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Birch Aquarium

See what lies beneath the waters of the Pacific Coast at this intimate and educational attraction at La Jolla beach, not far from downtown San Diego.

A trip to Birch Aquarium will take you about as up-close and personal to the creatures of the deep as you can get, without getting wet. At just 64,000 square feet (5,946 square meters), it is not a large aquarium, but boasts marine life from 60 different habitats. And plenty of those creatures you can touch and feel. 

Established in 1903, its ties to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research mean the focus of Birch Aquarium is more on education than entertainment. You’ll almost certainly leave with a better understanding of the marine life that inhabits the Pacific Coast. Attractions such as the Kelp Forest Dive Show and public daily feedings will keep all family members engaged. 

The Tropical Seas Gallery is one of the more popular exhibits. See flamboyant lionfish, flower-like anemones, nautilus and giant clams. You’ll also learn interesting facts about coral, such as its ability to produce chemicals that may one day help cure medical ailments.

Interactive exhibits include the Tide Pool Plaza, where you can touch sea cucumbers and other creatures that inhabit the shallows. There’s also a strong environmental theme to the aquarium. Two exhibits, Feeling the Heat and Boundless Energy, provide fascinating information on the influence oceans have on global temperatures and energy independence. 

Be sure to step outside onto the back patio for spectacular views over the ocean. If you’re here in summer, don’t miss the Green Flash concert series held on the deck. 

There are easy public transport links to Birch Aquarium. Driving instructions are available on the attraction’s website, and the aquarium offers three hours of free parking. Due to the frequency of school party visits, it pays to arrive early to avoid lines, although the aquarium rarely gets too busy. It’s open daily, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.


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Lodging Near Birch Aquarium

See all 1,427 Properties near Birch Aquarium
Residence Inn by Marriott San Diego La Jolla $169
Residence Inn by Marriott San Diego La Jolla

Residence Inn by Marriott San Diego La Jolla

8901 Gilman Dr, La Jolla
     
    4.3
    of 5, from 744 reviews
    3.0 out of 5.0

    Only a half-mile from the UCSD campus, this San Diego-area hotel is located in the center of a La Jolla residential and office park area; 10 restaurants, shops, and a bus stop are within 2 blocks.

    20% OFF June - Sprawling Ocean Views, Private Pool & Amazing Accommodations
    20% OFF June - Sprawling Ocean Views, Private Pool & Amazing Accommodations

    20% OFF June - Sprawling Ocean Views, Private Pool & Amazing Accommodations

    , La Jolla
       
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Situated on the waterfront, this spa vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Birch Aquarium and University of California-San Diego. Geisel Library and VA Medical Center are also within 2 mi (3 km).

      La Jolla Shores Ocean Views
      La Jolla Shores Ocean Views

      La Jolla Shores Ocean Views

      2202 Camino Del Collado, La Jolla
         
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in La Jolla, this vacation home is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from La Jolla Shores Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of University of California-San Diego and La Jolla Cove. Scripps Pier and Birch Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km).

        Walk to the Beach, Enjoy Ocean Views & a Huge Yard W/firepit
        Walk to the Beach, Enjoy Ocean Views & a Huge Yard W/firepit

        Walk to the Beach, Enjoy Ocean Views & a Huge Yard W/firepit

        2202 Camino Del Collado, La Jolla
           
          5.0
          of 5, from 4 reviews
          0.0 out of 5.0

          Situated on the waterfront, this vacation home is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from La Jolla Shores Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of University of California-San Diego and La Jolla Cove. Scripps Pier and Birch Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          La Jolla Hideout: a Private Guest Quarters W/parking, Kitchenette, and Laundry
          La Jolla Hideout: a Private Guest Quarters W/parking, Kitchenette, and Laundry

          La Jolla Hideout: a Private Guest Quarters W/parking, Kitchenette, and Laundry

          , San Diego
             
            4.6
            of 5, from 24 reviews
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in La Jolla, this historic vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of Birch Aquarium and University of California-San Diego. Geisel Library and VA Medical Center are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            La Jolla Magnolia Cottage
            La Jolla Magnolia Cottage

            La Jolla Magnolia Cottage

            , La Jolla
               
              0.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in La Jolla, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Birch Aquarium and University of California-San Diego. Geisel Library and VA Medical Center are also within 1 mi (2 km).

              Casa La Jolla - Summer 2018
              Casa La Jolla - Summer 2018

              Casa La Jolla - Summer 2018

              , San Diego
                 
                4.8
                of 5, from 6 reviews
                0.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in La Jolla, this vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of Birch Aquarium and University of California-San Diego. Geisel Library and VA Medical Center are also within 1 mi (2 km).

                By The Sea Apartment 3
                By The Sea Apartment 3

                By The Sea Apartment 3

                8463 El Paseo Grande, La Jolla
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated in La Jolla, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from La Jolla Shores Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of La Jolla Cove and University of California-San Diego. Scripps Pier and Birch Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km).