Explore Outdoors - Indoor Spaces Temporarily Closed

This is a past event, please see the Upcoming Events section below to see possible upcoming dates.

More to Explore Outdoors 

Indoor areas are temporarily closed

Birch Aquarium is operating outdoors-only beginning Saturday, November 14 in accordance with state and county COVID-19 regulations. The outdoor spaces at the aquarium have been enhanced with new animals and activities, and are open to guests with discounted ticket prices. Indoor areas including, the Hall of Fishes, will be closed until restrictions are updated or lifted in early December. 

The aquarium Gift Shop will also be open for unique ocean-themed holiday gifts, and Splash Café by the French Gourmet is also open. 


Advanced reservations for a specific time and date are required for all guests including members. Tickets for Saturday, November 14 and later dates will go on sale Friday November 13 at 4 p.m. Please check our Know Before You Visit page ahead of purchasing. 

Members: Free with reservation
Public: Adults $16.50; Children (3-17, under 2 free): $12

Buy or Reserve Tickets

What to See and Touch Outdoors

Enjoy SEAsonal holiday decor throughout Birch Aquarium's outdoor spaces. There are great opportunities for photos and enjoying the holiday SEAson with an ocean theme. 

Tide Pool Plaza

Marine Protected Area Touch Experience:
Get a chance to touch some local animals, like small sharks and rays, sea hares and snails while learning about Marine Protected Areas.

Tide Pool Touch Experience:
We’ll bring tidepooling to you by providing a chance to get up close and touch our La Jolla locals, like anemones, urchins and sea cucumbers.

Artist / Scientists in Residence:
See how our artist scientists at work! Join Brian Gibson or Siena McKim on Tide Pool Plaza as they bring art to life.

Kelp Cam on the Big Screen:
Check out what’s going on in our kelp forest exhibit by watching it up on the big screen.

See epic views of the Pacific Ocean, Scripps Institution of Oceanography's famous pier, and the Scripps campus. On a clear day you can see the Channel Islands on the horizon. 

Smargon Courtyard

Tropical Touch Experience:
Dip your hands into our warmer waters to get a chance to touch animals like Cleaner Shrimp, hermit crabs, sea stars and even young Epaulette Sharks.

Nursery Animals:
Get a chance to observe some of our nursery animals, 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 nudibranch. 

Shark Shores
Meet the locals and see large adult Leopard Sharks, rays, and other species that live along the sandy shores within view of the aquarium. 

Winter Migrators:
Have you ever wondered who passes through our waters during the winter season? Guests will explore wintertime ocean species that migrate through the San Diego coastline and be able to log what they see!

Shark Poetry: 
Scripps Oceanography shark scientist Dovi Kacev wrote and illustrate shark poetry for the whole family. Learn more about local sharks in this immersive poetry experience. 

Education Courtyard

Oddities Outdoors:
Explore some of our most interesting specimens through our comic book panels. A larger than life octopus inflatable sculpture and our guest-favorite "shark head" will be available for fun photo opportunities. 

Cafe Pavilion 

Octopus' Garden: 
See artist in residence Siena McKim's larger than life invertebrate art on display. Get moving and grooving with prompts that inspire you and your little ones to understand and explore the life below the waves. Observe! Create! Share! 

Giant Inflatable Octopus: 
See a larger than life octopus that makes a great family photo opportunity! 

Whale Fall:
Learn what happens after a whale falls by exploring real whale bone specimens.

Treasures from the Sea - Explore Biofacts: 
See and touch items from the aquarium's collection. From Giant Clam Shells to unique specimens usually not on view to the public, there's always more to explore. 

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time

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