Long Beach

Santa Diver to Ho, Ho, Ho in the Aquarium's H2O

The jolly fellow will take a dip among the sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific, while otters will snack on festive treats. More holiday fun is in the swim, too.

Robin Riggs/Alex Lambert

What to Know

  • Aquarium Holidays at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach
  • Dec. 3 through 23
  • Santa Diver, critter treats, photo spots, a toy drive, and festive decorations

Sharks don't hit the mall to go shopping, eels don't squeal at the sight of a pretty present, and finding a wrasse wrapping gifts?

It's extremely unlikely you'd ever come upon such a strange sight, at least outside of a dream.

And yet we landlubbers continually find whimsical ways to share our holiday traditions with the animals of the watery world, and at the festive forefront of these annual observances?

The applause-garnering, oh-so-adorable appearance of Santa Diver.

It's no surprise that Santa Claus knows the ocean as well as he does — the Jolly Old Elf does, after all, fly high over the Big Water on Christmas Eve — and it isn't shocking that he likes to take a dip now and then, all to commune with the critters of the deep.

And he'll do just that at the Aquarium of the Pacific during its sweet and splashy holiday festivities.

The Long Beach aquatic institution has a number of happenings themed to ho, ho, H2O, with Santa Diver's underwater appearances, special ice snacks for the otters, lively photo opportunities, shark stockings, a toy drive, and decorations that say December has arrived.

Those decorations include gingerbread houses, projects fashioned by aquarium staffers, and a tall and lovely tree that stands at the end-to-end height of six sizable surfboards, give or take.

A special weekend of storytelling, featuring Hanukkah and Kwanzaa stories, will take place on Dec. 3 and 4.

The fun swirling through the Aquarium Holidays season, which runs from Dec. 3 through 23, is included with aquarium admission. Do keep in mind that Santa Diver will take the plunge at select times, and various animal feedings will pop up throughout the schedule, too.

As for snapping a non-watery photo alongside Santa? He'll be taking pictures on weekends through Dec. 18. Look also for a snowy area made for play outside of the ocean-close destination, too.

Wait... did we really actually say "shark stockings" earlier? We did. Look for the offbeat addition to the holiday scene near where the toothy favorites swim, as well as decorations adding cheer near the habitats of various aquarium animals.

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