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Five Reasons to Visit to the Birch Aquarium in San Diego

Last summer our family took a trip to the beautiful state of California with one of our stops being sunny San Diego. I had done some research beforehand on The Birch Aquarium at Scripps and decided that would be a perfect educational hands-on experience during our visit. Besides, the aquarium’s interactive exhibits would encourage not only children, but adults as well, to really open their minds and think while having fun.

Birch Aquarium 1

Birch Aquarium is north of San Diego, located in La Jolla, California and is filled with interesting exhibits and home to captivating sea dragons, creatures so fascinating you could spend hours just watching them alone. At the aquarium you can watch the creatures being fed (which is always a good time) and actually touch some of them in the outdoor Tide Pool. We found this to be very enjoyable. We got to see sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, starfish and even lobsters. The aquarium is the perfect size for younger children who may become tired or bored at a larger aquarium, and the price is right-sized too.

The Tide Pool Plaza area offers breathtaking views of the ocean and nearby town, and during the summer months, the aquarium sponsors outdoor concerts. We really enjoyed relaxing here and taking in the gorgeous view.

Birch Aquarium 3

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been working for more than 100 years with the Birch Aquarium opening its doors in 1992, funded by the Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation with UC San Diego donating the land. A good part of the aquarium is a series of smaller displays that illustrates sea life along the Pacific Coast of North America with the exhibits changing periodically and it features more than 3,000 animals representing 380 species. Pretty awesome.

Here are five great features and exhibits the Birch Aquarium has to offer:

Hall of Fishes
This Exhibit was really cool. It features more than 60 tanks of Pacific fish from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the Tropical Waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. We loved the Kelp Tank which is their largest habitat, a 70,000 gallon tank.

Birch Aquarium 4

You will also see many other amazing creatures here such as eels, jellyfish and all sorts of colorful fish from around the world. They even have an octopus exhibit which was one of our favorites.

Birch Aquarium 5

There’s Something About Seahorses
This exhibit features more than a dozen seahorse species and their relatives and offers hands-on-activities relating to seahorse biology for guests of all ages. I really enjoyed this exhibit.

Birch Aquarium 8

Feeling the Heat: The Climate Change
This exhibit uses interactive videos, games and displays to teach us how the actions of human beings impact nature’s delicate balance and also what we can do to have a positive impact on the future for our ocean. Pretty interesting.

Birch Aquarium 7

Boundless Energy
This Interactive exhibit celebrates the innovative ways we can use natural forces to power our lives. We discovered how we can harness the renewable energy of wind, sun and waves to assure a bright future for everyone. A future with clean water and healthy oceans. There is a play area for kids with stationary bikes and a seesaw that powers a whimsical water sculpture. Fun for all!

Birch Aquarium 6

Book & Gift Shop
Visitors can find a nice selection of ocean-themed toys, books and even wind-chimes in the aquarium’s Book & Gift Shop. The proceeds benefit the aquarium, which is a non-profit. We enjoyed perusing this cute little shop.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at The Birch Aquarium and highly recommend it to others. A reminder that the focus is on education and conservation, not rides and shows. As I mentioned earlier, it is a smaller aquarium and low cost, which makes it a great choice for family’s on a budget.

The Birch Aquarium:
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, daily. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps offers 3-hour courtesy parking.

Paula Schmitt is a mom and travel blogger in search of adventure. As she travels the world and shares her journeys on This Girl Travels, she also remains a devoted mother of five, wife, and award-winning author and writer. Paula is the author of award-winning book, Living in a Locker Room: A Mom’s Tale of Survival in a Houseful of Boys (2005). She also has been published and featured in a variety of media, including American Baby, Family Circle, Parenting, Real Simple, Adoption Today, The Today Show, The Chicago Tribune and more. In her career she has done everything from write and host a widely popular podcast to founding an online – and later print – parenting magazine of her own. In addition to being This Girl Travels founder and editor, Paula is a travel consultant with Magical Travel specializing in Disney Destination travel. Paula lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with her family. You may also find her on Twitter @thisgrltravels; Pinterest; Instagram @paulajschmitt and FB
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  1. 5 SoCal Water-themed Family Day Trips - OC Mom Blog - […] Birch Aquarium The Birch Aquarium is located in beautiful La Jolla, CA (a bit of a drive for residents…

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