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.

This week Chile joined the ranks of the many nations that have banned the practice of shark finning. Shark finning is a brutal process. Sharks' fins are sliced off and the sharks are then thrown back overboard where they bleed to death, are eaten by …
Shark - Credit: Stormydog via Flickr
Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium joins more than 1,000 museums across the country this summer as a member of Blue Star Museums, a program offering free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial D…
US Flag
While many are preparing to take a field trip this spring, Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is ready to help teachers plan their field trips for the 2011-2012 school year. Reservation books open April 1st and if past years are any indicati…
Teaching plankton net use
Heal the Bay is looking for people to join our Angler Outreach Team! This group of dedicated people spends their days on local piers talking to fishermen about the importance of avoiding contaminated fish. The national EPA recently awarded the progra…
white croaker sign
Finescale Triggerfish The Finescale Triggerfish (Balistes polylepis) is the latest resident of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium’s Beneath the Pier exhibit. Triggerfish are usually associated with tropical water, but their range stretches from San Fra…
finescale triggerfish
Editor’s note: Nick Fash is one of two teachers at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. He and colleague Aaron Kind educate as many as 600 students in a week. Nick chronicles a day in the life of an Aquarium education specialist.
Aquarium Classroom
Ecosystems are fragile. They depend on very intricate foodwebs (rather than the foodchains described in older biology books) that thrive on balance. Unfortunately, people can have very real, and unintentional, impacts on the environment around us. To…
bluefin tuna
Take a minute to visit the Wall Street Journal and vote in today's poll on whether or not plastic bags should be banned. The accompanying article talks about the numerous cities in California that have banned bags, and whether this city-by-city appro…
Plastic bags
This post was guest-written by Aaron Kind, our education specialist at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Aaron runs our Aquarium's lecture series. Here, he writes about an innovative new addition to that program.
Sea Stars inspire an artist during Artists' Night at the Aquarium
Did you know that we have orcas, or killer whales, in our Bay? A pod of orcas was spotted last weekend outside of King Harbor hunting dolphin. Onlookers believed that a set of parents was teaching a calf to hunt. Orcas are spotted off our coast very …
Orcas in SM Bay
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