Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography
This weekend my family went to our first “museum” with out Museum Month Pass. The Museum Pass gives half off admission to the Aquarium and to over 40 museums throughout San Diego in the month of February. Click on the Museum Month link to learn more about this amazing program. So naturally being a family on a budget we could not pass up this great deal. We decided for our first “museum” to visit to be Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla. Birch Aquarium is a great little aquarium for families. It isn’t very large but that doesn’t stop it from being packed full of fish and aquatic animals. Plus the view from the outside tides pools are just gorgeous.
When you enter the aquarium be on the look out for some sharp friends hanging around. The stained glass Sea Horses on the front windows are just absolutely stunning. And directly in the center of the room is the guest service desk. The workers at the desk were so extremely pleasant and helpful. My daughter is a Girl Scout Individual, meaning she doesn’t belong to a troop. So whenever we visit a museum, national park, or nature center I ask if there is any child’s programs available. There wasn’t any real program but I was able to check out a self-guided tour book. Throughout our visit my daughter we reference the book. It was actually pretty fun since it asked little trivia questions and used exhibits to answer them.
Hall of Fishes
The Hall of Fishes features sea life that is found all along the Pacific coast. You will see many creatures that inhabit San Diego’s bay here as well. My son was so excited to see an octopus hanging out in plain sight. My daughter had fun counting all the legs on the Sunflower Sea Star(24 total!). The nursery had a few new sharks and two that were still inside their eggs. My kids enjoyed tons of tiny jellyfish just floating around. It was nice to just sit and watch a school of fish go around in the Kelp Forest. Hanging out at the Kelp Forest is almost like scuba diving just without actually getting in the water.
All the informational walls throughout the Hall of Fishes. They let you know where the sea life in the exhibits can be found and some background about their environments.
The Explorers Gallery was filled with hands on learning. This area focuses on climate change and what we can do to help improve the environment. The kids had a blast putting I a news report here. I really enjoyed the gorgeous gallery of wildlife photos that were on display.
Hall of Sea Horses
See Sea Horses and their relatives (like Sea Dragons) from all over the world. Also learn about their breeding program and see some adorable baby Sea Horses. And don’t forget to test your Sea Horse knowledge on one of the interactive monitors.
The outside playground (what my son was calling it) is people-powered play area. The energy you provide, whether it was from bicycling on one of the stationary bikes or hand cranking, would run the water spouts in the play area. The more work you put in the more chance of getting a little sprayed by the water. Also in the Smargon Court area was a few boat launching tables and the shark tank!
The Tide-Pool Plaza is another hands-on learning area and also features some gorgeous views of La Jolla. In this area you can just sit back and enjoy the views or pet a few local sea creatures. Or maybe just play around with some plastic ones, this was great for my allergy kiddo!
So check out this wonderful little aquarium and be sure to take advantage of San Diego’s Museum Month going on all February.
Try not to get swallowed up there!
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037
Open 9am-5pm daily