Youth Theatre – The Hundred Dresses in Santa Monica

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Theatre is a great way to give children life lessons and experiences in a way that keeps them interested and captivated. Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre does this through their Youth Education/Entertainment Series. Also called Y.E.S., the series offers four youth productions each year and one full-length Youth Musical each November/ December; performances are on Saturdays and Sundays. Most Y.E.S. shows are selected to support national and local school reading lists.

Next in the series is The Hundred Dresses, a timeless tale about the power of words and finding the courage to stand up to others. Wanda Petronski just wants to join the fun of having friends like everyone else. But in 1930’s small town America, a Polish immigrant doesn’t easily fit in. When Maddie’s best friend Peggy starts to tease Wanda, Maddie knows it isn’t right. When the teasing doesn’t stop and the Petronskis move to get away from the town’s prejudices, Maddie is wracked with guilt. She soon realizes that allowing her friend to be a bully can be just as bad as acting that way herself. Determined not to let her fear get the best of her again, Maddie braves the scorn of her classmates and stands up to them, making an unlikely friend in the process.
The Hundred Dresses is showing Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am, January 30th through February 14th, 2016. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit www.morgan-wixson.org.

Deal alert: Print this coupon before you go for a FREE snack from the concession stand! Valid until 2/14/2016. 

Everything You Need to Know About Winter Fest 2015

(Disclosure: My family was offered free admission to this event to check it out. We were not required to share our thoughts, but I thought it might be helpful to share our experience with those who are on the fence about going.)

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Winter Fest opened last night, Friday December 18th with mixed reviews. I attended with my family and though at first I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the night unfolded we ended up having a really amazing time. If you’re still on the fence about going, here’s everything you need to know before you decide.

Admission

Tickets are priced different. Monday through Friday adults are $20 and children are $10, when bought online. On Saturday and Sunday the tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. At the gate all tickets are $5 more.

Save more money by buying your tickets online in advance and use the promo code “REINDEER” for an extra $5 off each ticket.

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Activities

Here is what you get just for the price of admission:

  • Coupon for 1 free ride and 1 free carnival game
  • Unlimited ice tubing at Snow Summit (must be 42″ or taller)
  • Entry to one of two bounce house for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting (5:30pm)
  • Intermittent snowfall (Check with a staff member for times)
  • A few simple Christmas themed crafts
  • Model train display
  • Photo opps (walk-through ornament, Christmas tree, cut-out photo stands, great decorations)
  • Daily and nightly entertainment throughout the event

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Here is what you have to pay extra for:

  • Unlimited ride wristband ($20 when purchased online)
  • Ride tickets (if you don’t do the wristband)
  • Carnival Games
  • Pictures with Santa
  • Face Painting
  • Caricatures
  • Ice Skating ($15 per person, plus $5 for skate assistance if needed)
  • Snow Summit fast pass ($10)
  • Food and drink

Food

There are limited food options at the event. I counted eight food (not dessert) stands, five or six dessert/snack places and one sit-down restaurant. I am not sure their stance on bringing in your own food and drink, but it might be worth looking into if you’d like to keep the cost down. You can also show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at The Triangle for some awesome freebies, so you might want to consider eating there. More info on that here.

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The types of food I noticed were pizza, chicken wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs, BBQ, tacos/nachos, and rice bowls.

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The sit-down restaurant is a fun ski lodge theme, and a great choice for a family meal.

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Desserts were ice cream, candied nuts, various cookies, cupcakes and cake pops, cotton candy, kettle corn and more.

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Nightly Snowfall

The nightly snowfall is to the left of The Hangar building as you’re facing it, and to the right of the Rice Bowls stand. The snow comes on intermittently throughout the night, and also during the Christmas Tree lighting. Be sure to stand on that side of the tree during the ceremony to be close to the snow.

