If you wanted to see Santa, where would you look?
A) On a snowy rooftop on Christmas Eve or B) in the sky, near the horizon, in the general direction of the North Pole or C) on television, during an animated holiday special or D) at the local mall or shopping center or E) inside the Honda Blue Cavern at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach?
All of these answers hold water, for sure, but there's only one go-to 'round these parts where Santa Diver is concerned: The mega exhibit, found at the far end of the aquarium's Great Hall, holds 142,000 gallons all year long, as well as a host of oceanic denizens (leopard sharks and giant sea bass included).
But come December? Mr. Kris Kringle arrives in full, water-ready regalia and takes the plunge inside the three-story tank, to the delight of onlookers on the non-wet side of the glass.
Spying Santa Diver is only one ornament on the larger Aquarium Holidays tree, however. You can admire gingerbread structures fashioned by staffers, take snapshots with costume-rocking characters (they're in seasonal wear, yep), and catch a pay-nothing screening of "Sleigh Ride 3D."
Holiday tunes, "snowfall" not far from the Honda Blue Cavern, and special Decembertime bites in Café Scuba are also part of the special end-of-the-year doings. (Ah yes, there's that large gift shop and allll of those potential presents for your people who adore the ocean and everything in it.)
The upcoming weekends both have some special to-dos, including a Spark of Love Toy Drive on Dec. 10 and 11 and Breakfast with Santa the following weekend. Make sure you time your Long Beach adventure with just the thing you want to participate in.
And keep your eyes peeled for Santa Diver, too. We don't always get a glimpse of the Jolly Ol' Elf as he lands his sleigh on various rooftops, nor can we always pick out Rudolph's red nose in the sky.
But coming across a scuba-cool Kris Kringle in Long Beach just might happen. Surely those leopard sharks and sea turtles who call the colossal cavern home are pretty chuffed to host Mr. Claus, too?
He may not have a traditional chimney to come down, but he can grab an oxygen tank and take a photo-ready plunge, aquarium-style.