It had been several years since I last visited the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla. I think the last time I went was as a favor to a friend which needed additional chaperones for her classroom’s field trip (she’s an elementary school teacher). I remember I took a few hours off from work to join her and the students on the field trip. I have visited several of the more “family friendly” museums in San Diego throughout the years, because even though I wasn’t a mom, I would take my nieces and nephews. Well, now, as a mom of a toddler, we are exploring San Diego and visiting several museums and attractions. It is fun to take Alessandra to these places because it brings her so much joy, but also because it is educational and good for her development. And, I also enjoy visiting museums and local attractions!
My hubby was out of town recently and his trip extended into the weekend. We usually have some sort of family outing on weekends. During the week, I had decided to continue with the family outing plan and took Alessandra to the Birch Aquarium on Sunday. I also planned to visit La Jolla afterwards. I looked up the Birch Aquarium’s website during the week to get an idea of how to plan our visit and learn about their current exhibits.
Alessandra is two and children under the age of three do not pay admission. I was able to get free admission. I’ll write a separate blog post about the free admission because you may also be able to get free admission. I did not get free admission because I am a blogger or am considered media. I simply looked up the Aquarium’s website before we visited and was able to find a promotion for free admission.
Since Alessandra is a toddler, I try to take her to museums either before of after her nap. I remembered that the Birch Aquarium is not very large and figured a few hours there would suffice to see the major exhibits and the tide pool. The website’s FAQs page confirmed my theory and indicated most guests find that two to three hours is the right amount of time to visit the Birch Aquarium. We visited in the afternoon and arrived at about 2:00 pm (it closes at 5:00 pm).
Upon arrival, we quickly found a spot in the free parking lot located adjacent to the Birch Aquarium. Visitors may park there for up to three hours. The day prior, and on Sunday morning, as well as during the drive to the Birch Aquarium, I was explaining to Alessandra where we would be going for the day and what we were going to see. I know she understand lots of the things we tell her. She understands what a fish is and has seen them at Sea World and in fish tanks, as well as in books and television, plus she has a few fish toys. When we walked towards the entrance, her little face lit up when she saw the huge whales at the fountain!
I took our stroller into the Aquarium, but decided to park it in the stroller area next to the information desk so Alessandra could walk around with me and explore. There weren’t too many other guests, so I could easily keep an eye on her at the interactive activities. The first thing I did was head to the information desk for a map and to inquire on the staff’s recommendation on which path to follow when visiting the Aquarium with a toddler. We visited the Aquarium in the following order:
- Scripps Explorer Gallery
- Wonders of Water (outside area with interactive activities for children)
- Exhibit Court (outdoors)
- Shark Reef Exhibit (outdoors)
- Tide Pools (outdoors)
- Aquarium (Hall of Fishes)
- Back to the Scripps Explorer Gallery to read and look around in more detail, there were several interactive activities for Alessandra to enjoy
We spent the largest amount of time in the Aquarium section. I think Alessandra’s favorite sections were the Wonders of Water area and the Aquarium. My favorite section was the Aquarium. At the end of this blog post are some pictures from our visit to the Birch Aquarium.
The Birch Aquarium has a beautiful view of La Jolla and the ocean! You can enjoy that view from the Tide Pool area. At Birch Aquarium, guests can see more than 5,000 fish in 60+ habitats and a museum with research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. We both enjoyed the visit and we will definitely be coming back many more times! For more information and admission prices to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps click here Aquarium.UCSD.edu.
We visited La Jolla afterwards, I’ll share more about that visit and pictures in a separate post.
Have you been to the Birch Aquarium or another aquarium? Which museum in San Diego is your favorite?