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Time and Money Spent

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if it’s “worth it” to go. Here’s my time and money breakdown, and I’ll leave it to you to decide the value of a nice night out. Parking is $7 – cash only. For the average-sized family, I would give yourself around four hours to experience the event. It was not crowded on the night we went, but between the carnival rides and games, Snow Summit, reindeer feeding, bounce houses, model trains, crafts, and eating dinner, it took around that much time to experience everything. We could have kept on riding down Snow Summit, but it was getting late. If you buy the discounted online admission for a weeknight, it’s only $40 for two adults and two children over the age of 4. I recommend the unlimited ride wristbands for the kids ($20 each), and if you have a few snacks and drinks there, expect to pay around $120 total for a fun evening with your family. If you decide to ice skate, have some beers, or get a pic with Santa, you’ll have to add a little more to your budget.

Personally, we had the most fun tubing and riding the carnival rides. It felt like a smaller and more intimate version of the fair to me, and I really liked that it wasn’t crowded. For families with very small children I am not sure it would be the best event for you, but if you have kids between 5 and 10 years old, I think you would really enjoy a night (or day) at Winter Fest OC. The biggest complaint I’ve heard was the cost, but I think it’s possible to enjoy the event without spending too much as long as you’re prepared!

 

Does Winter Fest OC sound like something your family will experience this year? Did you already visit? What did you think?

 

 

Winter Fest Freebies at The Triangle in Costa Mesa!

Are you planning on going to Winter Fest? The Triangle has some fun freebies to make an exciting day out even more fun!

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Before or after your visit to the snowy fun, show your same-day Winter Fest tickets at the following spots in The Triangle for your freebies!

  • Creamistry: ticket holders can receive 10% off an ice cream order, or one free topping.
  • H2O Sushi & Izakaya: one complimentary appetizer per party, with a purchase of $20 or more.
  • La Vida Cantina: enjoy one complimentary appetizer or dessert per table, excluding seafood appetizers.
  • Saddle Ranch Chop House: ticket holders can receive one complimentary Cotton Candy Tower dessert and a complimentary bull ride with any purchase (one each per table)
  • Tavern + Bowl: receive a free shoe rental and/or a complimentary appetizer with the purchase of an entrée when you show same-day Winter Fest tickets

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The Triangle is located in the heart of Costa Mesa, just moments from the OC Fair & Events Center. The 200,000 square foot lifestyle center offers popular dining, entertainment and services, including a convenient car wash on the first level of the parking structure. The Triangle is conveniently located at the end of the 55 Freeway, where Newport Blvd., Harbor Blvd. and 19th Street intersect. The center offers seven levels of free parking, as well as a Valet on the first level near Tavern + Bowl. For more information on The Triangle, follow them on Facebook or visit their website!

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Winter Fest is Coming to the OC Fair & Event Center

Winter is coming to the OC Fair & Event Center! Absolute Event Solutions (AES) is bringing something new and different to the OC with an all-new holiday spectacular, Winter Fest. The inaugural event will be a whimsical winter wonderland for Southern California residents that features unlimited ice tubing, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, festive entertainment, ice skating, VIP rink-side cabanas, live reindeer, a nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall, seasonal-themed eateries, libations, a carnival and much more.

Winter Fest will begin each morning with a snow-capped opening moment led by resident master magician, Jimmy H.  The fun and entertaining Chainsaw Chicks will also be at Winter Fest, carving out fantastic ice sculptures while engaging the crowd with their unbridled charm. Additional live entertainment includes local bands, strolling carolers, and performances by community organizations from around Orange County.

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Worried about the weather? Many of the Winter Fest attractions are inside buildings throughout the fairgrounds, so they can be enjoyed even in the rain!

In the Winter Fest Promenade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage options in a holiday atmosphere. Family-friendly dining will also be available in the Slippery Slope Ski Lodge (known as Baja Blues Restaurant during the OC Fair), featuring a ski-lodge vibe with holiday-themed cuisine and drinks, mountain décor, nightly live entertainment, and staff decked out in ski gear.

At the end of the Winter Fest Promenade stands a 30-foot Christmas tree, where you can gather around sundown at 5:30 p.m. for a heartwarming tree lighting ceremony with snowfall. Near the beautiful Christmas tree will be two of Santa’s reindeer, available for viewing and feeding!

Adults will love the Mistletoe Lounge, which will be offering holiday-themed cocktails, international craft beers, and comfortable seating amid the holiday décor and entertainment of the Winter Fest Promenade.

