Field trips and classes offer hands-on learning Photo: Natalie Burdick
Take a peek at our two-spot octopus Photo: Heal the Bay
Get within spitting distance of our swell sharks Photo: Natalie Burdick
Explore unique and interactive exhibits at our public, marine educational center
Meet the Locals with over 100 animals and plants to discover
Spend a fun-filled afternoon with activities for all ages
Take your first step in environmental stewardship at our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Experience the Santa Monica Bay
Best Time to Visit
OPEN HOURS Tues. - Fri.: 2 - 5 p.m.Sat. - Sun. : 12:30 - 5 p.m.Closed to the public on Mondays
Closed Christmas, New Year's Day, and ThanksgivingOpen Memorial Day, Labor Day, and July 4th.
Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is located beach level at the historic Santa Monica Pier and attracts more than 85,000 visitors annually, including 15,000 students visiting for school and group field trips. The center serves as an educational resource for the community and attracts a portion of the estimated 4 million annual visitors to the Santa Monica Pier.
The Aquarium’s vision is to inspire understanding and conservation of the Santa Monica Bay and its watersheds through hands-on education, environmental stewardship and discovery. To that end, visitors find engaging education programs, activities and special events dedicated to pollution prevention, marine conservation, biodiversity and environmental education.
A visit to the Aquarium is uniquely interactive – the 4,500-square-foot marine center is loaded with hands-on exhibits; staff, trained volunteers, and interns are stationed throughout, ready to help identify animals on display, answer questions, and engage in conversation about the ocean environment.
During public hours, visitors have the opportunity to engage in hands-on exploration at the touch tanks - which are home to dozens of species of marine animals - from the commonly seen purple sea urchins, hermit crabs, sea stars and sea cucumbers to the unique California sea hares, brittle stars, abalone, kelp crabs and tube worms.
Visitors are also invited to learn about marine conservation and other environmental issues by watching short educational films, reading Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card® which is on display, or visiting the Aquarium’s pollution corner, a three-dimensional exhibit that charts the path of litter from urban streets to the open ocean. Naturalist’s presentations at specific tanks, Shark Sundays and special event weekendsthat include activities both inside the Aquarium and at the west end of the Santa Monica Pier. Marine-themed arts and craft projects for a range of age groups are available as well.