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The outdoor pool at the Birch Aquarium
at the Scripps Institution.

San Diego CA - July 2nd and 3rd Friday

July 2nd is the start of the 4th of July long weekend in the USA so we made an early start to our drive south to San Diego. We are used to the LA freeway system now and the first part of the drive was relatively easy. However, after a lunch stop in Oceanside, the freeway traffic became gridlocked and we were a little late for our meeting with Deb Brice. Deb teaches at San Marcos Middle School and has been a Teacher At Sea. We met her at the Nimitz Marine Facility – the Scripps dock in San Diego.

Through her role as a Teacher At Sea, Deb arranged for Captain Althouse, the Marine Superintendent at the Nimitz Marine Facility, to be our guide. The visit to the Scripps dock was really exciting and exploring the Research Vessel New Horizon was one highlight. That was soon topped by the chance to step onto the Flip, a long and ungainly vessel that can be rotated on end to act as a stable oceanic research platform.
SeaWorld, San Diego

One of the popular dolphin shows at
SeaWorld, San Diego

We started our second day in San Diego at SeaWorld. Arriving early we had a chance to get through some of the best rides while the park was relatively empty. Then it came time to join the holiday crowds at dolphin shows and the Shamu Show. Unfortunately the limited time we had in San Diego meant an early afternoon departure and we were on our way to the Stephen Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution.

Being based at an oceanographic research institution, the Birch Aquarium is a welcome change of pace from the hectic SeaWorld, especially on a warm San Diego afternoon. At the time we arrived the displays were going through a major rebuilding phase but there was still plenty to see and the bookshop at Scripps is ‘to die for’.


While in San Diego we stayed at our first hostel – HI Point Loma. The highlight of that adventure was witnessing a group of students devour the biggest pizza I have ever seen.

Apart from such amazing sites, the smaller US hostels make for safe and inexpensive accommodation for budget travelers.

Related web sites
Scripps Institution of Oceanography http://sio.ucsd.edu/
Teacher At Sea www.tas.noaa.gov
Sea World San Diego www.adventureisland.com/seaworld/ca/default.aspx
Birch Aquarium (Scripps Institution) http://aquarium.ucsd.edu
HI Point Loma http://sandiegohostels.org/pointloma.htm

HI Point Loma and the biggest pizza I have ever seen.

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