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One of the great 20th Century luxury liners, The Queen Mary has been the centerpiece of Long Beach Harbor since 1967. The Queen Mary allows tourists to take a self-guided tour of the bridge, engine rooms and officers' quarters, while guided tours visit areas of the ship which are otherwise inaccessible. See the classic art deco interiors and learn about the vessel's interesting history. The ship is now not only a historic attraction, but is also a hotel, has several restaurants and shops, and there's even an on-site wedding chapel! Measuring 1019.5 feet (310.74 meters) in length, it features an indoor swimming pool and various conveniences and amenities characteristic of a cruise liner.
Located on five acres of waterfront property along Long Beach harbor, the Aquarium of the Pacific presents marvels of the deep blue to locals and tourists alike. As its name implies, the aquarium features marine life from the Pacific in which more than 47 exhibits display over 550 species. The aquarium is beautifully designed, with each species displayed according to the part of the Pacific it calls home. The Kids' Cove provides a place for children to interact with manta rays while the jellyfish exhibits are some of the best outside of the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) is the place to come if you're interested in Latin American art. It displays a number of works which provide a deeper insight into Latin American culture. The museum also provides a wide range of entertainment, hosting rotating exhibitions and cultural events on the premises. Educational programs are also held here.
This is a world-class museum which is home to permanent collections of fine art covering the past 300 years of art history. The museum hosts unique exhibitions that rotate on a quarterly basis, focusing on a variety of art forms ranging from paintings and textiles to sculptures and ceramics.
The perfect thing to do on a bright sunny day is to head to Rancho Los Alamitos. Admire the 19th Century ranch house that houses an interesting museum about local history, then explore the surrounding area. Make sure you stop by the barn and check out the livestock, which is often the highlight for children. You can also stroll through the beautiful garden. The gift shop has interesting things to take back home too. Overall, a historical place with lots of education, along with fun thrown in.
Inspired by Tokyo's Imperial Gardens, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden opened its doors in 1981 and is a part of the California State University. The funds were donated by its namesake's widow whose love for gardens resulted in the building of this place. Dotted with trees like the Japanese black pines, pink cloud cherry, fern pines, saucer magnolias and Chinese flame trees, this serene garden is a sight to behold. A koi pond with a bridge and fish, garden art, pagoda, tea-house, fountains and a zig-zag bridge complete the beautiful landscape. The garden is a much favored spot for weddings.
Take the kids for a day of outdoor education to the El Dorado Nature Center where you can learn all about the local flora on one of their Wildflower Getaways; a nature walk for those aged 10 and older. You can also take advantage of the campfire grounds, where many families spend their Friday nights sharing stories and roasting marshmallows. You must call ahead and register for both of these activities. Or just sit by one of the lakes during a sunny day and breathe in the fresh air.
Naples Island in Long Beach, located in the middle of Alamitos Bay, was the brainchild of Arthur Parson, who wanted to create a romantic spot that resembled Italy. He dug canals and built cozy cottage homes on the water. There is a park in the center of the island and a small beach encircling most of it. The most charming part of the island is the gondola rides that can be taken through the canals.
Once known as the "Tin Can Beach", Bolsa Chica State Beach is now a popular beach which attracts visitors all year-round. It is an ideal place to go sunbathing, play volleyball, have a family day out and try other water sports. Surf fishing of fishes like croaker and corbina are among the other activities you can partake in here. Also, on this three-mile long sandy stretch is a designated place where you can camp in your RV vans. Bolsa Chica is a great spot to sit back and enjoy everything that the beach has to offer.
Located in the downtown Long Beach Harbor, Shoreline Village shopping center features some great shops and restaurants. From here you can also take boat tours of the Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors. Restaurants include The Yard House, Tequila Jack's, Tugboat Pete's and Parkers' Lighthouse. At sunset, an excursion along the Long Beach Harbor Marina is perfect and at night, both The Yard House and Tequila Jack's are hopping bars that serve several beers and tequilas.