Meet Charles Hopper – Birch Aquarium’s New COO!

Meet our new Chief Operating Officer, Charles Hopper. Charles comes to Birch Aquarium from the Seattle Aquarium, where he served for 15-years, most recently in the role of senior manager of business operations.

We thought our members would enjoy learning a little more about Charles, so we sat down with him to learn about his new role and why he’s looking forward to leading Birch Aquarium.


I am looking forward to collaborating with knowledgeable and passionate staff and experts. We are connected to world-class ocean scientists, leaders and research. That can and should be celebrated! I want to celebrate this to help our team members assist the community to connect understanding to protecting our ocean planet.

I’m hoping in the first year to get to know and understand our team at Birch Aquarium. More so, in a way that speaks to who they are, what they care about, and why. I hope to build a solid foundation for our work together. Knowing who they are and what they care about can better create pathways for their successes in bringing their passion and expertise in service to our mission.

I also plan to extend my curiosity and passion for connecting to our Scripps and UC San Diego networks. The UC San Diego system is a large and complex system that has many interworking parts. I want to intricately and thoughtfully connect with their teams and get to know the people and work that make our collective organizations so impactful! This will be key in building the foundation to accomplish the long-range vision and work ahead.

I formed my career in an aquarium, and my children have grown up in an aquarium. We have been both members and guests. That perspective to understand what we most valued as members and guests is one that I hold on to, and is what I want every guest that visits Birch Aquarium to experience. I also bring the knowledge from the operations side to make that vision a reality.

I hope to offer to our members and guests the opportunity to leave with more than they came with, whether that’s knowledge, an unforgettable family memory, or a unique experience. It has the chance to touch them in a way that connects them with our mission.

Our recovery plan. I think it’s an opportunity for the team to face challenges together and rethink our approach in a collaborative and beneficial way to all in the long run. Also bringing some new and fascinating things online.

The Giant Pacific Octopus – These incredibly smart creatures are fascinating to observe and learn about. They bring us a unique window into the unknown, the offer opportunity to remember just how vast and uncharted our oceans are. If animals so fascinating as these are right under our feet, imagine what else lives in the vast oceans of our planet.