Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a great place to exploring the pier, where you can spend a whole day.

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While your kids are still little and amazed by the world, while your underwater explorer still loves the mystery of the deep dark blue and its inhabitants, while your Earth-lover still wants to preserve our environment and learn about local plant and animal species, take them to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for a fun family day out. I visited recently as a guest of Mommy Poppins for their Best of LA awards event. (I didn’t win, but it was an honor just to be nominated. For real!)

santa monica pier aquarium snacks

Want some wolf eel with your coffee?

Yes, there is a bigger aquarium in greater Los Angeles, but this one is so close! And with the California Incline now open again, traffic isn’t as bad it has been the last year and a half. Take the 101 East to Las Virgenes, then turn right and head out to PCH. Take PCH to Ocean Ave, turn right and head down to Pico. Turn right there, and right on Appian Way. Park on the street or in the lot – either way you’ll pay about $12 for the whole day.

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From there you’ll walk along the boardwalk, past the lemonade stand, and to Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which is under the pier. It’s a small space and won’t take you long to walk through and explore, but if you have pre-schoolers they will likely spend plenty of time watching the sharks in the waist-high tank. No touching them!

Luckily, right across the room is a touch tank where curious kids can handle anemones, starfish, and more. There are displays of sea life everywhere—there are 100 species of plants and animals right there in the facility!

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There’s a different focus or special event each day of the week. Children can help feed the sea stars Tuesdays and Fridays and 2:30PM, and watch staff feed the sharks on Sundays at 3:30. Older children can volunteer at the aquarium starting at age 15.

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While you’re at the pier, head up the stairs or ramp to check out Pacific Park with its games and amusement park rides. Stop to watch trapeze artists in training at trapeze school. Enjoy local musicians performing right there on the pier. Grab a meal or a snack at the food court or one of the restaurants at either end.

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And of course, remember to pack your beach stuff. A blanket, an umbrella, some sunscreen, and extra clothes for the kids who will run into the water no matter how many times they whine “But I hate the beach!” (Just my kids?)

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Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
1600 Ocean Front Walk (under the pier)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tue-Fri 2pm – 5pm
Sat-Sun 12:30 – 5pm
Admission is free for kids 12 and under
Adults and kids 13 and up $5

Comments

  1. I love learning about places from you that have always been around and I never even knew…

  2. I loved taking my kids here when they were young. It literally is a hidden gem. (Note correct usage of word literally!)

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