Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bygone Aquarium

Aquarium on the Pacific
Hermosa Beach's ultramodern aquatic zoo gained wide attention during its 10-year run.
By Andrea Sudano - Daily Breeze

>>These days, sharks and piranhas stalk Pier Avenue only at bars on Saturday nights, but they had a permanent home in Hermosa Beach in the 1950s.

Octopi, sea horses, giant turtles and the like once filled the giant glass-fronted tanks of the Ocean Aquarium just south of the pier and west of The Strand, drawing nearly 2 million visitors in its nearly 10-year run in town.
The underwater zoo clocked about 1.8 million visitors, including more than 25,000 group tours from the Boy Scouts and other youth and school organizations.

Kids and adults alike were fascinated by the daily animal feedings, suitable for viewing and participation.
In its time, the giant fish bowl was considered one of the largest and most modern aquariums in the country. Other tanks tried to replicate its "modern appointments," the Breeze wrote.
While Marineland of the Pacific -- a descendent of Hermosa's aquarium, according to a book detailing Hermosa Beach's history in pictures -- entertained tourists on the Palos Verdes Peninsula for more than 30 years, the Ocean Aquarium wasn't nearly as lucky.
An apparent squabble between McBride and the city over a 40-year lease calling for the development of a new pier caused both parties to hire lawyers in January 1956.

According to a Breeze article, the city was offered the aquarium's land and several nearby parcels for $85,000 in June 1958, and bought the land several years later.<<

I love reading about the history of lost attractions, especially about ones in southern California.

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