It was a rainy day today, so I took Estelle to the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla. We’ve been meaning to go there for awhile, as I have always had a fascination with the ocean, and Estelle is too young to care. So, off we went. If you plan on making a trip, I suggest NOT going on a rainy day. We had to wait in line for tickets outside, and part of the aquarium is outdoors (fail – and double fail that we got SOAKED on our way back to the car – SOCAL, go figure)!
When we finally made it in, I opted to ditch the stroller and carry her through the crowds. For those of you expecting a massive spectacle of an aquarium, reign-in those expectations a bit. After all, “The mission of Birch Aquarium is to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps Institution of Oceanography research, and to promote ocean conservation” (from the Birch Website).
There are quite a few tanks with all the usual suspects – including seahorses, jellyfish, spider crabs, and other species native to this area. There are two rather
large and beautiful tanks, with the smaller of the two featuring a massive sea turtle who was swimming gracefully around. The larger tank features a Kelp forest, and there are regularly scheduled ‘dive shows’ here.
The other side of the aquarium is more of an interactive museum with some innovative exhibits for the older kids.
There are tide pools located outside the lobby, where you can touch tide pool animals. We didn’t head out there due to the rain, but it looked like fun.
We will probably not be back until Estelle is a little older. I appreciated the fact that this aquarium is run by researchers and experts, and the information provided about the exhibits was educational.
The Aquarium is small, and expect crowds (especially on rainy days). The admission price is $17 for an adult, but there is a military discount, which brings admission down to $15. Kids under 3 are free.
Check it out sometime, especially with kids 3 and older.
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