Where to Find Moon-Jellies in Long Beach

What are Moon-Jellies? Moon-Jellies, properly known as Moon Jellyfish, or scientifically known as Aurelia Aurita, are disc-shaped, boneless, brainless, translucent creatures. Instead of long tentacles, Moon-Jellies sport delicate, fringe-like cilia from their circular margins. The jellies are distinguishable by four horseshoe-shaped gonads radiating from the animal's center, and are quite common up and down the California coast in the summer.

If you happen to be in the Long Beach area, enjoy a Moon-Jelly exhibit at the Long Beach Aquarium. If you want to hunt down these jellyfish in their natural habitat, make your way to Alamitos Bay, and head to Spinnaker Bay Canal, where it's not hard to spot hundreds of these jellies dotting the waters beneath you. They look like shiny, circular, gelatinous blobs glistening in the sunlight. If you look closely, you'll see stripes or spots on the younger jellies.

You'll need some sort of water vessel to reach the cove where these moon jellies reside, and Kayaks on the Water is right in the vicinity, where you can rent kayaks, $10 an hour per individual, along with lifejackets, maps, and waterproof bags. Hours are 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. everyday, April through September; and 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. everyday, October through March. Once in your kayak, you can get right down to chasing these jellies down in their natural habitat. The staff only asks that you don't remove these creatures from the water, but you're free to pet them as they glide past you. Though jellies do sting, their stings don't hurt adult humans, as the stings don't penetrate well through their skin. At most you'll feel a mild sensation or irritation if they do sting. Ranging in size from smaller than a dime to a frisbee, the creatures feel like slimy jello, with the larger ones being a bit thicker and having more weight to them.

The waters of Alamitos Bay are calm and easy to navigate, but I suggest going early, by 10:00 a.m., because I like to skip the crowds, and the wind tends to pick up around noon.

Christina Wong is a Bay Area native who loves to travel the world, but always finds her way back to California.