It's a frequent thought that all drivers share while waiting at an especially lengthy red light: What's inside that large truck in front of me?
The answers are fairly endless: Several sleeper-sofas. A thousand teddy bears. A Renoir painting. Hundreds of miniature trucks, headed for a toy store. In short, something mysterious or something everyday could be the truck's cargo, but we'll never know.
You will 100 percent know, however, what's inside the brand-new Aquarium on Wheels, which gets its official launch on Monday, Feb. 29: A shark. And a warty sea cucumber. And several other denizens of the deep making their way to a local school, where kids will learn about matters of ecology, life in the ocean, and all things aquatic.
The opening ceremony for the educational mobile outreach, which is sponsored by the Tesoro Foundation, will happen at Elizabeth Hudson K-8 School in Long Beach. Students there will be among the first to check out the Aquarium of the Pacific's fresh and fish-tastic roll.
For sure, Aquarium on Wheels will be a mind-expanding treat for the inquisitive young'uns of the region, but if you're a grown-up who regularly visits the Long Beach ocean institution to commune with the fishies, there's good news: Aquarium on Wheels can booked for other events beyond school happenings.
Perhaps your next office party or family reunion could be educationally enhanced by a visit from a shark? Prices and such can be found by swimming this way.
As for all the animals making the journey to see the students of SoCal? Well, the shark is technically a swell shark, so let's be clear there. Other animals on the go? A bat star, a warty sea cucumber, a red sea urchin, a giant green sea anemone, and Kellet's whelk.
Because young people are some of the best question-askers on earth, we're just hoping that one student raises her hand to ask if the swell shark's name bolsters the animal's positive outlook on life. Surely any creature, human or otherwise, would love for the word "swell" to be in their very designation.
Whether that query is made or not, remember this: If you pull up alongside the new Aquarium on Wheels at a stoplight, you don't need to guess as to what's inside. It's a shark. And an urchin. And other beasties of the Deep Below, venturing outside the aquarium to help SoCal kids discover the many wonderful animals who call the World Ocean's home.