Long Beach, Calif.—The Aquarium of the Pacific invites you to celebrate the beauty and diversity of cultures and wildlife from Central and South America and beyond in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month through its annual Baja Splash festival. For the first time in its nineteen-year history, the Aquarium’s Baja Splash Cultural Festival will be held as a virtual event and will be free to everyone. This year’s festival honoree is TreePeople CEO Cindy Montañez. The public is invited to watch the award ceremony online, in which the Aquarium will present its Heritage Award to Montañez for her commitment to environmental justice and climate resilience. The Baja Splash Festival will also include animal appearances, traditional music and dance, education programs, crafts, and other programming. The Baja Splash kickoff event will take place on Friday, September 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the Baja Splash Cultural Festival takes places on Saturday, September 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Latin American folk dancers, Aztec dancers, a musician, and others will share traditional songs and dances from their countries on the Saturday of the virtual festival. This includes an interactive music program with Martin Espino called Sounds of Central and South America. You can also enjoy Animal Meet-and-Greets with a South American penguin, Bolivian bird, frogs, tortoise, and snake and see marine life through the Aquarium’s live webcams. You can tune into the festival award ceremony at 3:15 p.m. to hear from Montañez. She is a lifelong Los Angeles resident who began her community activism as a candy striper for a local hospital at the age of 12. Later she was part of the historic hunger strike at the University of California, Los Angeles, her alma mater, an event that led to the creation of the Cesar Chavez Department of Chicano/a Studies. She was elected the youngest mayor of her hometown of San Fernando at age 25, and then became the youngest person to be elected to the California Legislature. Today, she serves as CEO of TreePeople, one of Los Angeles’ largest environmental movements. TreePeople is dedicated to inspiring people to care for their environment in order to create greener, more sustainable communities for everyone.
During the Baja Splash Kickoff on Friday, September 25, younger children can join an Aquarium educator at 9:00 a.m. to count in Spanish. This class called Contando en el Mar (Counting in the Ocean) is part of the Aquarium’s Online Academy and will highlight Baja animals in celebration of the festival. At 10:00 a.m. join an Aquarium educator for a bilingual class (English/Spanish) where you will learn how to make a crab hat you can wear at home during the festival. Starting at 11:00 a.m. and then available on demand, learn how to make a water drum and other traditional musical instruments from household items with Martin Espino to be ready to play along with him during Saturday’s festivities.
To enjoy the Baja Splash Kickoff and Festival, you can visit the Aquarium’s website at aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/baja_splash_cultural_festival/.
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 12,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include Shark Lagoon, the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, Lorikeet Forest, and the Molina Animal Care Center. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, including lectures by leading scientists, through its Online Academy. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits. NOTE: ONLY OUTDOOR AREAS ARE CURRENTLY OPEN. Convenient parking is available for $8 with Aquarium validation.