The aquarium is a great mix of education, fun, and exploration. Each of my kids had a great time there, ranging in age from 4 up to 10 years old.
We headed straight outside to visit the touch pools first. The tide-pool display is an a beautiful location overlooking La Jolla and the ocean. The view is breathtaking. There are three pools with sea life to touch and discover. And docents nearby were eager to teach us more about the seastars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers and other animals native to San Diego’s tide pools. (The Aquarium has excursions led by naturalists to visit the tide pools. You can also visit San Diego tide pools on your own.)
Inside the aquarium, scores of marine tanks are teeming with fish, corals, and invertebrates. Two of my favorites are the sea horses and the jellyfish.
The 70,000-gallon tank with gently-swaying kelp and marine life from San Diego’s coast is impressive.
Being part of a research facility, the Birch Aquarium has a whole section on education. There’s the education about the animals and plant life in our local waters. And there are also exhibits about climate change and renewable energy. My 10-year-old made a “newscast” talking about climate change and was pretty excited seeing himself on screen.
If you want to see the shark feeding, get over there early. We didn’t and couldn’t get anywhere close to the viewing area. There are several fun hands-on play activities for young children to enjoy.
Overall, the aquarium is a nice place to go as a family. It is fairly small, so a couple of hours there will probably be enough. It’s location in La Jolla makes it a great place to spend some time and then do some other activities in the area. I’m glad we had discount tickets. I think for the size of it, I wouldn’t have spent full price for 6 of us to go for a couple of hours.