pools in Shark Lagoon is now home to several dozen bonnethead sharks and cownose rays. Also in Shark Lagoon, a new aviary houses a breeding pair of Guam Kingfishers. These colorful birds are extinct in the wild. They were nearly wiped out by an invasive species of snake accidentally introduced on the island of Guam during World War II. The remaining birds are now in a breeding program managed by zoos and aquariums, with the hope of one day releasing them back into the wild. The new aviary was funded in part by donations from Aquarium staff members. During the month of June, watch our penguins walk through the Northern Pacific Gallery daily at 10:00 a.m.
The Molina Animal Care Center now features two new exhibits that illustrate the connection between marine life and human health care. Visitors can touch horseshoe crabs and learn how horseshoe crab blood is used to test all intravenous drugs and medical devices for bacterial contamination. Also, an exhibit of corals and sponges demonstrates the promise for pharmaceuticals that could be discovered in the ocean. In a new partnership, the Aquarium will send tissue samples from this exhibit to researchers at City of Hope to test them for potential cancer cures.
Several interactive experiences for visitors are offered during Summer of Wonder. Kids will be able to build and test a mini underwater sub. Aquarium visitors have the chance to see members of the husbandry staff at work behind the scenes via wireless video streamed to an iPad. A cutting-edge 3D microscope installed in the Wonders of the Deep gallery displays live, locally collected plankton in striking three dimensions.
A new permanent exhibit, Southern California Steelhead Story showcases a local fish species and its resilience in the face of droughts and increased human infrastructure. It also highlights the changes that rainbow trout undergo to become steelhead and migrate from freshwater to saltwater habitats.
In addition, new films about Southern California steelhead and behind-the-scenes at the Aquarium play daily.
Visit the Aquarium this summer to experience all of the new exhibits and programs during Summer of Wonder.