Long Beach is a city nestled in Southern California on the Pacific Coast. It is a part of Los Angeles County and is approximately twenty miles to the south of Los Angeles. It covers an area of sixty-six square miles and has a population of about half a million people. Long Beach is the fifth largest city in the state of California and the thirty-six largest in the United States. Its sea port, the Port of Long Beach, is one of the largest shipping ports in the world. Long Beach has a diverse economic base which includes aircraft and automobile part manufacturing, electronics, home furnishings and oil production. Several large companies have their headquarters based in Long Beach including Molina Healthcare and Epson. The area around Long Beach has been occupied for the past ten thousand years by several groups of indigenous Native American tribes. The first Europeans to explore the area were the Spanish, which visited the area in the sixteenth century.
A popular Long Beach attraction is the RMS Queen Mary. This cruise ship sailed the North Atlantic from 1936-1967 and has since been retired. Construction on this ship began in 1930 by the British shipbuilder Cunard. It took almost four years and four million sterling pounds to build the ship and it was launched in September of 1934. It was named after the consort of King George V, Queen Mary. Amenities on the ship included a swimming pool, nursery, tennis court, kennel, salon and a library. There was also a dining room that was two decks high. Today, its a prominent attraction in Long Beach. It is also reputed to be haunted and several paranormal television shows have feature the RMS Queen Mary. These include The Othersiders, Ghost Hunters and the United Kingdom television program, Most Haunted. The Ghosts & Legends Tour holds a tour of the ship, as well as other haunted locations. Aquarium of the Pacific is another attraction that draws over a million visitors from all over the world. This aquarium is situated on five acres and is located at Rainbow Harbor. It contains over twelve thousand animals taken from six hundred and fifty species. It has three permanent exhibits which Tropical Pacific, The North Pacific and South California & Baja. All of the exhibits are designed to showcase the seascapes and wildlife of the Pacific. Size of the exhibits range from five thousand gallons, all the way to three hundred and fifty thousand gallons.
A museum located in Long Beach is the Museum of Latin American Art. This museum showcases contemporary Latin American art and is the only museum of its kind on the west coast of the United States. It was started by Dr. Robert Gumbiner, who opened it up to the public in 1996. It was closed for a period of time for renovations, but reopened its doors in the summer of 2007. It now has over forty thousand feet of exhibition space and contains a sculpture garden. Artists represented in its collection include Fernando Botero, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and Frida Kahlo. The Long Beach Museum of Art is situated in the Long Beach neighborhood of Bluff Park. It is located in the Elizabeth Milbank Anderson house and carriage house (which was built in 1912). It also features a pavilion and gardens. It contains a collection of art that includes European art, California contemporary art, California Modernism and American decorative arts. Their art collection spans a three hundred year period of time and features over eight hundred objects. Artists represented by its collection include William Manker, Ricky Maldonado, Keisuke Mizuno, Marlo Bartels, David Gilhooly, Janet Grau, David Gilhooly, Laszlo Fekete and Shoji Hamada.
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is another stop to make on any trip to Long Beach, California. This Japan garden covers an area of almost one and a half acres and is situated on the campus of California State University. It was dedicated, and opened to the public in 1981. It was designed by Ed Lovel based upon inspiration he received from Tokyo’s Imperial Gardens. It is filled with a ton of Japanese inspired architecture and contains plants and flowers such as Red Bird Azalea, Formosa, Fielder’s White Azalea, Japanes Irises, Golden Bamboo and Black Stemmed Bamboo. Events at the garden include “Winter Lecture Kimono in color: A Spectrum of Seasons”, “Orchid Sale” and “New Member Tea & Tour”.
Another attraction is the Soviet submarine B-427, also known as The Scorpion Submarine. This submarine was launched in 1971 by the Soviet Navy and spent the next twenty years of its life patrolling the Pacific Ocean. Its purpose was to protect the ballistic missile submarines that were launched out of Vladivostok, USSR. In 1989, as it was returning to the Soviet Union, it was struck by a typhoon. A mechanical failure prevented the submarine from diving and it suffered significant damage. It was then taken back to the Soviet Union and refitted with a new hull. It was decommissioned in 1994, and spent three years at the Sydney based Australian National Maritime Museum. In 1998, it left Sydney and was moored at Long Beach. A month later, it opened as a museum exhibit.
Other Long Beach attractions include The Terrace Theater, Gondola Getaway, Grand Prix of Long Beach, Skinny House, International City Theater, Laugh Factory, The All American Melodrama Theater and Music Hall, Harbor Cruise, Shoreline Village, Rancho Los Alamitos, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, Rancho Los Cerritos, Pine Avenue, Sgt Pepper’s Dueling Piano Cafe, Segway of Long Beach, Bixby Park, Harbor Breeze Whale Watching, Long Beach Windsurf Center, Naples Island, Long Beach Waterfront, Gameworks, Vault 350 Club, Kayaks on the Water, Skylinks Golf Course, Acres of Books, World’s Largest Flag, Edison Theater, Queen Mary Hotel, Shoreline Pedestrian Bikepath, Queen Mary Spa, The Walter Pyramid, Legends of Aviation, City Beach, Long Beach East Village Arts District, Long Beach Sportfishing, California State University Long Beach, Michael Levy Gallery, Leeway Sailing Center, Long Beach Playhouse, Californian Tallship, The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show and Utopia Good Food & Fine Art.