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Southern California/Baja Gallery

Representing a Diverse Marine Environment in 18 Exhibits

pair of sea lions

Lorikeet Forest, June Keyes Penguin Habitat, and several So Cal Baja Gallery focus exhibits are temporarily closed.

Extending 800 miles from Oregon to Mexico, California’s coastal waters include a variety of ecosystems, animals, and temperatures. Beyond the most southwestern point of the United States, extending along the coast of Mexico to the Sea of Cortez, is the Baja Peninsula.

The Baja coast includes warm bays and lagoons, mangrove forests, and giant kelp forests. Because of the diversity of habitats found along the coast, a large variety of species are found within California and Baja California waters, many of which are featured in the Aquarium’s Southern California/Baja Gallery.

The Southern California/Baja Gallery represents this diverse marine environment in 18 exhibits. At the entrance of the gallery is the impressive Honda Blue Cavern. This 142,000-gallon, three-story high exhibit stands at the end of the Aquarium’s Great Hall of the Pacific and features ocean inhabitants found off the coast of Catalina Island. Entering the gallery, one is greeted by the Amber Forest. Featuring a beautiful bed of giant swaying kelp, this exhibit offers a glimpse of the colorful garibaldi (California’s state fish), giant spined sea stars, California scorpionfish, and many other examples of local Southern California ocean life.

Also in the Southern California/Baja Gallery is the 211,000 gallon Seal and Sea Lion Habitat. The Aquarium’s Gulf of California exhibit features some of the variety of one of the most biologically productive and diverse seas in the world. It includes unique species of butterflyfishes, and large silvery fish called Mexican lookdowns. Guests may also enjoy the Ray Touch Pool, and Shorebird Sanctuary, and Wetlands exhibits, and many more in this rich gallery highlighting Southern California’s coastline!

Entrance to Southern California Baja Gallery showing the Blue Cavern exhibit in the background.

The entrance to the Southern California/Baja Gallery is located at the rear of the Great Hall of the Pacific. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific/Andrew Reitsma

Blue Cavern tank with people in front

The Honda Blue Cavern exhibit is modeled after a popular dive spot at Santa Catalina Island. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific/Andrew Reitsma

Seal and pup

Shelby, one of the Aquarium's harbor seals, gave birth to a female pup in April 2012. Credit: Robin Riggs/Aquarium of the Pacific

People reaching into ray touchpool

The ray touch pool at the Aquarium is located outdoors on the second floor. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific

Fish and kelp in exhibit

The Amber Forest exhibit features plants and animals native to kelp forests. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific/Andrew Reitsma

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