Choose from 5 Fun Things to Do in La Jolla
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Explore the depths of the sea without getting wet at San Diego’s Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and see more than 5,000 species of fish and marine life. Learn about the ocean through interactive displays, hands-on exhibits, and daily feeding demons, and observe cutting-edge research, underwater photography exhibits, and art installations.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps offers activities for the whole family. Young kids can participate in collaborative learning experiences such as Think Tank and Explore It, while visitors of all ages can enjoy the aquarium’s interactive exhibits, feedings, and shows. Highlights include a 2-story, 70,000-gallon Giant Kelp Forest; a Hall of Fishes with more than 60 habitats on display; and a large outdoor leopard shark tank. Visitors can also get hands-on at Tide Pool Plaza’s living tide pools and take in panoramic views of La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean. For those looking to save money, entry is included in a discounted multi-attraction pass.
Things to Know Before You Go
- San Diego’s Birch Aquarium is a must-do for families with kids.
- Buy your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line at the ticket booth.
- Expect to spend about two to three hours exploring the exhibits.
- The aquarium is wheelchair accessible and offers 3-hour free parking.
How to Get There
There are several ways to reach the aquarium, located in La Jolla. Ride the Route 30 bus to La Jolla Shores Drive and Discovery Way, just steps away. Or, hop on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Shuttle, departing weekdays from various stops on the UC San Diego campus. If you’re driving, head northbound on La Jolla Shores Drive, take a right on Downwind Way, and then take another right on Expedition Way.
When to Get There
Birch Aquarium is open daily to visitors and the least crowded times of the year to visit are fall and early winter. At other times of year, plan to arrive before 9am or after 2pm to beat the crowds. The aquarium is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Nearby Attractions in La Jolla
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is located in La Jolla, California, just a short drive from other nearby attractions. While in the neighborhood, explore La Jolla Village, stroll along La Jolla Shores Beach, view California sea lions and harbor seals at La Jolla Cove, and catch sight of whales and dolphins off the California coast at Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
Address: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
From $ 43
You don’t have to be a kid to love Children’s Pool Beach. This small beach is partially protected by a seawall, and in fact, the beach isn’t just popular with people. During much of the year seals and sea lions can be found on or near the beach, as the Seal Rock reserve is just offshore. Take a walk along the seawall and enjoy views of La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean.
Swimming and scuba diving is allowed at Children’s Pool Beach. Divers like the beach because of reefs just offshore, but those same reefs can intensify already strong currents. Swimmers need to be careful. Lifeguards are on duty year-round from 9am to dusk.
Limited free parking is available along Coast Boulevard, but there are paid lots nearby. Children's Pool Beach has bathrooms and showers. Dogs are allowed on the beach in the morning before 9am and after 4pm in the winter and after 6pm the rest of the year.
Address: Children's Pool Beach, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
From $ 45
Along sunny San Diego's La Jolla coast, there are numerous sea caves carved into cliffs rising from the ocean. What's unique about Sunny Jim's Cave is that it's the only sea cave there you can access by land in California. Walking through the man-made tunnel leads you to not only the cave itself, but also seven other natural caves carved by the force of the ocean.
The cave took its name from Wizard of Oz author Frank L. Baum, who noted its resemblance to a British cartoon character called Sunny Jim. The tunnel to the cave "” which once smuggled liquor during Prohibition "” took two years to dig through. Once you emerge into the cave, many more years of carving are noticeable"¦200,000 or so, in fact! Its estimated by fossil imprints and waterlines that the cave walls have been standing for up to that length of time. The cave walls are also decorated with many different natural colors from a variety of mineral deposits.
Sunny Jim's Cave is fittingly located on Cave Street, off of Coast Boulevard. It is best approached by car. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children. The shop "The Cave Store" provides the entrance to the cave every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
Address: 1325 Cave Street, La Jolla, California, USA
Hours: Daily from 10 am - 5 pm
Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children
From $ 45
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the coastal bluffs of La Jolla, Torrey Pines Golf Course is not only a scenic spot to play a round of golf, but also one of the top courses in the country, having hosted the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour since the 1960s, among other tournaments. The municipally owned Torrey Pines is, in fact, home to two 18-hole courses, the north and the south courses, both designed by legendary course architect William P. Bell. Of the two, the south course is the most challenging and in demand among expert golfers; however, hole No. 6 on the north course is Torrey Pines’ signature hole.
In addition to its famed courses, Torrey Pines is also home to one of the largest on-course golf shops in the country, and for visitors looking to improve their golf game, its golf schools offer expert instruction with private lessons and video swing analysis. Tee times must be reserved. Advanced booking fees start at $30 for residents, $43 for non-residents, and greens fees range from $40 to $229, depending on the course, residency, date and time.
Address: 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, California 92037, USA
From $ 149
With 17 miles of coastline, San Diego is known for its scenic beaches. Everyone has their favorites, making it hard for visitors to choose. But if you’re a surfer, or just like to watch them in action, save time for a trip to Windansea Beach.
It’s one of the more crowded beaches, but for a good reason. Most locals agree it provides the area’s most consistent surfing conditions. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a guy or girl, surfing is a part of life in San Diego.
Underwater reefs help create the surf breaks that surfers enjoy here. Swimming is also allowed at the beach, but swimmers need to be careful. Windansea Beach is also known for its moderate to severe shore break. That means there can be hard breaking surf near the shoreline, so swimmers need to use caution when getting in or out of the water.
Windansea Beach is located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. San Diego lifeguards patrol the beach.
Address: Windansea Beach, San Diego, California 92037, USA
From $ 99