Black tip reef shark

Explore our Creatures

SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort is home to more than 200 species of sea creatures that total to over 5,000 individual aquatic animals!

And, if you can't make up your mind, you can see them all - from the curious and the rescued to the rare and the enigmatic. And you’ll be able to get closer to them than ever before.

Caring for Our Creatures

  • Bryan Pastor, General Manager

When did you first become interested in working in an aquarium?
Working at the aquarium was not something that I initially planned on doing. I started working at the resort in 2001 as a part-time college job. After graduation, I stayed with the company and have had many different positions, mostly in the Park Operations Department. The opportunity for the SEA LIFE Aquarium General Manager position became available and I was fortunate enough to start working here at the end of 2013.

What kind of background prepared you for your role in an aquarium?
My background is in operations management. This has helped to facilitate many of our projects and oversee the financials and operations of all departments in the aquarium.

What is a typical day like for you at SEA LIFE?
Emails, meetings, emails, meetings; walking around the aquarium and talking to guests and MCs while also making sure everything is running efficiently and staying clean.

What do you like about your job?
I like being able to have a positive impact on the aquarium. I also enjoy developing the people that I get to work with on a daily basis and watching their teams succeed.

What do you find difficult about your job?
There are always going to be challenges when a lot of moving parts have to take place at the same time to make things run smoothly. One of the most difficult things is making sure that all of our systems are running effectively and all employees have what they need to do their job well. There are a lot of things to juggle at the same time sometimes but this is also one of the things that keeps the job fun.

What advice would you give to aspiring children?
I would say that sometimes you end up in a position that you love but may have had no idea that it could have been a possibility for you in the future. My advice is to do your absolute best in any job you have to make sure you give yourself the opportunity to move on to other positions. I would also say to try out a few different areas before you set your sights on something specific – you never know what may interest you or if you are good at something if you haven’t tried it out.

Bryan Pastor, General Manager

  • Lori Walsh, Education/Operations Supervisor

How did you get your job at SEA LIFE Aquarium?
I came a long way from my home in Virginia to follow my dreams! Ever since I can remember, I always wanted a job relating to the ocean. When I was growing up, I was always the only one in my neighborhood that recycled (before it was cool to do it) and always brought home bags of trash when my family visited the beaches in Nags Head, North Carolina. After college, I taught Kindergarten and second grade. I also started trying to get as much animal experience as I could by volunteering for a Stranding Team to rescue and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals and sea turtles and at the zoo working with elephants and giraffes. I also worked in a vet hospital and in a low income shot clinic for dogs and cats. My puppy inspired my interest in animal behavior and training, and introduced me to the difficulties of herding sheep with a border collie! After an internship training dolphins in Hawaii, I worked as a conservation educator with bald eagles, falcons, owls, and hawks. I learned a lot about animal handling through my work at a zoo where I taught birthday parties and sleepovers and presented animals of all shapes and sizes. Finally, my career led me to California in the education departments of local zoos and aquariums.

What did you get your degree in?
I have a degree in Biology and a license to teach elementary school, a combination that is perfect for my job at SEA LIFE! I am also finishing my Masters in Science Education for zoos and aquariums.

What is a typical day like for you at SEA LIFE Aquarium?
My days are always different! Some days I work with the Eductaors that are teaching programs for school kids. I also get to help make the education facts that are used in our new exhibits. I help with the Operations part of the aquarium, which keeps this building running. Another cool part about my job is I get to work with animals, including diving with our sharks.

What do you like about your job?
I get to see how excited kids get when they come to the aquarium. For some it is their first time seeing sharks up close!

What do you find difficult about your job?
The hardest part of my job is trying to make sure every guest has an amazing experience when they visit the aquarium.

What advice would you give to aspiring children?
Follow your dreams and never give up! When I was a classroom teacher, I never thought I would find a job that combines my love of teaching with my passion with working for animals. Today I can look back and see how all of my experience combined to give me the career that I love. The animal care field is very competitive so try to get as much experience working with a variety of animals. For example, all of my animal experience and years as teacher helped me to find my amazing job.

Lori Walsh, Education/Operations Supervisor

  • Marie Collins, Displays Curator

When did you first become interested in working in an aquarium?
Ever since I was a kid I was interested in working with animals. I either wanted to be a marine biologist or a veterinarian. Luckily enough, I get to do a little bit of both! For the last 12 years I have been working in the aquatic science field and have loved every second of it.

