Birch Aquarium is the public exploration center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Birch Aquarium features the groundbreaking work of Scripps Oceanography and UC San Diego scientists as well as conservation breeding programs, and interactive exhibits. Birch Aquarium’s mission is to connect understanding to protecting our ocean planet, which the aquarium achieves by engaging, hands-on learning opportunities for nearly 500,000 guests as well as more than 50,000 pre-K-12 students each year.
The aquarium has been part of Scripps Institution of Oceanography for more than 100 years, and in their current location since 1992. Here, guests get to explore interactive exhibits and come face to face with exciting creatures including a rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Leopard Sharks, Moon Jellies, Giant Pacific Octopus and more. Highlights of the aquarium include a two-story Giant Kelp Forest, outdoor touch pools that feature stunning ocean views as well as get the opportunity to touch juvenile sharks and rays, and local tidepool creatures. They are perhaps best known for our conservation work with sea dragons and seahorses and are one of the only aquariums in the world to have successfully bred Weedy Sea dragons in captivity.
This summer, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography has announced that they will be offering extended hours this summer. From July 1-August 31, they will be open from 9AM to 7PM daily. Along with new hours, they are also opening a brand new 600-gallon cylindrical jelly experience in the Hall of Fishes.
“Moon Jellies are found around the world from the warm waters of the tropics to the cold waters of the northern and southern oceans. These highly resilient and ancient creatures are made of 95% seawater! Some jellies pack a punch with potent stings and adapt quickly to warming oceans. This new exhibit is a great opportunity for guests to get up close and personal with jellies, sting free,” said Jennifer Nero Moffatt, Senior Director of Animal Care and Husbandry. The new exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for guests to get up close and personal with these jellies.
Though health and safety regulations are starting to loosen in the county, Birch Aquarium continues to monitor the situation and guest safety remains a top priority. Operating at limited capacity to ensure safe social distancing, masks are still required, and visitors will all have to reserve advance tickets for admission. Latest safety protocols can be found on their FAQ page and tickets can be bought online only.