people looking at aquarium near hotel in san diego california

The Aquarium at Scripps  

Just a hop, skip, and a jump from our resort, one of the finest aquariums in the country enjoys one of the finest vantages in the country.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Birch Aquarium draws close to 500,000 visitors from all around the world every year to its blufftop perch in La Jolla, with one of the most dazzling Pacific backdrops in all of San Diego County. Here the aquarium houses better than 5,000 fish and other organisms in more than 60 different simulated marine habitats, including exhibits that bring local waters magnificently (and literally) to life.

Scripps has been educating folks about ocean marvels for a long time: The current Birch Aquarium dates from 1992, but the institution has maintained a public aquarium of one kind or another since 1905.

The Many Underwater Realms of the Birch Aquarium

Sample the biological diversity of the entire Pacific basin in the Hall of Fishes, and admire some of the ocean’s most delicate and fancy inhabitants in the There’s Something About Seahorses displays. You’ll get to know plenty of San Diego natives here, too: the orange garibaldis and morays of the Giant Kelp Tank, the La Jolla Cove leopard sharks and other “elasmobranches” (sharks and rays) of ElasmoBeach, and the many assorted, bustling denizens of the Preuss Tide Pool Plaza, where you can alternate your gaze between close-up starfish and hermit crabs and sweeping views out over the brine.

Other Birch Aquarium Exhibits

Other exhibits include Feeling the Heat, an exploration of climate change and the vital research being done on it at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Mexican Seas, a photographic safari through some of Mexico’s most biodiverse depths; and Expedition at Sea, an interactive introduction to on-the-water fieldwork aboard R/V Sally Ride.

You’ve got a few more weeks to admire Infinity Cube: Language of Light, a collaboration between artist Iyvone Khoo and Scripps marine biologist Michael Latz that’s focused on the dazzling bioluminescence of dinoflagellates; it’s open through December. In 2018, meanwhile, The Expedition will give you a closer look at the marvelous seascapes Scripps Institute of Oceanography scientists frequent and the important studies they conduct there: from frigid top-of-the-world ice wildernesses to the colorful coral tropics.

Acquaint Yourself With Ocean Magic & Mystery at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

From animal-feeding shows to whale-watching cruises, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps has much else to offer. A visit here is worth it for the ocean vista alone, but there’s so much valuable knowledge to be gained within—and some remarkable sealife, big and small, to goggle at up close and personal. And all of this watery wonderment awaits just a short drive south of your room at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe!