Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Top choice aquarium in La Jolla

This state-of-the-art aquarium is a wonderous underwater world where you can watch sea horses dance, sharks dart, kelp forests sway, and even meet a rescued loggerhead turtle. The Hall of Fishes has more than 60 fish tanks, simulating marine habitats from the Pacific Northwest to tropical seas. The Tide Pool Plaza, with its fabulous ocean views, is the place to get touchy-feely with sea stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters and tidal-zone critters.

Marine scientists were working at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) as early as 1910 and, helped by donations from the ever-generous Scripps family, the institute has grown to be one of the world’s largest marine research institutions. It is now a part of University of California (UC) San Diego.