Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium and Cirque du Soleil invite the public to visit the Aquarium for free any Sunday in February.
In addition, Cirque du Soleil, as a part of its commitment to community involvement, will sponsor five field trip education programs, including bus transportation, to the Aquarium during the run of the show. For many, the field trip to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium marks the students’ first experience with the beach environment and observing marine life up close.
Cirque du Soleil is sponsoring free admission to the marine science center during public hours, from 12:30 to 5 p.m. The internationally known circus is performing its ode to the insect “OVO, ”under the Grand Chapiteau in the parking lot adjacent to the Aquarium and the Santa Monica Pier.
OVO is described as “immersion into the teeming world of insects.” Aquarium visitors will be immersed in the underwater world, gaining knowledge about the creatures of the Santa Monica Bay through hands-on, interactive exhibits of more than 100 species native to the Bay.
The free Sundays will in particular celebrate crustaceans – the ocean’s counterpart to insects on land – and as always, strive to inspire environmental stewardship for the benefit of all marine life.
In addition to the variety of crustaceans on exhibit, touch tanks at the Aquarium offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with sea stars, anemones, sea cucumbers and urchins. Moray eels, octopus, sharks, rays and a diverse number of fish species – all from the Santa Monica Bay – are displayed in habitat-specific exhibits. Moon jellies – some as large as dinner plates – mesmerize as well as educate. The Aquarium has its own nursery to raise these majestic oceanic drifters.
The Aquarium is located beach level, beneath the Santa Monica Pier, at 1600 Ocean Front Walk. More information is available at www.healthebay.org/smpa, or by calling 310-393-6149.