top of page

Explore 12 Best Aquariums 🐠 in Southern California Before Your Kids Grow Up!

Aquariums in and near Los Angeles & Beyond!

Best Aquariums Near Me

(Updated for 2024) Are you ready to dive into a world of wonder and amazement? Look no further than Southern California's vibrant collection of aquariums. These enchanting underwater havens are perfect for family outings, offering a chance to explore the mysteries of the deep blue sea. Whether you're a marine enthusiast, an animal lover, or simply seeking an unforgettable experience, the aquariums in this region have something special in store for you. From exotic sea creatures to immersive exhibits, get ready to embark on a journey that will leave you and your children awe-inspired. Let's dive right in and discover the best aquariums in Southern California that you must visit before your kids grow up!

🦞🐬 Aquariums Near Me 🐙🐟

Best Aquariums Near Me

Looking for the Best Aquariums Near Me? Look No Further!

100 Aquarium Way

Long Beach, CA 90802

Located in Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a true gem that deserves a spot at the top of your list. As one of the largest aquariums in the United States, it houses an astonishing array of marine life from the Pacific Ocean. With over 11,000 animals and more than 50 exhibits, you and your family can immerse yourselves in the wonders of aquatic biodiversity.

From playful penguins to mesmerizing jellyfish, each encounter is a thrilling adventure. Don't miss the opportunity to touch a shark or feed the lorikeets during your visit. The Aquarium of the Pacific is a gateway to explore the rich marine heritage of Southern California and beyond.

1600 Ocean Front Walk

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Situated on the iconic Santa Monica Pier, the Santa Monica Aquarium offers a unique blend of education and entertainment. This small but captivating aquarium is run by Heal the Bay, an environmental nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting California's coastal waters. Through interactive exhibits and engaging presentations, the Santa Monica Aquarium promotes awareness about marine conservation.

Your kids will love the touch tanks, where they can get up close and personal with sea stars, hermit crabs, and other fascinating creatures. Enjoy a picturesque stroll along the pier and reward your family with an enriching and fun-filled experience.

3720 Stephen While Dr.

San Pedro, CA 90731

Nestled in the coastal community of San Pedro, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Its mission is to inspire curiosity, respect, and conservation of Southern California's marine life. This aquarium boasts stunning exhibits that showcase the diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean.

From vibrant tide pools to underwater forests of kelp, each display offers a glimpse into the wonders of the sea. Don't miss the chance to join one of their educational programs or guided tours, where experts will share fascinating insights about marine biology and the importance of preserving our oceans.

Best Aquariums Near Me


55 Music Concourse Drive

San Francisco, CA 94118

Venturing up the coast to San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences is a must-visit destination for families seeking a multifaceted experience. While not solely an aquarium, this world-renowned institution seamlessly combines a planetarium, a natural history museum, and an aquarium under one roof. Step into the Steinhart Aquarium and be amazed by the vibrant coral reefs, mesmerizing jellies, and an array of tropical fish.

The California Academy of Sciences also features a living roof, where you can stroll amidst native plants and take in breathtaking views of Golden Gate Park. This extraordinary institution offers an enriching adventure for curious minds of all ages.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach, CA 92066

Nestled at the end of Manhattan Beach Pier, the Roundhouse Aquarium is a charming and intimate oceanfront haven. Although smaller in scale, it provides a unique opportunity to learn about marine life in a cozy setting. The Roundhouse Aquarium focuses on showcasing the marine biodiversity found in Santa Monica Bay. Explore the touch tanks filled with sea stars, sea anemones, and other fascinating creatures, or witness captivating exhibits that highlight local species like the leopard shark.

The knowledgeable staff is always ready to answer your questions and provide insights into the wonders of the underwater world. Don't forget to take a leisurely walk along the picturesque pier and enjoy the stunning coastal views that surround the Roundhouse Aquarium.


Best Aquariums Near Me

3601 S. Gaffey Steet

San Pedro, CA 90731

For a different kind of aquatic experience, head to the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro. This unique facility is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured and stranded marine mammals. While not an aquarium in the traditional sense, it offers an invaluable opportunity to witness the remarkable work being done to protect and conserve these magnificent creatures.

Learn about the different species that call the Pacific Ocean their home, and gain insight into the challenges they face. Your visit to the Marine Mammal Care Center will not only be educational but also provide a sense of compassion and stewardship towards our marine friends.

2300 Expedition Way

La Jolla, CA 92037

Perched above the cliffs of La Jolla, the Birch Aquarium offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean along with a captivating marine experience. As the public exploration center for the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, this aquarium provides a window into cutting-edge research and discoveries.

