Aquarium of the Pacific celebrates its 10th year
A decade ago the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach was awash in complaints of overcrowded rooms, lousy food and boring exhibits. But not anymore, The Times' Louis Sahagun reports:
The aquarium ranks among the most popular in the nation in attendance, pulling in 1.4 million people a year from throughout Southern California. Aquarium revenues in 2007 were about $39 million, a 26% increase over 2006. Overall, its economic effect in Los Angeles and Orange counties has been about $1 billion, city officials said.
"This aquarium is on the younger side," said Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, "but they are definitely among the biggest and the best."
The aquarium now aims to become a center for teaching the virtues of watershed preservation and offshore aquaculture.
"I'm impressed with all the public outreach they do," said Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. "To have such a resource at the edge of one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas is wonderful."
More than 12 million people have visited the facility, which was built during a nationwide boom in aquarium construction in the 1990s.
Sahagun's story also has a video and photo gallery.
-- Francisco Vara-Orta
Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times