Birch Aquarium at Scripps Quick Facts


To provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps research and to promote ocean conservation.


2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, Calif.


9 a.m. 5 p.m. daily
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days

Admission Rate:

$14       Adults 18+
$12      Military (with ID)
$10       Seniors 60+
$10       College students with I.D.
$9.50    Youth (3-17)
$9    UC San Diego staff, students with I.D.
Free      Children 2 & under
Free       Members
Group rates (by reservation: 858/534-6691)



Current Exhibits:

Boundless Energy – Get charged up about the future of energy at Boundless Energy, Birch Aquarium’s new interactive exhibit celebrating 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: The Climate Challenge: Explores the scientific facts behind climate change and global warming, highlighting Scripps half century of climate research. Interactive exhibits for all ages. In Fall 2007, the exhibit was named the Silver winner in museum design for the 2007 Event Design Awards. Sponsored by Connecticut-based Event Design Magazine, the annual awards recognize the best designs worldwide across events, exhibits and environments.

Art of Deception: Demonstrates the remarkable ability of marine creatures to hide in plain sight using camouflage. Features leafy sea dragons, sea horses, frogs, fish, stingrays and crabs. 

Major Exhibits:

Hall of Fishes : Features more than 60 tanks of Pacific fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. The largest habitat is a 70,000-gallon kelp forest.

Shark Reef: 13,000-gallon tank devoted to shark species that inhabit tropical reef habitats, including whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, brownbanded bamboo sharks, Port Jackson sharks and wobbegongs. Interpretive panels on shark biology and conservation accompany the reef.

Tide-Pool Plaza: Features three living tide pools where visitors can touch and learn about inhabitants with docents. Windows in the habitats provide up-close views of starfish, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters and other animals local to San Diego's tide pools. Pools overlook La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean.

Live Exhibits:

More than 3,000 specimens representing more than 380 species of fishes and invertebrates.


Kelp Forest Dive Show:
12:30 Tuesday, Thursday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 Sunday
Shark Tank:
10:30 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
NW Coast Gallery:
10:30 Wednesday
Southern California Gallery:
10:30 Wednesday
Tide Pool:
2:00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Tropical Reefs:
11:00 Wednesday


Spash! Cafe offers an array of gourmet delights next to the life-sized gray whale mother and calf fountain. Serves hot and cold beverages, organic sandwiches, snacks and more in an outdoor atmosphere with plenty of seating and umbrellas for shade. Open 9-4 weekdays, 9-5 weekends.


The aquarium's book and gift shop carries a wide selection of informative field guides, books about the ocean and near-shore environments, marine-themed toys, clothing, jewelry, fine art and more. Open 9:30-5 daily.


Total Aquarium: 64,157 sq. feet
Interior: 32,657 sq. feet
Tide Pool: 4,500 sq. feet
Outside Patios: 27,000 sq. feet 

Operating Basis:

Non-profit, self-supporting

Association of Zoos & Aquariums 


Sept. 16, 1992


$14 million (land donated by UC San Diego)


 400,000+ annually

Attendance from student groups:

45,000 + annually


55 employees, 300+ volunteers


All exhibits and facilities are accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Updated November 2011