Meet the Locals

Do you know your neighbors in the Bay?

Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is an intimate, marine education center displaying more than 100 species of animals and other ocean organisms typical of the Santa Monica Bay just outside its doors. At just under 5,000 square feet, the Aquarium’s exhibits include tanks as small as 15 gallons and as large as 2,200. 

California moray eels greet visitors from their rocky reef home just inside the facility’s entrance; you can get a salty spray from the swell sharks in the open shark tank and check out the Kids’ Corner to view their pups - pint-sized replicas on exhibit alongside egg casings containing live, unborn swell sharks still developing. Across the main gallery floor, the sea jelly exhibit in the Pollution Corner mesmerizes, while its companion exhibit of floating plastic informs about the hazards plastic pose for ocean animals.

To get a good look at the microscopic food some of our animals are fed, be sure to peer through a microscope in the science lab. Feel the heft of a gray whale’s rib bone in the Green Room, one of the artifacts displayed in our classroom setting named for Heal the Bay's founding president, Dorothy Green. Get your hands wet for a hug from a spiny sea urchin in one of three touch tanks that are the main gallery’s centerpiece.  The urchins share space with a variety of crabs, sea anemones, snails and other mollusks while touch tanks on either side include colorful sea stars, sea hares, sea cucumbers and a variety of other tidepool animals found in the Santa Monica Bay.

Friendly, knowledgeable staff and volunteers are eager to discuss the animals and issues that have an impact on their habitats, enriching the hands-on experience and inspiring visitors to environmental stewardship.

Our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium this month has unveiled a very special exhibit:  the endangered tidewater goby. We are only one of two aquaria where the public can see this special local species. Aquarium Operations Manager Jose Bacallao writes a…
Halloween always goes by too quickly for kids. There’s all that time deciding what you want to be, then there’s assembling the costume and all for one night of trick-or-treating. It’s enough to make a goblin grumpy.
Halloween Parade pals Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Dia de los Muertos costume
A few years ago, a blind date took me to see The Cove, thinking it would be a good conversation starter considering my love of the ocean. As it turned out, my bawling got in the way of any conversation.  Needless to say, there wasn't a seco…
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Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium joins more than 1,800 museums nationwide in offering free admission to military personnel and their families this summer. In collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the …
Blue Star Museums Program
Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium saw more than 1500 people over the weekend. Visitors bounced between beach cleanups, the BlueGreen festival, and our expo of sustainable innovation held on the Pier deck and the Aquarium -- here face painting…
Heal the Bay Santa Monica Pier Aquarium BlueGreen Erik Abel Golden Road
One of the first changes Heal the Bay made 10 years ago when becoming owners of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium was to retire an underutilized gift shop in the Aquarium, converting the space into the Kids’ Corner.
The Night the Octopus Flooded Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year on the federal holiday marking Dr. King’s birthday, Americans celebrate his legacy by working together to serve our neighbors…
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