My family had the opportunity to visit the Birch Aquarium at The Scripps Institution of Oceanography this past weekend. We have been on a marine/sea life quest recently and from what I had read on the net the Birch Aquarium is THE place to visit. Let me tell you folks- It most certainly is. The aquarium is absolutely breathtaking. The Birch Aquarium is nestled on an ocean bluff and overlooks beautiful La Jolla Shores. I was in love from first sight and so was my family.
We parked our car in the aquarium’s adjacent parking lot(which had plenty of parking and was complimentary) and walked over to the entrance of the beautiful aquarium. From the moment we walked in we were greeted by a friendly volunteer who was tickled by my kids excitement. She offered us a map and encouraged us to explore the Hall of Fishes.
It was the perfect suggestion for our little family. The kids loved learning about the different types of marine life. My husband and I were equally thrilled. We made a promise that we would definitely be coming back on a date sans kids. We learned about the sea life that inhabits the waters of the Pacific Ocean from the Pacific Northwest, through the California coast and ending in the tropical waters of Mexico. We could have strolled through the Hall of Fishes for hours!! The kids loved all of it!! You can also observe animal feedings – which we sadly missed by a half hour. Next time we will make sure to get there with plenty of time and be able to catch a glimpse.
We then headed out to the Tide Pool Plaza and let me tell you- my kiddos were in tide pool heaven. I was not only in love with the tide pools but also with the spectacular view of the California Coast. The view from the Tide Pool Plaza has to be one of the most breathtaking and beautiful views of the California Coast. I could go on about the view but trust me on this- It is something you have to see for yourself. You will not be disappointed!!
The Tide Pool Plaza featured three living tide pool displays which my kiddos loved. They had the opportunity to get up close in personal with a starfish and a sea cucumber. We had an unforgettable moment and one that I know my daughter Lauren will remember forever. One of the volunteers brought out a starfish for Lauren to touch. The look on my daughter’s face was priceless. She loved not only being able to touch the starfish but to also learn about it’s body structure and how the starfish lives and feeds. Lauren was in heaven and has not been able to stop talking about her magical experience.
We were all so impressed with the individual attention we received from the staff. Everyone had a bright smile on their face and was happy to be working there- and yes this was the 4th of July. I can’t rave enough about the amazing staff!! We had to tear the kiddos away from the tide pools- they could have stayed there for hours.
After exploring the tide pools we made our way to my children’s favorite exhibit, The Wonders of Water in the Smargon Courtyard. The exhibit is made up of two outdoor water playstations. My husband and kiddos spent at least an hour playing with the water tables. I coudln’t blame them ,it was addicting!! My son Michael, who is only two and a half, was able to use the panels in the water table and able to make a path for his boat. He was mesmerized by the water station and there were plenty of tears when we told him that we had to leave. We did manage to catch a glimpse of the Shark Reef on the way out. It was amazing and I wish we had additional time to observe the sharks.
Closing time was upon us and we had to leave. We spent almost 4 hours at the Aquarium and yet if felt like one. Time just flew by. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the 4th of July. I have been on many outings and this will definitely now be on the top of my list . It is in my opinion that the Birch Aquarium is one of the MUST places to visit in Southern California. From the beautiful setting to the wonderful staff – The Birch Aquarium is a shinning
The best part is that for the price of a movie ticket, you can explore another world and make priceless memories. I had a reader recently email me that she wants her son to make memories of exploring sealife and not just have memories of playing on his playstation or surfing the net. This really stuck with me and I couldn’t help but think of this as we were exploring the Aquarium. I promise you that your entire family will fall in love with the Birch Aquarium and make priceless memories!!
Admission is $11.00 for adults, $7.50 for 3-17 year olds and Free for kiddos 2 and under. The Birch Aquarium is part of Museums on Us – which gives you free admission with your B of A debit or credit card on the first weekend of the month. We actually paid only $7.50 for my daughter since my husband and I both bank with B of A and were able to get in for free. It is an incredible deal!! You can also receive $1.00 off each admission with your AAA card.
Hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
3 hour courtesy parking provided
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, California
For additional information head over here