Living Coast Discovery Center

Pin Icon
1000 Gunpowder Point Dr., Chula Vista, CA 91910
|
Open:
Wed - Sunday - 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Walk the trails, take a workshop, be part of a camp & have an interactive educational encounter with birds, sea life & more at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Living Coast Discovery Center
Discover the Center
What to Expect
Explore & Save
Exhibits & Attractions
Parking
Know Before you Go
Stay Nearby

Highlights

Exhibits / Attractions
Tickets
Parking
Tips
Exhibits / Attractions
Tickets
Parking
Tips

Discover the Living Coast Discovery Center

Bench Along the Walking Trail next to the Living Coast Discovery CenterRoad Going to the Living Coast Discovery Center

When I think about a fun and educational way to spend quality time with my kids, I simply believe the Living Coast Discovery Center can't be beat!

Located in Chula Vista in scenic South Bay San Diego, Living Coast allows visitors to walk among many nature exhibits to see how local wild and aquatic life actually lives.

There is a wide selection of animals housed here, including birds, reptiles, and aquatic creatures. I love how the staff goes the extra mile to recreate a safe, healthy environment for each and every one of the animals.

Opened as the Chula Vista Nature Center in the summer of 1986, Living Coast is dedicated to safeguarding native species and educating the public on the importance of environmental preservation for all of the earth's inhabitants.

What to Expect During Your Visit

Walking Trail Outside the Living Coast Discovery Center
Walking Trail Outside the Living Coast Discovery Center

Living Coast is located right on the beautiful San Diego Bay and is easily accessible via car or public transportation, including the San Diego Trolley. Free parking is available in the complimentary parking lot, along with a free shuttle that takes you from the lot to the Center itself.

I’d say you can expect a fun and educational time exploring the large list of animal exhibits you’ll see explained below. There’s birds, aquariums, turtles and more and you can also walk the gardens and the trails.

How Much Time Will We Need?

When spending time here, I’d recommend that you schedule at least two to three hours to cover your entire visit. If you plan on doing an animal interaction or other scheduled activities, you may want to plan on being in the park for a little longer.

Can We Bring Our Own Food?

While you're free to bring your own food and enjoy a picnic within Living Coast, there are also light snacks and refreshments available for sale throughout the park.

Go Discover with Go Pass!
Living Coast Discovery Center
Living Coast Discovery Center
There is something for every one at the Living Coast Discovery Center. Using your Go Pass, you can see the wildlife native to Southern California. Enjoy everything form sea turtles to bald eagles. It's a can't miss when visiting San Diego.
Buy Now
Local Tips
What is a Go City San Diego pass?

The Go City San Diego pass allows visitors to experience more attractions while simultaneously saving money.

With the pass, you can visit San Diego’s top attractions like the San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND, all while saving up to 55% off on admissions. Plus, the pass gives you the ability to skip the line when visiting select attractions.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra

Exhibits & Attractions at the Living Coast Discovery Center

You can plan for a day of learning and lots of smiling faces of your kids as the center does an excellent job making it fun for the little ones. Let’s explore the details of the exhibits a bit more!

Turtle Lagoon

Green sea turtles are endangered, which is why places like Turtle Lagoon are so crucial to their survival. Turtles swim happily in their glass enclosures while guests observe their behaviors and interactions with great interest.

You can also meet ‘Emerald’, the Living Coast’s Atlantic Sea Turtle, who acts as ambassador for the wild sea turtles that inhabit San Diego Bay, every Wednesday through Sunday at 1:00 PM during the Living Coast’s Turtle Lagoon presentation.

The Aquarium

From trout and amphibians to octopuses and jellies and more, discover the animals that make up San Diego’s watersheds, as well as native reptiles such as iguanas and snakes that make up its drier habitats.

Shark & Ray Experience

Not only will you get to see amazing aquatic animals at the Shark & Ray Experience, you'll also get to interact with them directly!

Visitors to the touch pools can actually gently place their hands on swimming rays, who typically enjoy a light pat. You'll also get to visit with treasured park resident Sapphire, which is Living Coast's resident loggerhead sea turtle.

Shorebird Aviary

The walkthrough Shorebird Aviary provides an uncluttered view of local birds like snowy egrets, red-breasted mergansers, and black-crowned night herons. Living Coast takes great pains to recreate these birds' natural habitats, which allows them to thrive within the facility.

Eagle Mesa

Marvel at the proud, distinguished bald and golden eagles of the Eagle Mesa during your visit. Stop by during feeding time and you'll be privy to how these birds hunt their prey.

Raptor Row

Fascinating birds of prey are the stars of Living Coast's Raptor Row, so-named for these birds' prehistoric ancestors.

The Center has rehabilitated numerous birds and now provides them a safe, stimulating place to call home. Get up close and personal with ospreys, barn owls, red-tailed hawks, and many other impressive creatures.

Walking Trails & Native Plant Gardens

Before your visit ends, be sure to check out the 1.5 miles of scenic walking trails, as well as plant gardens featuring many native species.

Additionally, be sure to check out the native pollinator gardens, where bees, birds, butterflies, and even bats can be found flying high. You'll also learn why creating a pollinator garden at your home is also very important to wildlife.

And while you’re there, take a walk through the Compost Garden and learn how you can use your food waste to reduce your carbon footprint and grow your own garden with the nutrient-rich soils you create from it.

