Our family just received an annual membership from Grandma and Grandpa to the Birch Aquarium on the campus of UCSD in La Jolla. I’ve always loved the location. Free parking, cute cafe, beautiful kelp exhibit and a back patio with tidepools that overlook the ocean. Simply stunning.
This was the first time we explored the Birch Aquarium outside of the stroller. It is so much easier to maneuver around the area without it. We brought it with us, and after an initial pass through all the exhibits, the girls were getting restless. So we parked it near the information desk and let the girls roam.
What’s awesome about the Birch Aquarium, for toddlers, is the ledge that runs underneath many of the exhibits in the main gallery. They can climb right up and peer into the tanks. C really loved the kelp bed. And did you know you could look at it any time of day or night? They have a Kelp Cam video stream here. They have weekly dive shows, the times are specified on the website.
The back patio (did I mention it overlooks the ocean?) has real tidepools, as well as a simulated one, with oversized sea stars, hermit crabs, lobsters and mollusks. The girls loved taking them out of the “pools” and looking at them up close. No water, no mess. We let the girls run around the patio to get the wiggles out before we loaded them back up in the stroller to take them home.
This is a highly recommended visit. Especially for toddlers. Even on a Sunday, it wasn’t too crowded. And parking is free for three hours. For more information about the Birch Aquarium, visit their website for special promotions to save on admission too!