Explore where the wonders of the ocean come alive! The Birch Aquarium is located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. Birch has so many great exhibits you won’t know where to start! How about walking through the Hall of Fishes, where every kind of fish you’ve ever imagined swims before your eyes? Or check out Elasmo Beach and meet La Jolla’s legendary leopard sharks and other species that make their home in local waters.
Birch’s 13,000-gallon tank showcases sharks, rays, and other marine life that live close to shore. Explore Preuss Tide-Pool Plaza, featuring three, living tide-pool displays where visitors can touch and learn about tidepool animals with docents. If you want to “sea” life in a whole new way, visit the Birch Aquarium.
So this is a lot cheaper than say Long Beach aquarium, but you kind of get what you pay for. I feel like there is... really not a ton to see or do. I was disappointed with the shark enclosure, but did like the tide pool touch area and where it was located was very beautiful because you can look out over the ocean. I did like the huge fish tank, sea turtle and sea horses, but the aquarium is pretty small as a whole and it doesn’t take that long to get through everything.If you are just wanting something economical to do for an hour or so, it is okay.read more
such a fun little aquarium! I highly reccomend coming. They are very conservation focused and the whole experience was... very educational. I love learning about the research work different institutions do and Scripps aquarium exceeded my expectations.Come see some cool aquatic animals and specimen and learn about them. Also, at the time of this review they do still require masks as a heads up.read more
Always a good time herePlenty of cool fish and other exotic sea creatures to stare at and learn about.Lots of local... fish habits, which is always nice for the kids to learn about what's in the waters when they go out.The tide pools, jellyfish, and giant fish tank were all the kids favorites.They've taken out there jungle gym, so they were kind of bummed there, hopefully they'll be replacing the space with some of cool activities.You still need to make reservations, but we'll worth it as this place could easily get overcrowded in the past.read more
Amazing place for the young and old! The ocean is such a wild place, it's a guarantee you will see or experience... something new here! I am particularly fond of the tide pool, where you can get up close with certain critters and touch em! The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, facilities are clean as well. Well worth the price!read more
This aquarium is really cute. We enjoyed our visit. Reading the reviews, a lot of people spoke about how spectacular... the seahorse exhibit is, but we were not impressed by this at all. It was tiny and only a few animals inside. Not sure what the hype was over that. Overall it was a fun visit. Lots of reviewers complained about it being too small, but really it was quite impressive for being a smaller aquarium. Staff is friendly. Facility is clean. Nice place to take the kids.read more
Me and my daughter celebrated our reunion. This is one of the place we chose to go. Thank you so Much for giving us an... awesome experience. We really enjoyed all of the sea creatures and we enjoyed our quality time together and sharing it with this place. We got to meet Leslee and She talked with us for a while and gave us some information on the sea horses and that was so awesome. If it's a pleasure to meet her. we also had fun petting all of the sea creatures. A definitely recommend this place as a must visit. If customer service here was good quality done in excellence excellenceread more
I'm from Long Beach and might be biased, so take this with a grain of salt. The aquarium is quite nice for its size.... The giant kelp forest is what I enjoyed the most. The shark pool is a bit disappointing as I would expect to see more than just rays and leopard sharks.It would be nice if there was staff around to manage the flow of traffic and keep some of the parents in line, specifically the ones who let their children roam freely. The corridors are narrow and some of the families there would hold up the path, creating a large crowd and lots of foot traffic.Had around 3-4 children squeeze past and kinda force my girlfriend and me aside. Their parents didn't do anything about it and just let them do whatever they want.There was a mother and daughter in front of us, and I felt really sorry for them because they waited a really long time just to see some of the exhibits. This couple and their 3-4 kids stood at the octopus/jellyfish tank for 10-15 minutes because it came out of hiding and started moving. By the time the mother and daughter, had any room to move up to see it, the octopus was hidden.Not the aquarium's fault, but I think having some staff around to supervise some of the area's would improve the experience for many individuals and small groups.read more
Were there for about 1 1/2 hours. Very strict with masks. Lots of seahorses and fish. No big sharks but still was fun.... Great views of the ocean out back. Gives senior discounts and reduced price for kids. Well worth the entry fee.read more
I love aquariums! This is definitely not the biggest I've been to but one of my favorites. I love that they layout the... aquarium based on location so you see the similarities and transitions of species based on the change in water temperature and environment.While visiting I overheard one woman racing through the aquarium with her kids talking to someone on her phone "complaining" about the minimal cost of a visit because there's "only like an hour with of things to see". If she would have put down her phone to enjoy and explore she might have realized what a crazy value it is to visit! I spent a good 3-4 hours going through the whole aquarium and enjoying the additional exhibits like the tide pools and the educational displays.Make sure to spend some extra time enjoying the giant local kelp forest tank that takes up an entire 2 story wall, and my favorite the seahorse and seadragon exhibit!read more
