San Diego Whale Watching with Flagship Cruises and Birch Aquarium Naturalists!


Whale Watching With Flagship Cruises and Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Flagship Cruises and Events have teamed up for San Diego whale watching adventures for over a decade! Naturalists from Birch Aquarium narrate each of the educational expeditions, which happen twice daily through mid-April. We were invited to take one such cruise, and our daughter and her grandpa had a fun adventure!

Birch Aquarium Naturalists Enhance the Experience

While waiting for my father and daughter to board the Flagship Cruise, Naturalists from Birch Aquarium spoke with us about the gray whale migration from the Bering Sea all the way down to Baja. I was amazed how much I learned from speaking with them for just a few minutes. My father said the narration continued on the boat throughout the whale watching trip.

What To Expect From A San Diego Whale Watching Trip

Aside from seeing gray whales, my father and daughter saw a seal, sea lions, dolphins, and different species of birds. The Flagship San Diego whale watching cruises are about 3 1/2 hours in length, and the boat ventures somewhere around 3 miles out to sea. The Naturalists from Birch Aquarium at Scripps said that they can normally spot gray whales closer to shore during the beginning of the season (December/January), and that they normally travel farther out during the mid to later part of the season.

What To Bring On The Trip

Some things you might want to plan to bring on a San Diego whale watching trip are a warm jacket, mittens, cap, camera, binoculars, and sunglasses. If you’re prone to motion sickness, it might be smart to take motion sickness medication prior to boarding. Chewing on ginger is also suppose to help ease motion sickness, so it might also be good to bring some along.

Flagship Cruises and Events allows you to take snacks in a soft snack bag (no hard coolers). You can also purchase snacks and beverages on the boat.

Where, When, & Pricing

Daily whale watching with Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises embark from the foot of Navy Pier, at 990 North Harbor Dr., in downtown San Diego. Easy parking is available next to The Midway Museum, just steps away from the Navy Pier, at $10 for 10 hours. Other parking is available at 5 Star Parking, at the corner of Broadway & Pacific Highway,for $12.00 for the entire day. (Call the specific parking companies to verify pricing prior to your trip.)

Whale watching cruises with Flagship range in price, depending upon age, and day of cruise. Pricing for the educational cruises are from $19 – $43. You can find a $5 off adult fare coupon (valid for up to 6 people), HERE. Reservations are recommended, and you may reserve by calling 619-234-4111, or online at this LINK. Whale sightings are guaranteed. If you do not see a whale, you ride again for free! Proceeds from the cruises help support educational programs, as well as exhibits at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Perhaps we’ll see you on a future whale watching cruise!

Interesting Facts About Gray Whale Migration

• Gray whales migrate around 10,000 miles round-trip! One of the longest mammal migrations in the world!
• Approximately 20,000 gray whales pass through San Diego. That’s a lot of whales!
• The whales migrate to lagoons in Baja, where they rest, play, give birth, and breed.
• Gray whales eat the majority of their feed at the Bering Sea, and eat very little during their migration.

Helpful Links

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
~ Website
~ Twitter
~ Facebook

Flagship Cruises and Events
~ Website
~ Twitter
~ Facebook

Discount Whale Watching Through Our Affiliate
~ Go San Diego Card


We were invited to attend a Media Whale Watching Cruise with Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises and Events. We believe many of our readers would also enjoy the activity with their families. No compensation was received for this post. Our opinions are our own. Many thanks to Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Flagship Cruises for inviting us to experience whale watching with them in beautiful San Diego.

La Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, & Children’s Pool ~ Outdoor Family Fun!

lajollaLa Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, and the surrounding area is a great place for families to explore together. It surprises me when I talk with native of San Diegans who have never been to this area of La Jolla! It is, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

La Jolla Cove is actually an Ecological Reserve known for it’s beauty and as a popular destination for scuba divers, snorkelers, kayakers, and strong swimmers. The cliffs to the east of The Cove have some GREAT hiking trails, which are easy enough to use with a jogging stroller. The paved path to the west of The Cove takes you on one of the most scenic walks above the Pacific Ocean.

Above The Cove is Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which is a very popular place to picnic. There is no playground here, but plenty of grass to run around. There’s also a sprawling paved path you can take from The Cove, and along Coast Boulevard which is a really scenic walk. From this path you may see dolphins, seals, sea lions, and if you go at the right time of year (generally mid January through early March) you may even see the migration of the gray whales.

If you follow the path away from The Cove, south of Scripps Park, you’ll come to some stairs which take you to what’s known as Shell Beach. At low tide you may be able to see some tide pools. This is not my favorite tide pooling area, but if you happen to be there at low tide you might want to check it out. Be careful of the tide, as it can be very strong when it comes to shore.

Follow the path further down Coast Blvd., look out toward the ocean, and you’ll see Seal Rock just south of Shell Beach. Out on Seal Rock you’ll likely see sea lions and seals on the rocks. A large wave may come and knock them into the ocean, and you’ll see them hobble back up on the rocks again. It’s a lot of fun to watch them and take pictures.

Keep walking past the cliffs above Seal Rock, and you’ll come to what’s known as The Children’s Pool. Here you’ll find more seals and sea lions on the beach. This is not a destination to have children go on the beach, but it’s a great place for kids to view the beach and mammals from a distance. Have fun!

For more information about La Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, & The Children’s Pool, check the links below.
La Jolla Cove
Ellen Browning Scripps Park
La Jolla Children’s Pool

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