Roundin’ Up the Year at Birch Aquarium

By Andrea Baltodano

Swim down memory lane with us one more time, as we see a few of the highlights from this year at Birch Aquarium.


January: Whale Watching Season is in Full Swing 

The winter season brings many of our favorite events, Holidays , New Years, and of course, the Gray Whale migrating season! During the month of January we saw a total  of 2,842 marine mammals. (198 Gray Whales, 22 Humpback Whales, 1757 Common Dolphins, and 865 Pacific Dolphins).

February: Tidepooling Adventures 

Another crowd favorite activity of the winter season was our Tidepooling Adventures. As the tides reach their lowest points, the wonders of smaller organisms and marine vegetation come to the surface. Naturalists led the excursions, and provided educational information, answered questions, and pointing out all the marine biodiversity and sea creatures hidden in the tide pools.


March: Crystal Jellies 

The Hall of Fishes received a great new addition on March 23rd: Our Crystal Jellies. These graceful and delicate creatures are known for containing a bioluminescent protein that allows them to emit a “greenish” glow under certain light.

UC San Diego Scientist, Roger Tsien, was part of a research group that discovered the the fluorescent protein secreted by these magical jellies glowed green under ultra-violet light. He won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for his discovery that has helped scientists around the world to track cellular processes at the same time

April: Grand Opening of the Magical Infinity Cube!

On April 7th, the long awaited Infinity Cube had it’s Grand Opening to the public. Artist, Iyvone Khoo, and Scripps Oceanography Scientist, Michael Latz, created this exhibit to demonstrate how tiny bioluminescent organisms react to audible, and physical stimulus. Additionally, we are excited to announce that the exhibit will be extended until April 2018!

May: Kickoff of the Green Flash Concerts 

Steve Poltz, Johnnyswim, and Milo Greene were a few of the artists who performed at our Green Flash Concert Series. Hosted in the Tide Pool Plaza during sunset, the events were filled with cheerful crowds enjoying local craft beer, a great view, and wonderful live music.



June: Summer Camp Begins! 

Our Summer Learning Adventure Camps were a blast this year, and were filled with outdoor activities, arts and crafts, and science learning opportunities. A typical day started with snorkeling or surfing, and ended with trips to Scripps Oceanography Lab.


July: SPF Summer- Science, Protection, and Fun!

“The internship was valuable because it gave me more knowledge about the ‘cool fish behind the glass’ that I would always wonder about as a kid. With every organism we learned about, there were at least 5 other pressing threats that affect it’s population. This stressed the importance of conservation of our planet than ever before. It was very nice to meet and interact with new people and an honor to train amongst some of the greatest marine biologists in the world. I enjoyed every moment as an interpreteen.” -Youth Summer Intern

August: The Total Solar Eclipse 

Birch Aquarium joined in, with millions of people across the nation, on the natural phenomenon of the Solar Eclipse. On August 21st, staff and guests gathered together to see the natural phenomenon that occurred. Of course,  we provided the proper precautions and proper solar-viewing eye-ware.

September: Celebrating our 25th Anniversary “On the Hill”

To commemorate the 25th anniversary for the most recent location, we asked members to submit their favorite photos of their time at Birch Aquarium. Here are a few of the submissions:

October: “Spook”-tacular time at the Haunted Aquarium

People of all ages showed up to boogie down, lean about the “creeps of the deep”, and enjoy a spooky evening of fishy fun!


November:  20 Lined Seahorses are born! 


The morning of November 7th was a happy one, with 20 new Lined seahorse babies introduced to our aquarium. The female sea horse lays her eggs into the male’s pouch, where they are then fertilized and ready to hatch within two weeks. The video footage (posted on our Instagram)  that captured the live birth was remarkable!

December: Seas ‘N’ Greetings

Scuba Santa makes his appearance at the Hall of Fishes every December to celebrate the holiday cheer! Guests joined in to Deck the Hall of Fishes, do fun scavenger hunts, and watch the Santa feed the fishes!





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Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego