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Birch Aquarium at Scripps


Explore where the wonders of the ocean come alive! Open daily from 9:00am – 5:00pm, the Birch Aquarium is located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. Birch has so many great exhibits you won’t know where to start! How about walking through the Hall of Fishes, where every kind of fish you’ve ever imagined swims before your eyes? Or checkout ElasmoBeach and meet La Jolla’s legendary leopard sharks and other species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) that make their home in local waters. Birch’s 13,000-gallon tank showcases sharks, rays, and other marine life that live close to shore. Birch offers a wide range of visitor-focused activities where guests of all ages can come together to learn about our natural world.

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San Diego Tidepooling Adventures 

Visit a local tide pool to learn how these amazing habitats and their inhabitants truly survive “between a rock and a hard place.” This is the optimal season for tidepooling is November – March whan minus tides reveal wider beaches and tide pools teeming with life. During those months, you can sign up for a Tidepooling Adventure where our trained naturalists will show you how to tread lightly during your visit and help you discover the wonderful world of tide pools. Ages 2+. Ages 2-13 must be accompanied by a paid adult.

  • December 62:30–4:30 p.m, False Point
  • December 20: 1:30–3:30 p.m., Dike Rock
  • December 21: 2–4 p.m., False Point
  • January 4: 2–4 p.m., Dike Rock
  • January 18: 1–3 p.m., False Point
  • January 31: 1–3 p.m., Dike Rock
  • February 15: 12–2 p.m., False Point


There’s Something About Seahorses

Saddle up for a close encounter with the sea’s most captivating creatures. There’s Something About Seahorses features more than a dozen seahorse species and their kin, including curious pipefish and breathtaking seadragons. Through interactive displays and up-close animal encounters, visitors will: • investigate what makes the seahorse a fish • learn how seahorse males get pregnant and give birth • visit babies in a special seahorse nursery • explore how seahorses have adapted to their coastal habitats • journey with Scripps researchers studying the evolutionary path of seadragons • discover how Birch Aquarium at Scripps is helping to conserve this threatened creature • learn how you can help

Mexican Seas

Mexican Seas | Mares Mexicanos features the awe-inspiring photography and fascinating research of Octavio Aburto, assistant professor of marine ecology at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

The exhibit takes visitors on an intimate photographic journey to four unique biodiversity hot spots in Mexican waters and offers stunning views of the marine life that thrives in these protected areas. His photographs, and the corresponding conservation stories, capture “the art of science” and seek to inspire ocean stewardship.

Boundless Energy

Get charged up about the future of energy at Birch Aquarium at Scripps! Boundless Energy is a new interactive exhibit that celebrates the innovative ways we can use natural forces to power our lives. Discover how we can harness the renewable energy of the wind, sun and waves to assure a bright future for us all—one with clear skies, clean water, and healthy oceans.

Feeling the Heat: Climate Challenge

Experience Birch Aquarium’s award-winning exhibit presenting the science of global climate change, backed by a half century of groundbreaking research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


Meet La Jolla’s legendary leopard sharks and other species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) that make their home in local waters. We’re transforming our 13,000-gallon Shark Reef into a showcase of 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.

Hall of Fishes

Discover a stunning variety of Pacific marine life as you travel through theArthur M. and Kate F. Tode Hall of Fishes. Showcasing sea life from more than 60 habitats, your journey begins with the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest along the California coast before heading down to the tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. Explore interactive, digital panels about the giant Pacific octopus and the San Diego Bay. Midway through your journey, a large 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank filled with magnificent marine animals will captivate you as you watch from a specially designed viewing gallery.

Coral Displays

Coral reefs are fascinating and valuable ocean ecosystems, prized for their beauty and diversity. Although scientists are just beginning to understand their complex biology and ecology, coral reefs are being destroyed at an alarming rate. About 16% of the world’s reefs have been lost in the last five years alone, and another 25% are severely degraded. To help reverse centuries of damage, scientists are racing to understand how coral reefs work, and what’s troubling them.

Tide-Pool Display

Explore Preuss Tide-Pool Plaza, featuring three, living tide-pool displays where visitors can touch and learn about tide-pool animals with docents. Windows in the habitats provide up-close views of brilliant seastars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and other unique animals local to San Diego’s tide pools.

Whales: Voices in the Sea

Unlock the mysteries of undersea communication with Whales: Voices in the Sea, a traveling exhibit on loan from Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to coincide with San Diego’s gray whale migration season mid-December through March. (858) 534-3474 or visit Public transit bus route #101 Click here for a map to Birch Aquarium.

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