What kind of background prepared you for your role in an aquarium?
Nothing quite prepares you for every role at any aquarium you may want to work at. There are over 25,000 species of fishes and many more invertebrate animals to learn about (not to mention birds, mammals, reptiles…) My point is, in this field I am always learning new things, and it keeps it very exciting.
My background consists of a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a Marine Science concentration. I went to school in Pennsylvania so I spent my summers taking field classes in Wallops Island, Virginia. This was a great time for me to get out and work on boats and do some field work. For about 2 years I worked as an aquatic staff supervisor at the largest fish wholesale store in the country. That was really fun and exciting since so many new animals came in and out of the facility. I also did an aquarist internship at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Here I got to work with a diverse group of tropical fishes and assisted the quarantine of new fishes. This also started my love for octopus! For a few years after, I did 2 years of research in a cephalopod lab where I studied animal behavior of both octopus and cuttlefish. We even trained them to go through mazes! Back then we were on the forefront of this type of research so we published a few papers from our research findings. I then moved out to San Diego and started working as an aquarist technician for a few years. I maintained custom aquariums for local facilities and even in some professional sports player’s homes! During this time I volunteered at The Birch Aquarium for about a year, helping out with the dives in the kelp tank, taking care of the jellies, and the juvenile fish tanks. This leads me into SEALIFE where just about 7 years ago (this spring 2015) I started working as an aquarist. I helped open our SEA LIFE Center in California and have since been a part of many other SEA LIFE U.S. projects. My passion for the ocean pushed me even further when I decided to get my Master’s Degree from George Mason University Virginia. I finished with a background in Zoo and Aquarium Management and with a specialization in Conservation Education. My current role is the Displays Curator where now I work with the aquarists to successfully run and maintain a beautiful and healthy facility.

What is a typical day like for you at SEA LIFE?
Well, for one, there is no typical day for me. I typically come in and check on the main life support systems (LSS) to make sure all the filtration, pumps, etc are running smoothly. I also check all parameters such as the temperature, pH, salinity, etc on all the main systems. We even have a cool monitoring system that allows me to check all information on my phone! I usually check in with all the aquarists and get a morning update on what is going on. We usually plan out our days making sure all the fish that need medication, vitamins, etc are prioritized. I am available to answer questions and troubleshoot problems as they come up. Some days I dive in the ocean tank. Some days we do veterinary procedures, like collecting stingrays to trim their barbs or tagging a shark for its yearly physical. Besides the day to day fish stuff, I work on a lot of projects such as managing the dive team, writing policies/protocols, preparing for vet and senior curator inspections, designing new exhibits, sourcing new animals, etc. Some days I even bring in my dog, Moose to hang out at the aquarium. On top of all that, I get A LOT of emails each day! I make sure that my management position doesn’t restrict me from being involved and hands on. I have to keep my hands wet! The fish count on us to make sure their habitats are healthy and we strive to ensure the best animal care possible for them.

What do you like about your job?
I love working with passionate aquarists who work really hard. I get really exciting when we make big improvements on exhibits. For example, we are working on what’s called an AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accreditation. If we pass this big inspection, we will be in the top 10% of all zoos and aquariums in the U.S. I also love that every day I learn at least 5 new things. You can never stop learning.

What do you find difficult about your job?
The most difficult part about my job is juggling all of moving parts. There are always twenty different things going on. Making instant decisions can sometimes mean life or death for an animal. It is also difficult for me to spend as much time as I would like to train each one of my team members. They would all tell you I love to send out lots of emails with new things going on, which unfortunately means more work for all of us!

What advice would you give to aspiring children?
I would say work really hard and never give up on your dreams. Anything is possible with a little bit of luck and A LOT of hard work. There is no way to know what your exact path in life will be, but take time to learn about all of your options. Also, if you want to become a marine biologist, not only do you need the schooling, but you also need to get dive certified. Don’t be afraid to get a little wet now and then.

Marie Collins, Displays Curator

Creatures at SEA LIFE Aquarium

  • Zebra shark
  • Grey reef shark
  • Blacktip reef shark
  • Whitetip shark
  • Spotted eagle ray
  • Cownose ray
  • Giant pacific octopus
  • Lined seahorse
  • Moon jellyfish
  • White sturgeon
  • Porcupine pufferfish
  • Clownfish
  • Lionfish
  • Eel
  • Sea stars
  • Sea cucumber
  • Hermit crabs
  • Queensland grouper
  • Anemone

Our Top 20 Creatures

Giant Pacific Octopus

common octopus

Get up close

Interactive Rockpool

Interactive rockpool

Explore our touch pool

Moon Jelly

Moon jellyfish

Discover now!

Reef Sharks

Black tip reef shark

Discover more!


seahorse - back from the brink

Dive in!

Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray

Click here to explore

Zebra Shark

Zebra shark

Come and learn more!


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