My son has been begging to go to the aquarium, but our membership recently expired and I wasn’t ready to commit to another year. To appease him, and my pocket book, I began looking for other aquarium options in the area, when I remembered the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium was on my to do list (along with a super awesome hike to the Sunken City in San Pedro) so we decided to make a day of it and check several things off of our never ending LA bucket list!
The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, located in San Pedro is small, but well worth a visit. With a focus on education and research, the aquarium provides visitors engaging opportunities to see and learn about the fascinating marine environment of southern California. Many of the exhibits are things that you will have seen at other aquariums, but what makes the Carbillo Marine Aquarium stand out is the learning opportunities. You are not here to quickly walk through peering into tanks, rather you are pulled into interesting displays that really engage you (children and adults). Touch tanks, microscopes and cool taxidermy fish!
The most spectacular part of the aquarium is the Exploration Center and Aquatic Nursery. The Naturalist’s Corner of the Exploration Center is fascinating with it’s many microscopes set up for kids to get a close up view of different sea life. The kids will also love popping up inside of the crawl-under tank pretending to be scuba divers.
Visiting an aquatic nursery was a first for us. Hearing more about how they raise the fish, their foods and how they use the nursery to learn more about the species was engrossing. I never knew an aquatic nursery existed!
Even though this is a small aquarium, you can easily spend several hours working your way through the exhibits, exploration center and the nursery. We were pleasantly surprised how educational and entertaining the facility was.
In addition to the awesome finds at the aquarium itself, they facility also hosts some great events. Check out the weekend walks through the Salinas de San Pedro salt marsh and tidepools which happen throughout the year. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium are also the ones in charge of viewings for the amazing summer Grunion run. During the winter whale migration season, boat trips go out to observe the whales and visit the Channel Islands. I bet those are amazingly educational tours unlike the typical whale watching trips we see on Groupon! The aquarium really does have something for everyone.
To make a day out of your trip, pack your lunch and head over to the beach after your visit for some fun on the playground or digging in the sand. The aquarium is technically free, but relies on donations to keep operating, so give what you can. Regardless, this is a pretty cheap day out that will make everyone happy.
Address: 3720 Stephen M White Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90731
Hours: Tuesday-Friday (12pm to 5pm), Saturday and Sunday (10am to 5pm), Closed Mondays
Cost: Suggested $5 donation for admission, but technically the aquarium is free.
Parking: $1/hr to park in the adjacent lot or free parking in the neighborhood above.
What to Bring: There are no food service options, so bring a lunch, snacks and any drinks you will need.
Have you been? What did you think?