In defiance of the heat and humidity, we headed up the coast to Long Beach to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific. As its name suggests, the aquarium contains numerous exhibits primarily dedicated to different regions and ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean. It also features an aviary for the rainbow-hued, nectar-eating parrots known as lorikeets. We did not see them on this trip. But we did enjoy the Amber Forest exhibit, seen above, which shimmers with long, rippling stems of kelp.

There were many species of seahorses on display as well.

Peek-a-boo! Do you see the eel?

I became obsessed with the haunting moon jellies.  

And look at this striking Japanese Sea Nettle, with its long, pale arc of stinging tentacles! 

And here is an extraordinary Pacific Sea Nettle.

Here is a Blacktip Reef Shark, one of the denizens of the Shark Lagoon Exhibit: 

And to change things up a bit, here are some steelhead trout, from the Southern California Steelhead Story exhibit. According to the aquarium brochure, fewer than 500 steelhead remain in the wild. Once, masses of them traveled up the rivers of Southern California to spawn and then head back to the sea. 

Here are more of the jellies of varying ages and sizes, because I could not get enough of them!

And here is one small part of the glorious Tropical Pacific Gallery, which I should have taken more pictures of, but frankly we were so absorbed in the brilliant colors of the fish and coral that we forgot.

This aquarium is located near beautiful parks and shops and even a lighthouse and the Queen Mary. In fact, there was so much to see and do in and near the aquarium, we must return soon.

This was the perfect cure for the summer heat and torpor, a place to escape, to learn, and to float for a little while in bliss.




Yesterday, I took one look at the weather forecast for the inland Southwest and said, “Nope.”  So now we’ve altered our trip plans and will explore the parks in autumn instead.

I feel even more excited about this, as one reservation agent said fall is best for seeing wildlife.  And of course, fall color, which is legendary in the mountain West.  It’s also great elsewhere throughout the West, with lower elevations turning much later in the year.

So, some alterations.  The plus side?  Day trips and letting summer guide us, rather than the other way around.  I kicked that attitude off with a visit to the Little Italy Farmers Market, or Mercato, this morning.

It had been a few months since I had visited.  And so now it’s an explosion of summer fruits and veggies!
Flowers too…

Local mead and soda and jams…

And of course it would not be summer without stone fruits in particular!

Summer guides us now.  Local, fresh foods, sunny days, languid nights.  That’s a fair tradeoff, I do think.

Producers of these lovelies:

Jackie’s Jams

Susie’s Farm

Smit Farms

Superfood Coffee Co

Golden Coast Mead

Stay cool, everyone!