Birch Aquarium to reopen for outdoor activities this week


SAN DIEGO — The Birch Aquarium is set to reopen for outdoor activities this week.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego announced it will open for a members-only day on Friday, February 26 before reopening to the public on Saturday.

Staff said reservations are required to see the aquarium’s outdoor exhibits, which have been enhanced with new animals and activities. They’ll reopen to guests at discounted ticket prices with a buy one, get one half off offer with code BIRCHOUTDOORS.

Indoor areas including the Hall of Fishes will be closed until restrictions are lifted.

A map provided by Birch Aquarium shows the areas that will reopen to visitors on Saturday. Photo: Birch Aquarium

The aquarium will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. All outdoor activities are included in the discounted admission price, which is $16.50 for adults and $12 for children.

Activities include:

Entrance Courtyard
• Giant Blue Octopus by Jessica Ling Findley: Grab an octopus selfie with our giant inflatable octopus and be sure to use #BirchAquarium on your social profiles.
• Observe + Wonder: Guests will see specimens and art inspired by invertebrates from local artist, Siena McKim. Put your observation skills to the test as you use your scientist eye to connect with and explore the wonders of the ocean.

Preuss Tide Pool Plaza
• Marine Protected Area Touch Experience: Guests touch local animals, including small sharks and rays, sea hares and snails, while learning about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
• South Tide Pool Touch Experience: We’ll bring tide pooling to you by providing a chance to touch La Jolla locals, like anemones, urchins, and sea cucumbers.
• Artist / Scientists in Residence: See our resident artist / scientists at work! Join Siena McKim and Brian Gibson on Tide Pool Plaza as they bring art to life. The artists’ schedules will be posted to Birch Aquarium’s website when available.

The Shelia Marie Davis Galleria
• Kelp Cam on the Big Screen: As you head from the Entry Courtyard to Tide Pool Plaza, check out what’s going on in our Giant Kelp Forest Exhibit up on the big screen.

Nigella Hillgarth Education Plaza
• Oddities Outdoors: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s a … Giant Tube Worm? Discover some amazing specimens through comic book-inspired panels that highlight the astonishing adaptations (aka super powers) of ocean species.
• Whale Fall Exploration: Learn what happens after a whale falls to the ocean floor by exploring whale bones and invertebrate specimens alongside our Wyland mural.

Robert Smargon Exhibit Court
• NEW! Growing Up Seahorse: New to the outdoors-only lineup is an experience that gives guests a look into the diverse world of seahorses. Check out juvenile and adult seahorses, learn about Birch Aquarium’s renowned breeding program, and understand what it takes to care for these unusual fish.
• Coral Reef Animal Touch Experience: Dip your hands into the warm waters of a tropical reef and touch animals like cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs, sea stars and even young epaulette sharks.
• Winter Migrators Tracking: Have you ever wondered who passes through our waters during the winter season? Guests will learn about wintertime ocean species that migrate along the San Diego coastline and be able to log what they see!
• Shark Poetry by Dovi Kacev: Adjacent to our live sharks, learn about sharks through beautiful illustrations and poetry from Dovi Kacev.
• Local Sharks: Explore the diversity of the local shark and ray species right off the La Jolla coast by checking out shark jaws, teeth and other specimens.
• Shark Shores: Come face-to-face with La Jolla’s legendary Leopard Sharks and other species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) at Shark Shores. The large outdoor exhibit allows you to experience the sandy bottomed habitat of La Jolla Shores without getting wet!
• Life Starts Small: Nursery Animals: Observe young animals from nearby cool temperate waters, like clumps of mussels, swell shark egg cases and juvenile sharks, sand crabs, juvenile zebra perch and garibaldi, gorgonians, limpets, jellies, decorator crabs, seagrasses, and nudibranchs.

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