Get up close and personal with the animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific is offering up-close experiences with sharks, rays, seals, sea lions and penguins.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Sharks, penguins and sea lions, oh my!

The Aquarium of the Pacific relaunched its Animal Encounters program, giving visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with its residents.

"Now at the Aquarium of the Pacific were offering penguin encounters, seal and sea lion encounters, shark and ray encounters," said Mammalogist II Sarah Larsen. "Just trying to get people up close with our animals again."

Visitors can book a Shark and Ray Encounter or a Seal and Sea Lion Encounter. Penguin Encounters are available every day of the week.

"My favorite part about the Shark and Ray Encounter is actually getting into the water and getting that experience with our cownose rays," said Aquarist II Rachel Munson. "They swim right up to you and they are really flashy and inquisitive and super sweet as well."

Shark and Ray Encounters are available Thursdays and Fridays while the Seal and Sea Lion Encounters are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

"You get to meet one of our California sea lions," said Larsen. "You get to toss them some food, interact with them, learn all about their habitat and their overall health care, which is pretty awesome and fun."

The Aquarium of the Pacific said they are enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols.

"There is a safe way to be at a distance and meet our animals," Larsen said. "We're doing it with masks on making sure to be socially-distanced."

Animal Encounters cost $150 per person, which includes the cost of aquarium admission. For more information, visit their website.

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