Betty’s favorite foods are shrimp, clams, and squid. She’s a little over a year old. She has brown hair, and her nickname is “Banshee,” because she wails when she doesn’t get her way. Named for Aquarium of the Pacific sponsor and legendary actress Betty White, she’s a recent addition to the aquarium’s BP Sea Otter Habitat. Betty was discovered in early 2012, a mere pup, without a mother. The staff at Aquarium of the Pacific nursed her back to health until October, when she was well enough to join her friends in the otter habitat. The otter habitat is just one of 19 habitats at Aquarium of the Pacific, which also includes 32 focus exhibits celebrating the diverse wildlife of the Pacific Ocean. In the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, more than 12 tuxedo-clad Magellanic penguins waddle around a rocky beach where guests can spy them nesting, eating, and practicing dance routines with Dick van Dyke, and a crawl space below their swimming pool provides a closer look at the birds as they go for a dip. Outside in Shark Lagoon, some 150-plus sand tiger, zebra, and whitetip reef sharks bare their menacing grins. But in the shallow touch pools, gentle bamboo and epaulette sharks discredit stereotypes by allowing visitors to pet them. For those more interested in the science of the sea, the Ocean Science Center helps visitors explore oceanic trends through its Science on a Sphere exhibit. The globe, a creation of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, measures six feet in diameter and displays films about subjects such as rising sea levels and the connection between ocean health and human health.
In the early 1960s, the Long Beach Kiwanis Club realized their community's history was slipping away, unpreserved. So they took matters into their own collective hands by founding the Historical Society of Long Beach with a museum in Bixby Knolls. The organization's staff went to work collecting photographs, documents, and other artifacts that chronicle Long Beach's past. To date, society members past and present have assembled around 27,000 photographic prints, 3,000 slides, and 1,400 volumes of newspapers covering events from as far back as 1897. The society also maintains a collection with maps, artifacts, and even interviews of notable citizens.
Rotating exhibits grant peeks into this historical collection. Historical Society of Long Beach also hosts special events, including an annual history tour of the city’s two oldest cemeteries, one of which is a favorite vacation spot for the world's richest ghosts, special conferences, and First Fridays.
During the Halloween season, Pa's Pumpkin Patch converts a small corner of Long Beach into an autumnal fun land that encompasses rides, carnival games, and pumpkin fields. On grounds decorated with cornstalks and scarecrows, kids whip around Pa's wild roller coaster and slip down the giant inflatable slide. They then jump on ponies for leisurely lopes and pet goats and baby chicks at the petting zoo. Between reflective strolls through the mirror maze and bounce time at the Halloween Kastle inflatable, kids can also win stuffed animals and toys at carnival games. Before calling it a day, families can sip and nibble seasonal treats at the snack bar and then pick up a pumpkin to take home, carve, and enter into contests such as the presidential election.