Tickets for Winter Fest for Monday through Friday start at only $10 online, $15 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $20 online, $25 onsite for adults. Ticket Prices Saturday and Sunday are $15 online, $20 onsite for children age 4 – 11, and $25 online, $30 onsite for adults.  Children 3 and under are free.  Purchasing tickets online is highly encouraged to not only save money but also ensure the desired event date is not sold out.

Ticket prices include admission to event, plus the following activities:

  • Unlimited ice tubing down Snowflake Summit
  • One complimentary carnival ride
  • One complimentary carnival game
  • Entry to bounce houses for kids
  • Reindeer viewing and feeding
  • Access to the world’s largest walk-through ornament
  • Nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony with snowfall
  • Craft making and games for kids
  • Daily & nightly entertainment

Not included in admission, but available to purchase onsite for $15 per person, is access to the 6,000 square foot ice skating rink inside the Hangar building! Beloved holiday films will be projected onto a theater-sized screen in the background of the rink for skaters to enjoy as they glide across the ice. Santa has even transported several sleighs from his collection to the Hangar building, and they will be on display for the first time ever at Winter Fest.

Elegant rink-side VIP cabanas will also be available for only $99 per session while they last, and accommodate 2 – 10 people but can adapt to fit parties of up to 100. The VIP cabanas offer exclusive menus with seasonally inspired food, cocktails, a private ice rink entrance and private servers. VIP cabanas are perfect for groups, parties, or a date with a loved one.

Can’t get enough winter fun? Adult season passes for unlimited admission into to all 17 days and nights of Winter Fest are available for $45 advance and online (limited supply); children’s season passes (ages 4-11) are available for $25 advance and online (limited supply).

For more information on Winter Fest and to purchase tickets, visit www.WinterFestOC.com.

 

Holidays are Jolly at Aquarium of the Pacific Holiday Treats Festival

The Aquarium of the Pacific has another great event coming up this weekend! The animals at the aquarium get to celebrate Christmas early as Santa dons a SCUBA suit to drop off treats for everyone! Santa will be visiting penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, birds, fish, and even swimming with sharks this weekend, December 5th and 6th at the Holiday Treats festival!

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The animals are not the only ones celebrating, though! Families in attendance can meet and greet penguins up close, see Santa Diver in action, and take photos with Santa in his traditional attire as well as with some holiday costumed characters.

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The festival will also feature Hanukkah storytelling and dreidel activities, holiday music, crafts, shopping, gingerbread house displays and more! To top it all off, snow will fall in the Aquarium’s Great Hall and guests can enjoy a snow play area on the front lawn (weather dependent).

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The Aquarium Holidays celebration will continue through December 24 with snow falls in the Great Hall, Santa Diver, and character appearances daily and music, penguin walks, visits from Santa, and the snow play area on weekends

For program times, head over to the Aquarium Holidays website.

The Holiday Treats Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, December 5th and 6th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is included in regular admission prices. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

Don’t forget to show THIS FLYER for a free child admission with a paid adult!

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)

Holiday Time at the New Outlets at San Clemente

Have you been to the new Outlets at San Clemente?

The Outlets at San Clemente is the first and only ocean-facing outdoor outlet shopping and dining destination in Orange County.

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The center is currently open, though they are still adding new shops and dining locations. Upon completion, the center will boast nearly 70 retailers and more than a dozen dining options, including four restaurants offering scenic ocean views.

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We stopped by The Outlets at San Clemente and were delighted to see how they were decked out for the holidays. The Christmas tree is stunning, and we found Santa and Mrs. Claus sitting at the bottom of it. They’ll be available to meet and take photographs with starting on Black Friday.

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We also spotted Santa’s reindeer, waving and jingling from above some of the stores. The attention to detail in the decor at the Outlets at San Clemente is just outstanding.

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Many of the shops in the Outlets at San Clemente are already open! You can find great deals at some of your favorite high-end retailers such as Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, GUESS, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, and more.

