Birch Aquarium at Scripps

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Birch Aquarium

at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Dive into the world of sharks, seahorses and coral reefs at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Perched on a bluff above the Pacific and featuring more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates, the aquarium hosts daily animal-feeding and hands-on educational visitor activities.

Current exhibits include the colorful “Hall of Fishes,” featuring a two-story Giant Kelp Forest and a rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle and much more ranging from sea life native to the Pacific Northwest’s chilly ocean waters as well as those from the warm tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. Midway through your journey, discover leopard sharks, garibaldi, eels, barracuda, giant sea bass, and more within this two-story, 70,000-gallon tank. The newest exhibit in the Hall of Fishes, “Research in Action: 100 Island Challenge,” is different from anything in the history of Birch Aquarium. More than a display, it is also a working laboratory for Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists. “Research in Action: 100 Island Challenge” serves as an experimental reef that allows Scripps Oceanography scientists to develop coral research techniques and test equipment and ideas before traveling to remote locations. Guests can meet scientists and see prototype digital cameras and underwater robotics before they are deployed in the field.

After touring “Hall of Fishes,” gallop into the world of magical marine animals in “There’s Something About Seahorses.” The exhibit features more than a dozen seahorse species and their families, including pencil-thin pipefish and dainty seadragons. Through up-close animal encounters, visitors learn what makes the seahorse a fish, how seahorse males get pregnant and give birth, and visit babies in a special seahorse nursery.

At “ElasmoBeach,” meet La Jolla’s legendary leopard sharks and other species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) that make their home in local waters. The aquarium’s 13,000-gallon tank showcases sharks, rays, and other marine life that live close to shore. Discover why these sharks are critical to the ocean’s health and why the area off La Jolla Shores is so important to them. Guests may also take their exploration to new depths through the Infinity Cube, an, immersive art installation that explores light produced by living organisms, a.k.a. bioluminescence.

Guests may also get an inside look at what Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists are doing to understand and protect the planet in “Feeling the Heat,” an award-winning exhibit.

Birch Aquarium also offers seasonal outdoor excursions such as whale watching, grunion runs, pier walks, snorkel tours and more. Other programs include monthly SEA Days (Science, Exploration & Adventure!) and Summer Learning Adventure Camps. Not to be missed are the living tide-pool displays allowing visitors to touch coastal animals local to San Diego. Also check out the summertime Green Flash concerts, pairing live music with panoramic ocean views, May through September 2018!

With so much going on above and beneath the surface, it always a beautiful day at Birch Aquarium. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. year-round. For more information on exhibits, programs and events, call (858) 534-3474 or visit aquarium.ucsd.edu/.

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Located in La Jolla

2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 534-3474
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Hours of Operation:

Open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. dail

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