This new exhibit highlights the largest of the world's seahorses and the only one found along the California coast. Watch seahorses swim gracefully along vertically through the water column, pectoral fins fluttering and prehensile tails curled majestically.
In the center of the Aquarium’s gallery three touch tanks feature more than 30 species common to the rocky shores. Gentle touching is encouraged at this interactive, hands-on exhibit displaying sea stars, crabs, sea urchins, snails, giant kelp and sea cucumbers.
This open-top exhibit allows for up close viewing of our horn sharks and swell sharks. While these sharks tend to be less active during the day, the best time to watch these animals moving about in their exhibit is during our Shark Sundays, when we have an educational presentation followed by a shark feeding.
Our largest tank, the 2,200-gallon Pier Exhibit gives you a glimpse of the animals that live right under the Santa Monica Pier. Check out the enormous ochre sea stars, perch, kelp bass, leopard sharks, California halibut, round and thornback rays.
Kelp Forest Habitat Exhibit
This exhibit houses a large and diverse community of animals that can be found along the edges of the kelp forest. See the kelpfish, blackfish, and various species of rockfish hanging out and swimming through several varieties of beautiful kelp of California.
Rocky Reef Habitat Exhibit
Get eye to eye with one of the ocean’s most misunderstood and mysterious fish, the moray eel. In addition to the eels, this subtidal Rocky Reef Exhibit is home to the lobsters, a few species of sea stars and crabs and wavy top snails.
Sandy Bottom Habitat Exhibit
The sandy bottom in this exhibit moves and shifts as dozens of sand dollars, crabs, moon snails and armored sand stars battle for position, food and a place to hide. Perch and flatfish swim in and out of surfgrass while white sea urchins can be found walking around the exhibit.
Tidal Surge Exhibit
This exhibit replicates tidal surges along the rocky shore habitat. Visitors can watch the water rise and fall approximately every five minutes. Among the animals displayed in this exhibit are several species of fish, sea stars, anemones and striped shore crabs.
Pollution Corner and Sea Jelly exhibit
The sea jelly exhibit, filled with majestic moon jellies, represents the open ocean environment. Next to this exhibit is a tank filled with floating plastic bags, demonstrating how marine debris mimics animals’ natural food. Animals in the ocean mistakenly ingest the floating plastic often resulting in death; this exhibit is a visual representation of this increasing problem. A three-dimensional, interactive mural along the pollution corner walls ties the urban environment to the open ocean, illustrating the human impact on the environment along the way.
The Kids’ Corner section of the marine education center features a series of six jewel tanks designed to showcase a variety of organisms that can change from season to season, reflecting the Bay’s population distribution at a given time of year. Wrap-around cushioned benches are a great place to sit with your favorite budding marine biologist to read from our collection of marine themed books, or to watch an impromptu puppet show in the kid-sized puppet theater.