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If you have some free time this week and want to beat the Holiday shopping rush, you’ll find the Outlets at San Clemente to be a beautiful and relaxing place to shop. Most of the stores already have their sales started.

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Fresh air, beautiful decor, scenic views, and a relaxed shopping environment that is great for the whole family. What more can you ask for? Oh yeah, dogs are welcome at the Outlets at San Clemente too!

Keep updated on the various holiday events and new shops and dining options opening at the Outlets at San Clemente by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Shopping!

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Santa is Coming to Irvine Park Railroad! (Giveaway)

The giveaway at the bottom of this post is provided by and will be fulfilled by Irvine Park Railroad. SoCal Locale is responsible for winner selection. Read more to find out how to enter to win an Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train prize package valued at $93.00! (All photos courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad)

Christmas Train (1)

Christmastime is magical at Irvine Park Railroad! Starting nightly, November 27th through December 23rd, your favorite local railway transforms into a holiday wonderland!

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During this time, the train runs a little differently than normal. Instead of the usual round trip around the park, the Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train makes a special stop at the North Pole! (Regular train rides are available from 10:00am to 4:00pm.)

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Tickets for the train ride must be purchased online in advance. Tickets are only valid on the day and time selected, so plan accordingly. Times begin at 4:00pm. Some days have already sold out. You can buy your Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train tickets here. (Note: If, after 4:00pm, all tickets have not sold out for the day, you may purchase the unsold tickets in person.)

Having Fun in the Coloring Corner

The Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train is a very popular Orange County event. They recommend arriving as early as possible to ensure you don’t miss your ticket time. There are a variety of free activities for families to enjoy while waiting to board the train, such as the Christmas Coloring Corner, Story Time with Mrs. Claus, and Frosty’s Maze.

Carnival Games

There are also games, ice fishing, bounce houses, and cookie decorating activities that cost one activity ticket per person. Every child who plays a game wins, so no one walks away empty-handed.

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While you’re at Irvine Park Railroad, visit the Christmas Tree Ranch and take home your perfect Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree Ranch offers three types of Christmas Trees; Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, and Grand Fir, with prices ranging from $40 to $150.

Santa Sitting on the Train

Santa is excited to see everyone at Irvine Park Railroad this Christmas season! For more info and ticket sales, be sure to visit the Irvine Park Railroad website. And don’t forget to enter below for a chance to win an Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train prize package! The prize includes:

  • 4 Christmas Train Tickets
  • 4 Activity Tickets
  •  1 Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Park Bike Rental (excludes the double surrey)

Good Luck!

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Knott’s Season Passes – A Great Holiday Gift!

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

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Are you looking for something fun and exciting for this year’s Holiday gifts? Knott’s Berry Farm has you covered with their affordable season passes! The 2016 Knott’ Berry Farm season pass gives you access to all of the great seasonal events that happen at Knott’s Berry Farm (excluding Knott’s Scary Farm), plus discounts on food and merchandise. Included with your 2016 season pass is one visit during 2015, which means you can visit Knott’s Merry Farm this year, as well as next year!

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If you’ve never had a chance to visit Knott’s during the Holiday season, now is the time to go! There is a lot to love about Knott’s Merry Farm. The halls are decked and the Peanuts gang are out and about in their best snow day gear. It’s the perfect place to make new Holiday memories and create great family traditions.

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Knott’s Merry Farm includes all kind of fun activities. From thrilling attractions and live entertainment, to a craft and artisan fair and festive holiday decorations, to delectable holiday foods, there is something for every member of the family.

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A fan-favorite returning this year is the Merry Christmas, Snoopy! ice show. The show is packed with fun and whimsical scenes as Snoopy enjoys all of the best parts of the season such as trimming the tree and attending the Christmas Ball alongside some amazing world class ice skaters. Showing in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre on select dates from November 21st through Jan 3rd, this is a one-of-a-kind performance that you don’t want to miss.

Inside Christmas Cabin

During Knott’s Merry Farm, The Wildnerness Dance Hall in Ghost Town becomes Santa’s Christmas Cabin. This transformation brings holiday delights like Santa’s homemade cookies, freshly roasted nuts, seasonal craft beers, and other Knott’s holiday treats all under one roof for guests to sample as they wait to meet and take a photo with Santa Claus.

