My first son Kai has always been absolutely obsessed with the ocean and all its creatures. That’s why for his first birthday when LTJG Husband was deployed, I took him to Birch Aquarium in La Jolla instead of throwing a party and even at 12 months old, he loved every minute of it. Last weekend, we got a chance to go back, and since this time around we had ‘Daddy’ with us, Kai loved it even more.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Birch Aquarium yet, here’s a few reasons why you should!
1. It has tide pools & an amazing view.
If you walk straight through the aquarium’s lobby, you will find some amazing tide pool creatures that you or your kids can touch and see up close, and the view from the tide pools is gorgeous. The aquarium is built on a hill in La Jolla, and the porch offers a panoramic view of the Pacific that is hard to beat. Sorry, the pictures I took of it this visit were backlit, so you’ll just have to see it for yourself! ;)
2. It’s kid friendly.
Everything in the aquarium is kid friendly, and most of the tanks are available at their level. If they are higher, they generally have a step for the kids to stand on so you aren’t having to pick them up and show them at each exhibit.
Throughout the exhibits are little activities on the wall for older kiddos to engage with. There is also an outdoor play center for the younger kids that need to burn off some extra energy.
3. They have some amazing sea creatures.
Birch is a relatively small aquarium, but I was surprised by how much there was to see. From ‘leafy sea-dragons’ to local sharks and sea turtles, you and your kiddos will find plenty of interesting creatures to check out. This last visit, we loved having the opportunity to see some live baby sharks and shark eggs up close.
4. They have a military discount.
Kids under three are free, and there is a $2 off military discount if you present your ID at the ticket window. I have heard that they sell tickets to Birch Aquarium on base for even less, but I haven’t attempted that yet. You can also buy an annual pass if it’s something you think you may want to enjoy again.
5. It’s in an awesome location.
La Jolla is beautiful and has a lot to offer visitors. Set aside the whole day if you plan to visit Birch Aquarium so that you can check out some of the other things La Jolla has going on, like its gorgeous beaches, plentiful shopping, and foodie havens. On that note, I recommend the burger or half-chicken + sangria at Prep Kitchen; that place is so good.
If you haven’t yet, I definitely recommend that you add Birch Aquarium and a day visit to La Jolla to your San Diego bucket list. I promise you (and your kiddos!) will love it :)