I love visiting aquariums and I don’t know if I just had too high of expectations, but I wasn’t very satisfied with my... experience. I decided to go based on the positive reviews but I honestly didn’t think it was worth the $20 for admission. There was not much to see; it was mostly just small fish. It took me less than an hour to see everything. However, it was pretty clean and staff were kind and helpful.read more
We loved the view and the huge fish tank inside the Aquarium. It has potential to become bigger and offer way more, as... it only has one activity (touching some fish) but overall we had a fun and relaxing time. They do participate in the Museums for All program. Must call to schedule an appointment during Covid times.read more
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS AQUARIUM! It was my first time visiting it and I had a blast. I really enjoyed seeing all the... sea animals. My favorite was the Atlantic Giant Octopus and the Kelp forest was beautiful! There is plenty of parking. They also have small tide pools where you can touch anenomies, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and SHARK EGGS! Oh and the outside view, WOW. My breath was taken away. Overall, 10/10, this place is perfect for kids and all who love the ocean.read more
I recommend you take your time observing all of the sea life. It's easy to just glide through the aquarium but you end... up doing yourself a disservice. Alot of these fish have unique personalities and are really interesting if you stop and observe each and every one of them.read more
We had a great day at the aquarium. The kids really enjoyed it all, they said their favorite part was seeing the... octopus. They claim to not like touching the sea cucumber, but it's definitely something they'll remember. We purchased a membership so we can come back again next time we're in town. We felt very safe since they limit the amount of guests and require reservations. Can't wait to come back!read more
Great place to explore and learn about our oceans & some of the wonders of the world. My husband & I are San Diego... locals, he's never been and this Friday is his birthday (30+yrs) gave reference cause it's an awesome place for children no doubt, but I believe if your open to exploring adults will love it all the same. Favorite part is getting to touch & interact with sea life. I would definitely say this place is worth going to at least once in your life.Had a blast.read more
Nice to be out and about. Aquarium was not crowded at all. We were able to see all exhibits without waiting in lines.... Kids loved it.They also had hand sanitizing stations thought the aquarium. 👍🏼👍🏼read more
Very exciting area for every age. a whole lot of thrilling statistics can be located about Ocean and the life in it.... apart from famous there are water playground in which kids and adults will have amusing.read more
We ranged in age from 9 to 61 and we all learned so much about the sea life off the coast of San Diego. We were able to... touch rays, sharks, anemones, and more - very fun Sunday explore day. I recommend it for babies on up.read more
Short and sweet outdoor exhibits offered during covid, which was awesome! The crew members were absolutely amazing and... so so nice and informative throughout the experience and also made the entire experience feel very covid-safe. They (Matt especially!) genuinely expressed an urge to share their knowledge which made it really enjoyable (:read more
If you are planning a field trip or an activity this is a great place to visit for children or those who are fascinated... by nature. I've been here a couple of times, one was during a field trip for school and the other was with some friends. Admission is a bit expensive though, I think there are certain days where admission is free, but those days it will be very busy and a lot of people may block the exhibits. There are lots of exhibits to explore and it is a great learning opportunity as well.read more
Great Aquarium! Its cute, clean and the staff is friendly. The gift shop is adorable. It's not a huge aquarium with... large fish but it does have some very neat fish in it: sharks, rays, many species of tropical fish, several species of coral, sea dragons, puffer fish, seahorses...the touch tanks are a lot of fun as well! It's very educational and also a lot of fun. We went with a 7 and 4 yr old and they absolutely loved it. Didn't want to leave. The view from outside (touch tanks, etc.) is gorgeous too! I highly recommend! The proceeds from the aquarium fund a lot of research in our oceans and sea life, so your money is also going towards an awesome cause.read more
Was way smaller than I expected, the whole experience can be done in about an hour pretty easily. But it was a fun... hour and the kids all seemed to really enjoy the exhibits and the touch pool areas. The Halloween decorations were nice but really more of a gimmick than an actual experience. Overall a fun little trip, just don't go in with high expectations and you'll be fine.read more
Loved the decor for Halloween and how Birch outlined a path with 6ft distance markers, all related to sea creatures of... course. Super cute, Birch! They also limited the amount of guests in the aquarium for safety. Went with my partner, her nephews and parents. the boys were definitely intrigued by the sea life. My favorite sections are the jelly fish, sea horses and getting to pet the baby leopard shark and sting rays!read more
