Meet Catheryn

Welcome to my blog. Follow along as we explore alI there is to see and do in SoCal including travel, events, food and all things autism friendly. 

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Autism Friendly Aquarium of the Pacific

Autism Friendly Aquarium of the Pacific

Autism Friendly Aquarium of the Pacific

Have you taken your child to the Aquarium of the Pacific yet? Think it might be too overwhelming for them? I have a few tips and areas that you might find to be your child's favorite for sensory fixes and provide them with a calming experience as well. 

Touch tank inside the aquarium.

Touch tank inside the aquarium.

It's funny, we are at all the large theme parks on a regular basis, but given the option, my daughter who has autism would pick the aquarium over them all any day.

Read my tips and be sure to enter the giveaway for a 4 pack of tickets that have been graciously provided by The Aquarium of the Pacific to help in celebrating my blog's anniversary!

Feeding her new little friend in the Lorikeet Forest

Feeding her new little friend in the Lorikeet Forest

Here are our top spots to get our sensory "YaYa's" out at the Aquarium of the Pacific:

  • The Lorikeet Forest. My daughter loves the birds and feeding them. This experience can be a bit frightening to some so have them watch from the outside first. The birds are tame and if you buy the sugar liquid they will come right up to you (and in some cases on you) to feed. 

  • The Shark Lagoon. Hands down (no pun intended) my girls favorite. The water and the silky texture of the rays and sharks makes for a calming and sensory friendly experience. Be sure to use 2 fingers only.

  • The Moon Jellies. Another sensory fix area, but be sure to coach your children to use only 2 fingers and touch the tops very gently.

  • The Starfish touch tank. This area inside can get very busy but the same principals are used as with touching the jellies. 2 fingers very gently. There are an array of sea animals to be seen and touched under the shallow water.

  • The Sea Lions. Outside in the large tanks the sea lion area has stadium seating allowing you to sit and relax while watching the animals play. The perfect area to take a break.

  • Your child feel more calm in a stroller, take it! The aquarium is small but with that it can get crowded.

  • Oh and there is a splash pad outside by the Shark Lagoon, so might be a good idea to bring a change of clothes.

Autism Friendly Aquarium of the Pacific  (c) Cleverly Catheryn

Here are a few general tips for your visit:

  • Purchase your tickets in advance to bypass the ticket window.

  • Best time to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific? If you can, get there right when they open or wait till later in the afternoon as many schools have their field trips there, it will take you about 2 hours to go thru the entire aquarium with the exemption of any shows. Weekends can be busy especially if there is a special event happening.

  • Best way to transition out of the Aquarium? The entry doors are also the only exit. If transitioning is an issue for your child get the attention of any Aquarium staff member and explain your situation (that you need an alternate way to exit) they can quickly summon security personnel to escort you via another exit without delay. This way you do not have to pass through the main mezzanine and past the gift shop which can be distracting and busy with people coming in.

  • If you are gong to feed the Lorikeets, check the sign as to when they have been fed last, many times they are full and won't drink. The area also closes early so plan accordingly 10:30 a.m till 4:30 p.m.

All of the fish and jellies exhibits are wonderfully calming to my daughter and normally override any issues she has with auditory distractions due to crowds but if you feel it would be an issue, bring headphones. The aquarium also offers special evenings dedicated to Autism, their Special Needs events dates for the rest of this year and beyond are: 

Autism Families Night November 13, 2016 from 6-9 pm

Dates in 2017: Jan 28-29: Festival of Human Abilities

March 19 (Sunday 6:00pm -9:00pm): Autism Families Night

April 23 (Sunday 6:00-9:00pm): Abilities Night

Nov 12 (Sunday 6pm-9pm): Autism Families Night

When was the last time you visited the Aquarium of the Pacific? Enter below for a chance at winning 4 tickets to take the family! 

A huge thanks to the Aquarium of the Pacific for all they do for our special needs kids and for supporting this giveaway. Looking forward to the improvement starting next year to the facility. Pacific Visions, a new wing opening at the Aquarium of the Pacific, will be the most powerful educational platform for communicating the challenges and opportunities of the World Ocean.

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