June 5th, 2018


If you live in Marina del Rey, you not only have access to one of the best lifestyles in the universe, but you have an entire fascinating, awesome other world practically outside your door—that big blue wonderful ocean. There are so many brilliant creatures milling around in the harbor and beyond, yet we don’t often get a chance to really “see” them and learn about how cool they really are. Well here’s some good news—it’s National Aquarium Month right now. So, you have a perfect reason to play hooky and treat yourself to a day at one of the spectacular aquariums nearby.

Here are four of the best aquariums within easy proximity of Marina del Rey. Take your friends, take your kids, take yourself—and experience marine life in all its amazing glory.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica
Admission: $5 for adults and kids 13 and over/free for kids under 12 (accompanied by an adult)

Image source: Santa Monica Aquarium

This Heal the Bay facility has over 100 local marine species on display and great events happening throughout the year. For example, every Friday in June from 2:30 pm to 3 pm, you can help the staff feed starfish or indulge in Shark Sundays from 3:30 pm to 4 pm to learn more about the fascinating creatures. Another reason to go? You can hop on your bike and be there no time!


Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
Admission: General–$29.95 per adult/$17.95 per child (Check out all package prices here)

Image source: Aquarium of the Pacific

If you want a truly standout aquarium day, take the drive to Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific. The renowned facility spans two stories and has so much to see and experience. Check out their calendar for June, where events like the FREE Shark Lagoon Nights are hard to resist (and really cool). You can even splurge on one of their one-on-one VIP Experiences to personally connect with some of the Aquarium’s most beloved animals (i.e. you can feed the otters or interact with penguins and sea lions for $350).


Roundhouse Aquarium
Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach
Admission: FREE ($2 to $5 donations encouraged)

Image source: Roundhouse Beautification website. Temporary structure is open. Future structure pictured (opens soon).

Manhattan Beach’s Roundhouse Aquarium is undergoing beautifying renovations that will be amazing and should be completed this this summer. Until then, a temporary structure is up and running at the base of the pier, right by the south parking lot. While it’s not as dazzling as the upgraded aquarium will be, it’s still worth a visit (especially with kids). They have both viewing and touch tanks available with some neato fish and invertebrates (like corals, snails, octopi, etc.) on display.


Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro
Admission: $5 donation for adults/$1 donation for children & seniors appreciated

Image Source: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is definitely something to behold with its historic 21,000-square-foot Frank-Gehry designed facility and status as the aquarium displaying “the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world.” The exhibit hall spotlights three major environments (rocky shores, mud and open ocean ecosystems) and offers interpretative and live exhibits that teach about the incredible animals and plants living in each habitat. There’s also an outdoor tidepool touch tank where you can get up close and personal with creatures like starfish, plus there are great displays showcasing sharks, seabirds, and a lot more.


Have you spent the day at any of the aquariums listed above? Tell us about your experiences there!