Among smaller aquariums this one is one of the best! Their aquariums are well cared for and offer a great opportunity... to see some cool animals and even some rare animals. I've been a fish keeper the majority of my life and anytime I visit a new city I always research and visit the public aquariums. The point being that I've seen many and this is a cut above the rest.read more
(For Covid-19 changes)You have to order your tickets online which give a specific time for your visit. You can come... about fifteen minutes before your time starts to check in and enjoy yourselves. With customer crossed control thanks to the tickets, it's pretty quiet. Mild sound from others talking if you're close to others, but it's not overwhelming, and it was (myself included) ten people in their largest aquarium room.The place is kept clean, and the fish were precious/ some knew what people wanted and I swear they would swim slowly or hover to get their photos taken. If you take photos or like to take your time, it's well worth the visit right now.read more
Beautiful aquariums! Free parking. Easy to find. Not crowded at all. Right now, you must pre purchase tickets... for a specific time, but still no big deal. Lots of small aquariums, and several large aquariums. 2 massive aquariums. A couple of small touching aquariums, including baby sharks. Overall, a great experience. Spent a couple hours here. Basically 20 dollars per person for adults. Gift shop and good sized snack/ grill shop.read more
My 9 year old grandson loved this place! Of all the places we visited in Hollywood and San Diego, this was his... favorite. Close up aquariums with lots of ocean fish! Educational to boot! Highly recommend.read more
Honestly this is a beautiful view. However this is more for young children, I recommend it for smaller children. It's a... quick aquarium with a lot of little cute creatures but not for 11 and up who have been to bigger aquariums. Get boring quickly.read more
This is a really nice small aquarium. We purchased the annual membership because it paid for itself with only a couple... visits. The kids always enjoy coming here. Parking is free, which is a big plus too.read more
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A Google User
14:20 30 May 20
If you’re on your own you’ll see everything in 90 minutes. The exhibits are thoughtful and beautiful, however... everything is small. The best part was easily the sea horse exhibit. I had no idea they grew so big. Overall I’m glad I went and perhaps if I had small children I would feel differently. I had a good experience.read more
This place is lovely and great for young kids. They have many interactive stations that little ones can stay... entertained with. It is definitely not a big aquarium, but I think that adds to the charm of it all. Unlike Sea World, you don't have to pay an arm, a leg, and set aside 3 days to see it. My family and I toured the whole thing in about two and a half hours. The staff was very friendly and informative. They also have a wide range of animals, and the view from their tide pool area is a must see!read more
Very affordable and a fantastic experience. They even have a nice shore pool area outside where you can get a hands-on... experience with some of the aquatic life. Great for both kids and adults. One of the few aquariums in the US who have Leafy Seadragons on display!read more
After reading the review about this being 10 minutes to walk through I was a little hesitant. I definitely recommend... visiting this aquarium! They have a lot of sea life native to the area and then a lot of aquariums from other areas as well. They have an educational section for kids to learn about sea life as well as human impact on the environment. Beautiful aquariums and educational. It was neat to see the different animals eat, as we were fortunate enough to visit at feeding time.read more
Better for kids, not adults.I came here by myself and it took me about 30 minutes to get through the entire aquarium,... that includes reading all the exhibit information.The aquarium itself is very nice. There's outdoor tide pools, a cafe by the entrance, and it has a beautiful view of La Jolla.read more
A really great experience! You feel immersed in the ocean, see wonderful sea creatures and get to know about the sea... around California. Sitting in front of the big kelp wood aquarium enjoying the fish and the movement of the water alone was worth the visit, but there is so much more to be seen.read more
Birch Aquarium is well worth the visit. It's not huge which makes it great for kids I think. A beautiful location... with ocean views and interesting exhibits. The staff was very knowledgeable and friendly. These is also parking.read more
Very interesting place for all ages. A lot of interesting facts can be discovered about Ocean and the life in it. Other... than exhibits there are water playground where kids and adults can have fun. Outside there is a tide pools. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Tickets are expensive ☹️ from $15 to $20, depends on age.Parking is free and in walking distance from the entrance.read more
Most guests find that two to three hours is the right amount of time to visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps. You can also use our daily schedule to learn more about what is happening on the day of your visit.
QIs there a place to store my belongings?
Birch Aquarium at Scripps does not provide storage for personal belongings.
QCan I bring food and drinks into the aquarium?
Food and beverages are permitted inside Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Guests are welcome to bring a picnic lunch or purchase coffee, snacks, or a delicious meal from Splash Cafe by The French Gourmet.