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.