Top 20 San Diego attractions

Birch Aquarium

The Birch Aquarium has a hilltop setting near La Jolla in San Diego, with magnificent water views.

The fantastic views alone justify a trip to the Birch Aquarium!  

There's an open air touchpool, Giant Kelp Forest, a Hall of Fishes, Little Blue Penguins exhibit, and Shark Shores full of local sharks and stingrays.

The Birch Aquarium is also aligned with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, based just down the hill, and the aquarium leverages many of their research findings.

The Birch Aquarium is located at 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA, 92037.  Check admission & hours.  Set aside 1.5 hours to see everything.

10 best things to do at Birch Aquarium

  1. Watch cute Little Blue Penguins in action, the world's smallest penguins weighing under 3 pounds!

  2. Visit the touchpools at the open air Tidepool Plaza to see sea anemones, starfish and California spiny lobster, while gazing out at the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. Such a serene and gorgeous setting!

  3. Watch the daily feeding show at the 70,000 gallon Giant Kelp Tank, where divers feed local marine life like Moray eels and Leopard Sharks.  Giant kelp forests thrive off the coast of San Diego, home to the two biggest kelp forests on the West Coast, at La Jolla and Point Loma. Each kelp forest is a staggering 5-miles long!

  4. Learn about a friendly Loggerhead Sea Turtle with rear flipper paralysis, who was rescued at an animal hospital.

  5. See jellyfish and Pacific Seahorses at the Hall of Fishes. Check out a variety of fish based on distinct regions like Oregon, Washington State, Southern California and Northern California.  The interactive computer screens are perfect for kids.  

  6. Meet the Giant Pacific Octopus with 10 arms, measuring an astounding 10 feet wide!

  7. See scary sharks up close at the Shark Shores tank, like San Diego's famous Leopard Shark.

  8. Do a behind the scenes tour of Seahorses, and learn about the Birch Aquarium's breeding program.

  9. Savor incredible views from the viewdeck out to the Pacific Ocean, some of the best views in La Jolla!  Don't forget to take a photo at sunset.

  10. Enjoy lunch at the open air cafe, in a courtyard near a beautiful fountain.

Know before you go

  • Address:  2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA, 92037.  
  • Hours and tickets:  check here.
  • Parking:  3 hour courtesy parking.  
  • Cafe and gift shop:  yes.

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