Calico Carolers

Guests can also get into the Christmas Spirit in the Knott’s Christmas Craft Village, located right in the middle of Ghost Town. Booths full of beautiful handmade gift items line the streets, so you can do a little holiday shopping while the Calico Carolers stroll through serenading you with seasonal favorites. Another highlight of the Christmas Craft Village is the glass-blowing and chainsaw sculpting demonstrations done throughout the day. The Village is included with regular park admission, and is also open to the public for free Monday through Thursday, November 23rd through December 10th.

Engine 41 Sing-a-long

Throughout the day, guests can find themselves entertained by a variety of fun and family-friendly shows and activities. Knott’s Merry Farm entertainment includes Christmas Time is Here, Charlie Brown in the Camp Snoopy Theater, Christmas on Engine 41, A Christmas Carol and A Gift of the Magi in Ghost Town’s historic Bird Cage Theatre, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies also in the Birdcage Theatre, and The Ghost Town Miners on the Fireman’s BBQ Stage.

Santa in Sleigh

Every night, when the sun goes down, it’s time for Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting. Santa and Snoopy join together, along with elves, toy soldiers, snowmen, and more to light the towering Knott’s Merry Farm Christmas tree.

Snow and Glow in Ghost Town

This year, you can also catch the nightly snowfall in even more places than before! The buildings of Ghost Town will twinkle as snow falls from the School House to the Saloon and down to the Assay Office!


Snow at Knott's Merry Farm

Christmastime is alive and well at Knott’s Merry Farm, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season! Get your 2016 season passes now and enjoy your free 2015 visit! Daily admission to Knott’s is $67 at the gate or $43 if you purchase online. Children 3-11 are $37. For more info, directions and hotel deals, visit Knotts.com

 

$10 off Tickets for Autumn Festival at Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium of the Pacific has yet another great event coming up this weekend, November 7th and 8th! The Autumn Festival celebrates the arts, cuisines, and cultures of China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

The public is invited to delve into the cultures, arts, and cuisines of Asia during the Aquarium of the Pacific’s annual Autumn Festival on Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8, 2015.

The fourteenth annual Aquarium of the Pacific Autumn Festival is a combination of traditional harvest ceremonies such as China’s Moon Festival, Korea’s Chuseok, and Japan’s Matsuri. All of these cultural traditions come together at the Aquarium for a fun and educational combination of Fall celebrations.

The public is invited to delve into the cultures, arts, and cuisines of Asia during the Aquarium of the Pacific’s annual Autumn Festival on Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8, 2015.

The Autumn Festival will feature live music and dance performances, cultural arts exhibits, and crafts. Throughout the weekend artisans and other vendors will be displaying and selling their works. Various ethnic entrees will also be available for purchase.

The public is invited to delve into the cultures, arts, and cuisines of Asia during the Aquarium of the Pacific’s annual Autumn Festival on Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8, 2015.

The event is included in regular Aquarium of the Pacific Admission, but even better when you show this flyer, you’ll get $10 off of adult admission! You can either print it or show it from your mobile device! If you want to show it straight from your phone, click here.

The Autumn Festival is open Saturday through Sunday, November 7th and 8th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)

Kids in Costume are FREE at Scarium of the Pacific

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Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Grab your costumes and head to the Aquarium of the Pacific for their Scarium of the Pacific weekend! This family-friendly non-scary Halloween event is fun for the whole family.

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Scarium of the Pacific is included in the regular aquarium admission. Along with all of the normal aquarium activities, you can discover creepy underwater creatures, watch a magic show, join in on a costume contest, get your face painted, and more! Best of all, when you bring the Scarium Flyer, kids who are dressed in costume get in for FREE! You can also show the coupon on your cell phone by clicking this link!

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Scarium at the Pacific is open Saturday through Sunday, October 24th and 25th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is $28.95 for adults (12+), $25.95 for seniors (62+), and $14.95 for children (3-11). Admission is free for children under 3 and aquarium members.

For more information, directions, and tickets, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific website.

(All photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific)