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“Everyone must go!”

Living Coast Discovery Center
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Go San Diego Card
Ranked #1 of 32 things to do in Chula Vista
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Living Coast Discovery Center is a nonprofit zoo and aquarium located on San Diego Bay. Greet a sea turtle as she swims up to say hello! Get eye-to-eye with a bald eagle! Touch a bat ray in our interactive touch pool! Peruse Raptor Row and see the Living Coast's rescued birds of prey, all of which are non-releasable from injury or imprinting. Discover the native species you don't see in the city--or on land! Visitors are also free to follow their own path along the Refuge's 1.5 miles of walking trails. The Living Coast Discovery Center is a chance to explore Southern California's plants and animals on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. If you're looking for a wildlife adventure, this is the place!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
52 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Everyone must go!”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Ages 1 to 100 will enjoy this Educational fun place. There is a small fee with volenteer guides who love what they do.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank socalsue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chula Vista, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“I still call it 'The Chula Vista Nature Center'”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

I take the grandkids several times a year.
Our family have been members and volunteers for years. I have a new 'Living Coast Discovery Center' jacket, but it will always be the Nature Center to me.
It's a wonderful, hands on place to bring the family. You get to see many birds of prey that can no longer live in the wild. They are so close, and they are amazing.
The turtles swimming in the front are beautiful.
The Clappers are great, ask about the one that 'came home'.
The docents are all very educated.
There are lots of local marine life and local birds.
You can pet and feed the rays.
There are gardening areas with experts who can tell you about species and things like composting.
There are classes and summer camps.
The walking trails are lovely.
Just park in the parking lot right off the freeway at the end of E Street, wait a few minutes for the bus (it's free).

Visited June 2013
Thank Karen O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Relaxed and beautiful family friendly way to enjoy local nature”
Reviewed July 19, 2013 via mobile

Last year, on my day off on the way to another of my endless chores (groceries) with my 4 year old son, I saw the sign for the Chula Vista nature center. I hadn't been for years!!!! On a whim I said forget chores we're going to the nature center! It has a new name now: "Living Coast Discovery Center". We made it about 30 feet into the center and I turned around and paid for the membership. This place is a local jewel. No loud music, none of the touristy gimmicky junk found in larger parks. Beautiful aquariums, neat bird and non-fish displays, and good fun educational/environmental info. The staff are very nice and they sometimes bring out animals for close encounters. Volunteers also sometimes have low cost crafts for kids. No snack shop but a few nice places to eat your own picnic lunch. There are trails too but I have yet to walk them. There is a small gift shop. You park in a lot at the west end of E street off I-5 in Chula Vista.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank plmok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California, United States
Level Contributor
74 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Great place for younger children.”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

The Chula Vista Nature Center (now under a new name) is great for younger kids, 12 and under. It is small, has a compact indoor viewing area with some fish species, eels, snakes and spiders. There is a larger area outside that displays small sharks along with a ray area where you can touch the rays. Follow the trails to view various local birds, owls and some bigger bird species such as hawks and a bald eagle. They also do have crafts set up on certain days for a small fee. And a small gift shop on your way out. One of the best features of the nature center is the fabulous and affordable camps they have for the younger ones! My daughters have both attended them and request to go back repeatedly. They are far better value than the camps at the zoo and seaworld. Overall a great place. Just a heads up you park your car and then take a bus up to the buildings, you cannot drive directly up so keep that in mind if you are trying to be there at a certain time.

Visited September 2012
5 Thank Victoria M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“It has a new name, but lots of the same great animals.”
Reviewed April 17, 2013

I've been supporting this place for years, and I hope it continues on for years. This si a place that is easy to see in half a day, and not be totally tuckered out. The zoo is great but takes all day and costs a lot more. CVNC has all local wildlife and you can see the Eagles and owls eat in the afternoon. Kids can pet rays and sharks and watch them eat too!! Trails wind down to the water and kids can learn about preservation.

Visited March 2013
4 Thank jennysd33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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