Aquarium San Diego

Scripps Birch Aquarium and
Legoland SeaLife Aquarium

Enjoy an Aquarium in San Diego. Visit Scripps Birch Aquarium in La Jolla or Legoland SeaLife Aquarium in Carlsbad California. See some great marine life, or join in a fun adventure.

Updated July 12, 2024 by San Diego Beaches and Adventures

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

There is something so magnificent about creatures under the sea, which makes a visit to an aquarium so special. In San Diego we can enjoy seeing this sealife at three aquariums: Birch Aquarium at Scripps, SeaLife Aquarium at Legoland in Carlsbad, and in our San Diego waters too, such as La Jolla Bay off of La Jolla Shores beach, or the various tide pools in San Diego.

All of these have different things to offer, but you are sure to have a great visit at an aquarium, and you don't have to worry about rain or tides. Come and enjoy!

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Premier Aquarium in San Diego

View of Pacific Ocean from Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Birch Aquarium at Scripps in a premier aquarium in San Diego community of La Jolla, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla. Learn about kelp, sharks, tidepools and much more. The aquarium is associated with UCSD and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scientists and naturalists from Scripps Aquarium offer additional programs for the public.

Address: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Phone Number: (858) 534-3474

Operating Hours: Daily from 9 - 5. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day

Directions to Birch Aquarium at Scripps: See Below | Google Map

Parking: 3-hour free parking

Moray Eel

Moray Eel at Birch Aquarium

Ticket Prices: $19.50 adults 18 – 59, Senior 60+ $16.50, UCSD College students or staff $16.00, Youth 3-17 $15.00. Discounts of $1 for AAA members, 25% for AARP members, $2 for military. Admission to Scripps Aquarium is also on the San Diego Go Card. For Scripps Birch Aquarium discounts and coupons see Discount Tickets and Coupons. Also check out the membership options. You may be able to join for a year and get free tickets for your family or guests, and save even more!

Food: Enjoy outdoor lunch at the Splash Cafe, open M-F 11-2 and Sat-Sun 10 - 4. Or you can picnic on nearby Scripps Beach or La Jolla Shores Beach.

Birch Aquarium Directions: From Interstate 5 in La Jolla, go west on La Jolla Village Drive, continue straight onto N. Torrey Pines Rd, then a quick left on Expedition Way.

Google Map

View San Diego Attractions Map in a larger map

Click on the link above to open the Google Map for Birch Aquarium and other attractions in San Diego and southern California.

Official Birch Aquarium website:

Outdoor Adventures Sponsored by Scripps Aquarium

Scripps naturalists offer a number of outdoor adventure programs. Check these out:

Tidepooling Adventures - The season runs December through March. Visit local La Jolla Tidepools with a trained naturalist. Reservations required. For more information see Exploring La Jolla Tide Pools.

Grunion Runs The Grunion Runs happen in the spring around midnight. A must-see adventure is the grunion runs on the beaches of La Jolla, where hundreds of silvery grunion fish ride the waves to shore to mate. They return to see while the eggs stay and hatch into baby grunion, to wash out with next high tide. $17 per person. Pre-purchase required: 858-534-7336.

Whale Watching The Whale Watching season runs late December - mid April. Go whale watching in San Diego with an ocean expert from Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Enjoy the view, listen to whale and dolphin sounds, and watch these fascinating whales. For more information see San Diego whale watching.

Sunset Scripps Pier Walks - September - November on select dates. Sunset over the Pacific Ocean is the perfect time to explore the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, usually closed to the public. During this guided walk along the pier, aquarium naturalists will teach participants about the structure's history, and guide them as they explore the marine life. Ages 9+ only, and children ages 9-17 must be accompanied by a paid adult. For more information see

Snorkeling Adventures - Birch San Diego Aquarium offers Snorkel with Sharks snorkeling adventures during the summer months. Swim with schooling leopard sharks, garibaldi, smooth hound sharks and guitarfish while enjoying the mild surf and gently sloping beach of La Jolla Shores. See rays, flatfish, sand dwelling invertebrates and coastal sea life.

SeaLife Aquarium Legoland California 

Visit the SEA LIFE aquarium in Carlsbad, CA., next to Legoland California and the new Lego land Water Park. Young children will enjoy the touch pools with starfish, and seeing the sharks, stingrays and tropical fish. The Sea Life Aquarium also has interactive play zone and fun activities, and a new octopus garden. You may visit just the aquarium, or combine it with a visit to Legoland (and in the summer, the water park).

Address: Legoland Resort, One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Phone Number: (760) 918-LEGO

Operating Hours: Daily from typically 10 - 5. Hours may vary.

Directions to SEALIFE Aquarium: See Below | Google Map

Parking: $20 is typical fee (includes both SEALIFE Aquarium and Legoland park)

Ticket Prices - 1-Day ticket is $30 for adults, $25 for children and seniors. Children 2 and under are free. 5% AAA and active Military Discounts on one day admission prices. 1 and 2 day Hopper Passes also available. For Sealife Aquarium discounts and coupons see Discount Tickets and Coupons. You can also get special discounts when you visit 2 or 3 of Legolands parks: Legoland California, Legoland waterpark and Legoland Sealife Aquarium. Legoland Discount Tickets

Food: No outside food and drinks are permitted in the park. Food is for sale, or you can picnic on the grassy area outside the entrance.

SeaLife Aquarium Directions: – From Interstate 5 in Carlsbad CA (~20 miles north of San Diego), go east on Palomar Airport Rd., left on Armada Drive, then right on Legoland Drive.

Google Map

View San Diego Attractions Map in a larger map

Click on the link above to open the Google Map for Legoland SeaLife Aquarium and other attractions in San Diego and southern California.

Official Sea Life Aquarium website:

San Diego Tidepools  Nature's Free Aquarium in San Diego

If you enjoy the aquariums in San Diego, you might also enjoy visiting the San Diego tide pools. The tidepools are an opportunity to see sea life in a completely natural setting. Tidepools are best explored at low minus tides during the tidepooling season November - March. Check out the San Diego Tide Pools in San Diego, La Jolla, and North County.

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