Discover vibrant coral reefs, majestic seahorses, and mesmerizing jellyfish as you wander through the exhibits. The highlight of your visit will undoubtedly be the outdoor tide pool plaza, where you and your kids can touch and observe tide pool creatures up close. Dive into the wonders of the ocean and ignite a passion for marine science at the Birch Aquarium.

886 Cannery Row

Monterey, CA 93940

A true icon in the world of aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must-visit destination for any marine enthusiast. Located on Cannery Row in Monterey, this world-class facility showcases the wonders of the central California coast. Immerse yourself in exhibits that recreate the diverse habitats found in Monterey Bay, from the kelp forest to the open sea.

Witness the grace and power of sea otters, marvel at the elusive giant Pacific octopus, and explore the mesmerizing jellyfish galleries. The Monterey Bay Aquarium also takes conservation seriously, promoting sustainable seafood practices and raising awareness about ocean health. Prepare for an awe-inspiring journey that will leave a lasting impression on both you and your kids.

PIER 39 The Embarcadero & Beach St.

San Francisco, CA 94133

If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Aquarium of the Bay. Located at Pier 39 in San Francisco, this aquarium focuses on showcasing the incredible marine life found in the bay and its surrounding waters. Explore immersive tunnels that take you through a mesmerizing underwater world, where sharks, bat rays, and schools of fish swim overhead.

Engage in interactive exhibits that highlight the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem and discover the fascinating creatures that call it home. The Aquarium of the Bay is a testament to the beauty and diversity of San Francisco Bay and a fantastic destination for a family adventure.

Best Aquariums Near Me

SeaWorld San Diego 🐳🐬

1720 S. Shores Rd.,

Mission Bay, CA 92109

A household name when it comes to aquatic entertainment, SeaWorld San Diego offers a blend of thrilling shows, interactive exhibits, and awe-inspiring marine encounters. While controversy surrounds some aspects of SeaWorld, it remains a popular choice for families looking for a mix of entertainment and education. Witness the acrobatics of dolphins, the playfulness of sea lions, and the majesty of orcas during the park's famous shows.

Dive into the depths of the ocean with exhibits that showcase exotic fish, coral reefs, and even polar bears. Engage in behind-the-scenes tours and interactive programs that provide a deeper understanding of marine conservation efforts. SeaWorld San Diego offers a variety of experiences that cater to different interests, ensuring a day filled with excitement and wonder for the whole family.

LEGOLAND California 🪸🐠

1 Legoland Dr,

Carlsbad, CA 92008

While LEGOLAND California is primarily known for its iconic LEGO-themed attractions, it also boasts an impressive aquarium that should not be overlooked. The SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND offers a unique blend of imaginative LEGO displays and real marine life encounters. Dive into an underwater adventure as you walk through tunnels surrounded by colorful fish, sharks, and rays.

Marvel at the intricate LEGO models that add a playful touch to the exhibits. Kids can even participate in interactive activities and build their own LEGO creations. LEGOLAND California provides an opportunity for your children to combine their love for LEGO with a memorable underwater exploration.

2559 Puesta del Sol.

Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Nestled along the picturesque Santa Barbara coastline, the Sea Center is an ideal destination for families seeking a hands-on marine experience. This interactive museum offers a range of exhibits that focus on the wonders of the Santa Barbara Channel. Engage in touch tank encounters with tide pool creatures, explore interactive displays on marine ecosystems, and learn about the incredible adaptations of local marine life.

The Sea Center also offers educational programs, including behind-the-scenes tours and guided kayak excursions, providing a deeper understanding of the marine environment. With its breathtaking ocean views and engaging exhibits, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center is a hidden gem worth exploring.

With its stunning coastline and rich marine biodiversity, Southern California is a paradise for those seeking an immersive aquarium experience. From the vast exhibits of the Aquarium of the Pacific to the intimate charm of the Roundhouse Aquarium, each destination offers a unique perspective on the wonders of the underwater world. Whether you're touching sea stars at the Santa Monica Aquarium, learning about marine mammals at the Marine Mammal Care Center, or marveling at the exhibits of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, these aquariums provide unforgettable experiences for families.

As your kids grow up, they'll cherish the memories of exploring these incredible aquatic wonders. The blend of education, entertainment, and conservation efforts will inspire a love for the ocean and a commitment to its preservation. So, grab your family and embark on an adventure to discover the best aquariums in Southern California.


Best Aquariums Near Me


FUN WITH KID IN LA®: Where Fun and Family

Come Together, All in One Place!


Best Aquariums Near Me


Best Aquariums Near Me

Best Aquariums Near Me

1 Comment

Unknown member
Jun 24, 2023


bottom of page