For some odd reason, I have a thing for aquariums in beach towns. Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla, California makes my top 10 list. Here’s why, plus nine ways to save on tickets.
Birch Aquarium is part of the UC San Diego campus in La Jolla, California. The view from certain parts of Birch makes it a fun way to spend a couple of hours if you find yourself in San Diego County.
It’s located on the hillside views of La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove. La Jolla Shores is a popular mile-long crescent shaped beach. La Jolla Cove is a small deep water bay with nearby sea caves.
The Aquarium’s two large outdoor decks let you take in a few exhibits as well as the ocean view. Or take a seat at one of the picnic tables. You can also grab a snack at their snack bar called Splash Cafe.
Bang’ Tip: Along with sea life sightings, keep an eye out for paragliders crossing your view from the nearby Torrey Pines Gliderport.
One of the best things about Birch Aquarium at Scripps is that it features sea creatures that live just off the coast of La Jolla. In fact, you can check out the Aquarium’s live high-def Kelp Cam right now before you go.
The no-nonsense layout and manageable size do make it perfect for families. Kids can get hands-on at the many touch stations, which have little step-ups so small children can reach inside the tanks. The jellyfish and seahorses are always a hit with the youngest visitors.
The two-story fish tank in the middle is a great place to sit awhile and watch the fish. So calming. You may also like the tide pool area, the global warming exhibit, and don’t miss the sea horses just before you leave.
If sharks are your thing, check out the exhibit called ElasmoBeach. Birch Aquarium has some interesting interactive exhibits, such as the one called Boundless Energy that demonstrates the natural forces of the ocean.
For families, I recommend visiting the aquarium at shark feeding times to see these animals doing what they do best. Last checked this was Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 am, but see the official Birch Aquarium website before you head over.
Bang’ Tip: the Birch Aquarium hosts a full moon walk at dusk a couple times per month from July-October. You can sign up through the aquarium.
Birch Aquarium is not one of the biggest, or cheapest, aquarium in California. And it isn’t as comprehensive as California’s: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Aquarium of The Pacific (Long Beach), or Aquarium of the Bay (San Francisco).
Birch Aquarium at Scripps offers a few ways to save on tickets. Birch Aquarium also offers free admission on the first weekend of every month for anyone with a BofA card (one ticket per cardholder).
For other people at your party, or if you can’t make the free day, you can still save time when you get your tickets online in advance.
Birch Aquarium: Know Before You Go
Here are just a few bang’ tips to consider before you head out.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, California.
Where To Park
You can park free for up to three hours in the Aquarium parking lot. If you’re staying longer, buy a parking pass in the Education Office.
Open 7 days a week, 9 am to 5 pm daily. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
No food can be brought into the Aquarium, but there is a cafe, and snack bar and you can use the picnic tables outside.
Check out their website at aquarium.ucsd.edu.