Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center)

Written by K. Hart at www.casago.comn
Aqua Hedionda Lagoon
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center)
inside Discovery Center
Discovery Center & rainbow


Carlsbad is host to a destination rich with hands-on educational experiences that explain the complex ecosystem of a lagoon. Welcome to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center.) 

The Foundation was established on March 3, 1990, to conserve and restore the Agua Hedionda Lagoon ecosystem and its surroundings.

The Discovery Center, completed in 2004, is proof of the Foundation's commitment to education and conservation. This 3,800-square-foot building started hosting public programs and outreach activities in 2005. Visitors are given a hands-on understanding of the area's flora and fauna.

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon is a 400-acre water body that invites visitors to appreciate the importance of water resources. The stewardship of much of the lagoon rests with the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. The lagoon is also home to a YMCA day camp, adding to its charm and appeal.

The Foundation has been recognized for contributing to science education, earning the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Award of Excellence in 2007. 

Its board of directors includes individuals passionate about outdoor education and marine science, underscoring the Foundation's dedication to its mission.

Fun Facts & Cool Features

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center) is more than just a lagoon or a building; it's an extraordinary collection of hands-on exhibits and gardens. 

One cool feature of the Discovery Center is the various live animal exhibits. Guests get a unique opportunity to get close to some local wildlife.

The Discovery Center also boasts a range of gardens displaying diverse plant life found in and around the lagoon. Visitors learn firsthand how such ecosystems are vital to regional animals.

Another fascinating aspect of the Discovery Center is its focus on the Luiseno Indians who once lived along the lagoon. This emphasis on local history and culture adds another layer of depth when on a San Diego getaway. 

In addition to its educational offerings, the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center) also provides recreational opportunities. It's located near Legoland, making it a great family outing destination. With the various trails near the Discovery Center, visitors can explore the landscape and enjoy the area's natural beauty.

Getting There

Planning your trip to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center) from North County San Diego, is straightforward. Here are some step-by-step directions:

  • Start on I-5 S from Carlsbad Blvd.
  • Follow I-5 S to Cannon Rd in Carlsbad.
  • Take exit 48 from I-5 S.
  • Continue on Cannon Rd. Drive to Faraday Ave
  • Address: 1580 Cannon Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92008.


There is no fee to visit the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (Discovery Center). However, they strongly encourage donating to support the Foundation's conservation and education efforts.

Prices are subject to change; check their website for updates.

Local Tips

  • Reservations are not needed to visit the Discovery Center.
  • Check the website for closings due to staffing issues.
  • Membership tiers start at $10! It's a great way to help the conservancy and visit the Discovery Center frequently!
  • Don't miss out on the live animal exhibits and gardens at the Discovery Center.
  • Explore the trails around the lagoon for a scenic and refreshing walk.


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