Under the Sea at the Aquarium of the Pacific

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No trip anywhere is complete without visiting the local aquarium. I love these places. They are so serene and transport you to an entirely different world, full of creatures from the deep you could never even dream up.

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Katie and Michael had headed off for their anniversary trip so to distract the kids we brought them with us to the aquarium. On the way there a rainbow appeared in the sky as we drove along and it was a sign this was going to be a great day!

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These kids love traveling around with their uncle Dan. He misses them so dearly throughout the year it's so lovely to see them all together again.

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Poor Tori was a bit scared of the giant fish that greeted you upon entry into the Aquarium. It was pretty terrifying. But I was so proud of how Dan talked her down and explained they weren't scary and in a few minutes with some encouragement from her brother, she was pressing her nose against the glasses chatting away to the fishies.

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The Aquarium of the Pacific sits along Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach. It features over 11,000 different fish, reptiles and other aquatic animals. The Pacific Ocean is the focus of three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.

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These Dragon Sea-horses are always a favourite of mine. Liam agreed.

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One of the kids' favourite parts was the giant whale sculpture that hangs above the entrance to all the different galleries.

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Tori giving a wolf eel a stern lecture about looking like an evil monster.

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The Shark Lagoon features 10,000-square-feet of water and houses within it over 150 sharks and rays. The main tank houses larger spec rays, whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and sand tiger sharks, while the more docile Bamboo and epaulette sharks live in the three touch pools but the kids didn't seem up to touching these creepy creatures just yet.

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We spent our time outside around the sharks playing in Explorer's Cover. We hid inside sea shells, sprayed Dan with water guns and played pirates on the high seas!

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We ventured into the Northern Pacific Gallery where we found some amazing jellyfish exhibits.

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What beautiful creatures

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These have got to be some of the most well behaved kids on earth. Even without their parents around, they never complained, always stayed close by and best of all, had just as much fun as Dan and I were having. It's a really nice thing to enjoy these "kid-friendly" activities just as much, if not more, as them.

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Liam loved pointing out all the different fish he wanted me to take pictures of. I can't wait till he's old enough to man the camera himself - I can't wait to see the beautiful pictures he takes! He is so creative and was even art directing the photos as we took them ;)

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Obviously the "Nemo" fish were a big hit.

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This little guy was one of Liam's favourite fish. Took awhile to get a good shot of him but we did it. And how cool is he?! I wish I could remember what type of fish he was but alas, I can't figure it out.

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Dan posing in front of the stingrays.

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We ended the day with grilled cheese sandwiches and cool glasses of milk. Not a bad way to end any day.

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There is something very magical about aquariums. I never get sick of going to see them. But there is something even more magical about seeing with through the eyes of children and knowing you still have the same sense of wonder as they do about things. Makes me feel young at heart.

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