Long Beach is California's fifth largest city and one of its most industrialized. The city's
harbor, adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles, is one of the west coast's busiest
In recent years the city has redeveloped its aging waterfront creating an
attractive destination for visitors. Recreation is available in pleasant waterfront
parks and marinas as are harbor tours and excursions to nearby Catalina Island.
However the most well known and interesting attraction is the Queen Mary Seaport.
It features the famed ocean liner, Queen Mary, one of the largest and most
opulent ships ever built. The photo, above left, shows it berthed next to the
retired Russian submarine, Scorpion, another permanent fixture of the Seaport.
The photo, right, shows the size scale of the two vessels.
RMS Queen Mary
The Queen Mary had its heyday from the 1930's to 1950's as the most luxurious
mode of trans-Atlantic travel. The advent of inexpensive jet travel ultimately
put the ship out of business. Today, it is permanently moored in Long Beach.
It serves as a museum and a floating hotel. Its guest cabins continue to serve
the public. Photo, left, is the corridor through first-class whose luxury is
said to have vastly exceeded that of the Titantic (which we all saw in that movie!).
Also, the Queen Mary was double the size of the Titanic in terms of gross tonnage (volume).
You might notice that the corridor in the photo appears to be going slightly uphill.
Giant ships apparently were bowed in the center so they wouldn't be snapped in
half by turbulent seas. The deeper you go in the ship, the more pronounced the effect.
You may take a guided or self-guided tour of the ship or a combination. Shown left is
the ship's bridge; right is a closeup of the gigantic smokestacks.
Parts of the Queen Mary have been redone to show how it looked as a troop
carrier during World War II. The ship was renovated to carry over 15,000
soldiers across the Atlantic at one time.
Aboard the Queen Mary you will have this fine view (right) of the Long Beach
skyline. The excellent enlargement shows the park and marina in the foreground.
At left is a closeup of the marina.
The Queen Mary also offers ongoing exhibits of public interest. During our
visit if offered a display of "the Treasures of the Tsar", a collection of
exotic artifacts presented to the Russian Tsar during a 19th century tour
of his far-flung empire in Asia, Siberia, and the Far East. A few samples
are shown below.
Russian Submarine Scorpion
The Russian submarine, Scorpion, is a more recent addition to the facility.
The Scorpion was a cold war era attack submarine built in 1972. Self-guided
tours are available. The photo, left, shows the subs rear torpedo tubes.
Several years ago, I toured the USS Pampanito, an American World War II
submarine berthed at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. It was interesting
how closely the 1970's Scorpion compared to the 1940's Pampanito in its
look and technology.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Another highly popular Long Beach attraction is the recently-opened and
very beautiful Aquarium of the Pacific. The aquarium focuses on the Pacific Ocean
in three sections: Southern California / Baja, Northern Pacific, and the Tropics.
The Tropics section is exceptionally impressive. The seal and sea lion tank is also
Below, two photos from the Tropical Section.
Ticket/Tour Info - Queen Mary & Aquarium of the Pacific
For Queen Mary tours, visit the RMS Queen Mary web site
or call (562) 435-3511 or (800) 437-2934.
For more information on the Aquarium of the Pacific, visit the
Aquarium of the Pacific web site
or call (562) 590-3100.