Jellyfish Exhibit Long Beach

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Jellies: Phantoms of the Deep at the Long Beach Aquarium

Written by Scott Messmore

New for this summer season at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific is Jellies: Phantoms of the Deep, an exhibit about the different types of jellyfish found in the Earth's oceans. Jellyfish are amazing creatures that have survived more than 650 million years of Earth's history and can be found in every ocean and sea. There are roughly 200 jellyfish species but not one of them has a spine or even a brain. They are related to both coral and sea anemones, but they can be beautiful creatures full of color and wildly varying shapes. The Moon Jelly can be found in large swarms of other jellyfish that feed on plankton. Lion Jellies have tentacles sometimes longer than a whale, while Umbrella Jellies are only an inch wide and can survive from the waters of Santa Barbara to Alaska and the Bering Sea. Jellyfish move through the ocean waters with pulsating bodies that are comprised of 95 percent water, protein and mineral salts. Jellyfish can be as small as a pencil eraser or have tentacles that reach 100 feet from their squishy bodies. Of the 200 jellyfish species, 70 of them produce stinging cells that will sting a human being. Small poison filled cells are ejected when a jellyfish comes into contact with another organism. For all of their delicate appearances, jellyfish are predators of shrimp and other small marine animals, using their stinging ability to stun their potential meals.

Jellyfish Exhibit

The Phantoms of the Deep exhibit has several interesting areas to explore. Perhaps the most interesting is the Sting-O-Meter, a safe way to see how it feels to be stung by the tentacles of different jellyfish species. The Plankton Station will teach you about jellies favorite meal and the By the Wind Sailor shows how this species uses surface winds to move on the ocean surface. The insides and make up of jellyfish are shown in Bubble Trouble, a replica of a jellyfish. Every day visitors can play Jelly Jeopardy with questions about how jellies live, eat and survive in the world's oceans. Jelly Jeopardy lasts 20 minutes and is held in the Marine Life Theater for the entire summer. Two-hour preschool programs are available title Jiggling Jellies to teach four and five year old children about jellyfish. Each class offers the chance to touch live marine creatures, a craft project and story time. Cost is $18 per child and reservation is available at 888-826-7257.

Hours of Operation and Location

Jellies: Phantoms of the Deep is starting this June at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. The aquarium is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Christmas Day and the weekend of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Admission is: adults, $14.95; seniors older than 60, $10.25; children three to 11 years, $7.95. Behind the scenes tours of the aquarium are now available every day. Tours are $15 per person and need to be bought with aquarium admission.

For more information about the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, call 562-437-FISH.

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