Sweetwater Safari Hikes

Every Saturday at 11:30 AM, you can take your family on an interactive, guided trail hike with one of the Living Coast’s wildlife educators. Learn about the natural flora and fauna and talk about the history of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

This hike also counts towards one of the requirements for the Trail to Bay challenge.

Compost Workshops

Every Sunday at 11:30 AM, you can learn about the wonders of soils (as well as get discounts on outdoor composting units) at the Living Coast Discovery Center.

In these workshops, you’ll learn practical ways to set up home composting systems to organically beautify the landscape and lessen your ecological footprint.

Local Tips
Seasonal Exhibits
The Living Coast runs a new seasonal exhibit each year, featuring animals from around the world, from late March/April through Labor Day.

Educational Programs

Living Coast values educating young people on the many wonders of the natural world, which is why they've provided a variety of programs for the past three decades.

Through various educational pursuits, they inform and educate children of all ages about the animals in their care. Living Coast is currently offering:

Wildlife Day Camps

This March 18-22, 2024 and March 25-29, 2024, the Living Coast is offering wildlife day camps for children ages 4 and up.

These camps strive to bring the excitement of nature exploration, scientific inquiry, and wildlife connection to children. Campers will get to meet at least one animal up-close, explore the trails, visit various exhibits, feed some of its ambassadors, practice hands-on science, create recycled arts and crafts and more.

Full-day (9:00 AM to 4:00 PM) and half-day (9:00 AM to 12:30 PM) camps are available. Register online on the Living Coast’s website.

Virtual Field Trips

Even if school students can't visit the Center in person, they can still take a tour of the many amazing exhibits and animals that are found within.

Virtual tours introduce students to wildlife and provide essential information on these animals and how they live. Virtual tours are designed to accommodate children of all ages, from kids in kindergarten to teens in high school.

Library Outreach

A library is a wonderful place for kids to learn and play, which makes it an ideal environment for Living Coast's outreach programs.

During the library outreach session, up to 50 guests can take part in the interactive video, which can cover local animals, owls, and tidepools. The video is accompanied by many interesting hands-on activities, which use fun methods and materials to teach kids about science and animals.

Overnight Adventures

What could be more fun for a child than spending the night in the Living Coast Discovery Center with a group of friends?

Overnight adventures offer a tour of the museum for the entire group, as well as a delicious continental breakfast the following morning. During the tour, kids will be privy to a close-up view of the exhibits and their inhabitants, as well as animal encounters and other fun activities.

Overnight for Your Entire Family

If your kids are taking part in an overnight adventure at the center and you want to stay nearby, or maybe you’d just like to stay with your family in the area, I recommend booking a room at La Quinta Inn by Wyndham San Diego Chula Vista!

La Quinta Inn by Wyndham San Diego Chula Vista is located approximately 4 miles from the Living Coast Discovery Center and boasts an outdoor pool, sundeck, fitness center, and free continental breakfast.

Featured Hotel
La Quinta Inn by Wyndham San Diego Chula Vista
Night La Quinta Inn by Wyndham San Diego Chula Vista
Balboa Park
Balboa Park
Budget
Budget
Families
Families
2 Stars2 Stars
La Quinta Inn Chula Vista offers stylish, yet simple, guest rooms near many popular attractions in the San Diego area. An economical choice great for families.
Prices Starting at $94
Check Availability

Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Lot Parking
Lot Parking
Discount Museum Tickets
Save up to 50% with Go City San Diego

What to Know Before You Go

From multiple discount options to feeding adventures to private animal encounters, here are some things to know before your next visit.

Discounts

Save on the cost of your next visit! With the Go City San Diego pass you can save up to 55% off the cost of the Living Coast Discovery Center and dozens of San Diego’s top attractions, including the San Diego Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5% off.

Discounts are available for military, first responders, AAA members, groups, people with disabilities and more. Tickets must be purchased on-site to receive a discount.

March 2024 Special: Visitors to the Living Coast can enjoy half-off (that’s 50%!) admission every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after 3:00 PM through March 29, 2024. Tickets must be purchased on-site; tickets purchased online do not qualify.

Time your Visit around the Feeding Presentations

When planning your visit, try to catch a daily feeding presentation. The eagles presentation begins at 10:30 to 11:00 am, sharks and rays at 1:30 to 2:00 pm, and green sea turtles at 2:30 to 3:00 pm. These guest adventures, which take place daily, are included with your admission.

Private Animal Encounters

You can also book a private animal encounter for your group, which includes turtles, owls, rays, sharks, parrots, and reptiles, on the day of your visit.

Contact the Living Coast Discovery Center for more details!

Looking to Save on Tickets?
Save on Tickets
Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
66°F / 81°F
Sunny in July
Aug
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
Sep
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
Oct
61°F / 81°F
Sunny in October
Discount Museum Tickets
Save up to 50% with Go City San Diego

Stay Nearby

Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown
from $162 / night
View Hotel
Sand Castle Inn
Beachfront
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Sand Castle Inn
from $215 / night
View Hotel
Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection
Beachfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection
from $188 / night
View Hotel
Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Bayfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
from $171 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>
Tours & Adventures
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Discounts Available
Learn More
Looking for Something Different?
More San Diego Area Museums