Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla

4.2
Sitting on a hilltop above the Pacific Ocean, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography features over 60 aquariums, three tide-pools, and a coral reef containing more than 3,000 animals representing 380 species. See fish from the cold waters of the north and tropical fish of the Caribbean in a kelp forest tank. You can observe different kinds of sharks and learn what they are like. You'll see crabs, starfish, and sea cucumbers at the tide-pools, and find lionfish, nautilus, and giant clams in the coral reef. Watch for the chance to participate in interactive displays and for up-close encounters with seahorses. Take a camera; photography is allowed at the site. To visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other attractions in San Diego, use our San Diego trip planner .
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Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
1,657 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • It was a little aquarium that took us about 30 minutes to go through. We only went because we purchased the San Diego Go Card and it was on there, I would have been very disappointed if I had paid to ...  more »
  • An excellent aquarium that also happens to be located on one of the more beautiful bluffs in Southern California. The exhibits provided samples and descriptions of sea life across the Pacific Ocean be...  more »
  • In town on vacation and I am obsessed with aquariums. When I saw that this was down the road from where we were snorkeling I knew I just HAD to go. We made it through in just over an hour. There were ...  more »
Google
  • Based on the reviews I expected to have a great experience with my family, including girls age 4 & nearly 8. However, there is not a lot to see at the aquarium itself. It’s small and was very crowded in the main viewing loop. I thought the price was high for what was there. I live in the Kansas City suburbs and our own aquarium (Sea Life) is much better in my opinion - though I do understand it is a conglomerate and not run based on donations like Birch. The only thing I don’t get to see in KC is a nice view of the ocean. There were some science experiments and other fun science things for kids to look at that made it more enjoyable. Without that it would have been a total bust.
  • Amazing aquarium, the tanks are all really clean and well taken care of which is something I truly appreciate. The seahorses also have ample things to latch on to, and the tanks are fairly sized. When they're under construction too they are courteous enough to sign it so you aren't wondering why one tank looks a little misshapen. The staff is also very friendly. The food outside is good too. Great place to go!
  • Such a great experience! They do have a military discount when tickets are bought on base. Wonderful exhibits. Free parking. Learned a lot about the environment while here. I would definitely recommend to someone who loves the ocean or water animals. Also, families with youngsters who want to have a fun educational experience while enjoying it. The staff is fantastic! This can also be done in a half day for scheduling purposes. One item to note was there were not many things to touch in the touching pool exhibit. But still neat. Highly recommend.
  • This is not a big aquarium... That being said, it's a very enjoyable and informative place to spend an afternoon! The displays are excellent, showing clearly what kinds of fish & other marine life can be spotted within each tank. My only criticism would be that there should be an indication of how big each fish is, so you have an idea of what to look for. The informational signs are clear & concise, and there are lots of hands-on exhibits that were clearly a big hit with kids. The only disappointment were the tidal pool exhibits. As an east coast native, I'm used to tidal pools with a great variety of critters in them (horseshoe crabs, starfish, etc). I don't know if those things simply don't live on the west coast or not, but these tidal pools seemed rather lifeless in comparison. But overall, considering the very reasonable admission price, this place is definitely worth checking out!
  • Excellent place to visit with or without kids. The parking can get to be a bite tough and pedestrian foot traffic can get heavy, but if you follow the parking lot atound the parking is much better. Spaces are narrow also. Lots of fun and education inside for all. Veteran discount for whole family also.
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