Cabrillo Marine Aquarium San Pedro is a beautiful aquarium located near the entrance to the Los Angeles Harbor. While not nearly as large as the Aquarium of the Pacific, it is the perfect size to explore with kids. Cabrillo Aquarium has a good selection of exhibits and fish tanks that exclusively display Southern California marine life.
The aquarium started in an abandoned Cabrillo Beach bathhouse in 1935. Lifeguard Bob Foster would display his collection of ocean artifacts to the delight of visitors to the beach.
Over the years, the collection grew along with the crowds. In 1981, the current Frank Gehry-designed museum opened, replacing the Cabrillo Beach bathhouse. The second expansion in 2004 added labs and a research library.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Things to Do and See
The aquarium is set up into three areas, the tide pool area just off the main exhibit hall, where there are loads of starfish, sea anemones and urchins for everyone to touch.
The exploration center has a crawl into the aquarium great for taking photos of kids. A mud walkthrough exhibit where visitors get a worm’s eye view of the mud and everything that lives inside it. A Naturalists Corner with microscopes for an up-close look at marine critters.
Main exhibit hall with fish tanks displaying various habitats along the California coast. A kelp forest, open ocean, tide pool, and beach marine life.
Event though Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is much smaller than the Aquarium of the Pacific, it is defiantly worth a visit. The aquarium is never crowded, and the staff is always helpful and pleasant. Admission is free.
Directly across the street from the aquarium is inner and outer Cabrillo beaches. Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park has a walkway down to some exciting tide pools if you can time your visit to a low tide. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has a gift shop but no snack bar, so bring a picnic lunch.
Nearby Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Things To Do
A visit to the aquarium takes about an hour so here are several nearby attractions to round out your day trip.
Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion Angels Gate Park 3601 S Gaffey Street San Pedro, CA 90731
Fort MacArthur Military Museum 3601 South Gaffey Street San Pedro, CA 90731. Angels Gate Park.
USS Iowa Battleship Museum 250 S Harbor Blvd, San Pedro, CA
Address: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M White Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90731. Hours: Tuesday-Friday (Noon to 5 pm), Saturday and Sunday (10 am to 5 pm), Closed Mondays. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.