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?
13 thoughts on “Family Day at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro”
Those are some great photos! I’m impressed you didn’t get a lot of water distortion. I love aquariums myself. I haven’t been to the one in Kyoto yet because the lines are always incredible, but I have been to the one in Osaka and Kinosaki. Osaka has whale sharks and Kinosaki has walruses. I’m always impressed by the quality of care of the aquariums here. The animals all have lots of room to move, and in general seem very healthy and happy.
The tanks were super clean I think and the rooms were very dark! I used my 35mm which is great in low light. We have severs aquariums here in LA but this one is really spectacular! Loved the learning opportunities. Thanks for stopping by!
I love when aquariums are hands-on. Seems like a great place and not too far from home for us. I’ll have to add it to the list.
It’s great that there are still free places to explore with young kids around LA! The hands on activities are great for nurturing kids’ curiosity!
It is! When we first moved here from India we didn’t have a lot of money so it was great to find so many amazing places to visit that didn’t cost a ton of money!
I used to love aquariums as a child, and I still do. Beautiful photos!
I teach in a preschool and most of my students enjoy a trip to the aquarium. I like how it is interactive and the kids learn a lot from it.
Never been, but looks like a great place to visit! I love the candid photos of your son at the microscope and large magnifying glass! I often get so involved in taking photos of things and places, that I forget to include my husband or others with whom I’m traveling!
Looks like you guys had a great time. Awesome pictures as well! Especially the one of the sea horses.
Wow! Your pictures are fabulous!! So many amazing things to do in LA..miss it! Thanks for the tips! I’ve never been but someday.. someday!!
I was actually supposed to visit with my friends a few weeks ago but had timing conflicts. I am planning to go soon though. I have been to the tide pools but not yet to the aquarium. I can’t wait to check this place out. Did you guys visit the tide pools as well?
I love seahorse. They are such amazing creatures. That is a great picture.