LA Aquariums Abound With Activities and Animals


Whale watching season is here! Why not plan a whale watching excursion or a trip to a local aquarium in the weeks to come?

Los Angeles’ aquariums offer many programs and resources to learn more about the Pacific Gray whales that are currently migrating along our coast as well as the myriad other sea creatures that call the Pacific Ocean their home. Southern California is home to excellent aquariums, all offering a full range of educational opportunities. Come and learn more about the ocean at our door as well as how LA’s watersheds and people’s individual actions impact our local Santa Monica and San Pedro Bays.


Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Location: 3720 Stephen White Drive, San Pedro, CA  90731

Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday – 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Closed Mondays

Admission: Suggested donation is $5/person.

Since 1935, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has been exhibiting the rich diversity and adaptations of our local sea life through interpretive displays, aquariums and collections. Additionally, the aquarium offers monthly events featuring tide pool walks, beach clean-ups, a SEA Club for 3-6 graders and frequent lectures.


Aquarium of the Pacific

Location: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA  90802

Hours: Open 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. every day of the except Christmas

Admission: Adults are $36.95. Children (3-11) are $19.95.

The Aquarium of the Pacific features 19 major habitats and 32 focused exhibits and is home to more than 11,000 ocean animals, which represent almost 500 species. Three main galleries highlight the major regions of the Pacific while a theater presents educational films and documentaries on issues facing Pacific Ocean marine life. 

The aquarium’s outdoor exhibits include a shark lagoon, a Lorikeet forest aviary as well as an interactive exhibit featuring LA’s watersheds and the impact polluted urban runoff has on our oceans.


Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium

Location: 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA  90266 (at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier)

Hours: Weekdays from 3:00 p.m. – Sunset; Weekends from 10:00 a.m. – Sunset

Admission: Admission to the Roundhouse is free! Your donations allow the Roundhouse to operate this facility. Donations of $2/person and $5/family are suggested.

Don’t let the size of the Roundhouse fool you! Inside this gem at the end of the Manhattan Beach pier are 10 primary aquaria, each displaying a brilliant selection of marine fish and invertebrates. As a part of the non-profit organization, Oceanographic Teaching Stations, Inc. the Roundhouse has been fostering and promoting the public study of, and interest in, the oceans, tidelands and beaches of Southern California since 1979.


Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Location: The aquarium is located on the beach level at the Santa Monica Pier, directly below the historic carousel.

Hours: Open to the public Tuesday – Friday from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Weekends from 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Admission: Kids 12 and under are free. A suggested donation of $5/person for all others. $2/person for groups of 10 or more.

This intimate marine education center is home to more than 100 species of marine plants and animals, all which can be found in Santa Monica Bay. Its exhibits, which include tanks as small as 15 gallons and as large as 2,200 gallons, feature sharks, California moray eels and sea jellies to name just a few. Exhibits educating visitors about the hazards of polluted urban runoff are also included, which provide guests with the opportunity learn more about how they can become lifelong stewards of Santa Monica Bay.


Kelp Forest

Location: California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA  90037

Hours: The Kelp Forest is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Admission: Admission to the California Science Center’s permanent exhibition galleries is free.

In this exhibit, visitors will find themselves immersed in a giant kelp forest, surrounded by the marine animals who call a kelp forest their home. A massive 188,000-gallon tank provides a glimpse of what life is like in these special undersea forests. Don’t miss the special twice-daily dive show and tabletop aquariums that allow visitors to get “up close and personal” with a variety of sea-dwelling creatures. 

Photos courtesy of  wisley, Loren Javier, Tracie 7779, California Pete, Calvin Fleming and the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works.


Comments (2)

  1. Stephen
    February 7th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Love the picture of the father and son at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

    • LA Stormwater
      February 7th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks, Stephen. The Aquarium of the Pacific is a great place to teach our children about the ocean!

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