Children's Birthday Parties

Celebrate with a Splash!

From a splish splash bash to a shark adventure, Birch Aquarium birthday parties provide oceans of fun for children ages 1-9.  All parties include hands-on activities, an aquarium exploration, an ocean-themed take-home craft, and touching live animals. Guests enjoy a private classroom decorated just for your child and a private outdoor shaded party patio for cake, snacks, or presents. Celebrate with the fishes at Birch Aquarium! 

Party Themes     Party Patio     Pricing & Capacity     How to Book     Program Policies

Dates & Times

Available most Saturdays & Sundays. Must be booked at least 4 weeks in advance.

Available times: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m.

What's Included?

  • Private party classroom with instructor-led activities
  • Live animal touch & feeding opportunities
  • Festive room decorations
  • Fun take-home craft
  • Outdoor party patio time for snacks* and gifts
  • Aquarium admission for your group after the program
  • 3 hours of complimentary parking. Parking passes may be purchased for extended visits.

*Food, drinks, and tableware not provided.


Party Themes

We recommend selecting a party theme that is age-appropriate for the majority of children in attendance.

Splish Splash Bash (Ages 1-3)

We’ll be splishing and splashing as we touch bumpy, prickly, and slippery ocean animals. Partygoers will use all their senses to explore the ocean’s seashore environment and make new discoveries as they take an imaginary trip to the beach. A visit to aquarium exhibits will surely be a hit for both parents and children. Join us and celebrate with a SPLASH!

Party Highlights:

  • Storytime & animal puppets
  • Bubble machine fun
  • Visit aquarium seahorse and seadragon exhibits
  • Animal feeding at Tide Pool Plaza
  • Live animal touch** with bat stars, urchins, mussels, turban snails, sand dollars, and hermit crabs

All About Sharks (Ages 4-9)

These jaws deserve applause! Kids will get up close and personal with real live sharks, learn about what makes them the top ocean predators, and handle real shark jaws (teeth included!). Celebrate your next birthday with the sharks.

Party Highlights:

  • Interact with shark teeth/jaws, shark skin, and shark eggs
  • Visit aquarium shark exhibits
  • Animal feeding at Tide Pool Plaza
  • Live animal touch** with horn shark or swell shark
  • Shark tooth necklace craft

Sea-Fari Adventure (Ages 4-9)

Ready…set…explore!  Your birthday adventure begins with an interactive scavenger hunt and aquarium tour showcasing habitats such as kelp forests, tide pools, and coral reefs. At each stop follow clues and riddles to discover mystical seadragons, majestic sharks, and swirling fish.  A special live animal encounter will be revealed when the final clue is solved.

Party Highlights:

  • Visit animal exhibits throughout the aquarium
  • Interact with shark, tidepool, and coral reef specimens
  • Animal feeding at Tide Pool Plaza
  • Live animal touch** with horn shark or swell shark
  • Shark tooth necklace craft

**Species listed for the live animal touch portion of the program are subject to change due to the health and well-being of our animals.  


Party Patio

Our outdoor party patio features 4 picnic tables for dining and guest seating. Each of these tables comfortably seats 8 people. There is an additional table available to provide counter space for food and gift items. The patio is covered by a single awning and will be partitioned for your private party. The party patio is located outside of our main entry gates. It is recommended not to leave items unattended in this area.

Food Options

As the host family, you will need to provide your own food and beverages for your group. Additional items to bring are plates, napkins, cups, and tableware. Should you choose to have food delivered to the aquarium (such as pizza), we suggest arranging for deliveries to arrive at the beginning of your party patio experience, which is the final 30 minutes of your program. For more information about local pizza restaurants that deliver to the aquarium, please email birchaquariumprogram@ucsd.edu or call 858-534-7336. All food and beverages are to be served out at the party patio. The aquarium does not have food storage available, so please bring a cooler with ice if you need to keep perishables cold. Please see our Food Storage & Serving policy for additional information and restrictions. 


Pricing & Capacity

The base program fee allows for up to 20 people, counting ALL children and adults. You may add up to 10 more people for an additional fee. This program has a maximum capacity of 30 people, counting the birthday child and family. Please note that party attendance is not free to Birch Aquarium members.

Program Fee (20 people):

  • Public: $400
  • Member: $360

Extra Child:

  • Public: $20/each
  • Member: $18/each

Extra Adult:

  • Public: $10/each
  • Member: $8/each

How to Book

Parties must be booked a minimum of 4 weeks in advance of the desired date. Parties must be paid in full at the time of booking. At least 2 weeks notice is required to change your date or cancel your reservation.

Register Online

Book your child's birthday party and view current availability here.

Book Now

Register by Phone

You may also schedule your party by phone. Please call 858-534-7336 to speak with any of our friendly staff. Full payment will need to be taken over the phone to complete your reservation. 


Program Policies

Cancellation & Rescheduling: For any changes or cancellations, please call 858-534-7336. If you need to cancel or reschedule your birthday party, you must notify us at least two weeks in advance and a full refund will be issued minus a $50 deposit. Cancellations made within the two-week period will not receive a refund.

Capacity & Program Pricing: The base program fee allows for up to 20 participants, counting ALL children and adults. You may add up to 10 more participants for an additional fee. This program has a maximum capacity of 30 participants, counting the birthday child and family. It is advised not to invite more than the maximum capacity of people. Party attendance is not free to Birch Aquarium members.

Chaperones & Supervision: Children under the age of 3 require an adult to be with them at all times. One adult is required for every 5 children under the age of 12. You and the other adults in your group are responsible for the supervision of all children. Our instructor’s responsibility is to facilitate the party.

Decorations: Balloons, piñatas, and outside entertainers are not permitted. We provide tablecloths, party banners, and room decorations. You may also bring additional decorations if you wish.

Food Serving & Storage: Food and beverages cannot be served in the party classroom due to the presence of live animals. Birch Aquarium does not have a refrigerator to store items. If you would like to keep cake, ice cream, and drinks cold we suggest bringing a cooler with ice. Caterers, food trucks, and outside vendors are not allowed. Hot plates, gas burners, open-flame heating/cooking, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Late Arrival: The host family may arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the start of your party. Instructors and classrooms will not be accessible if you arrive earlier. Should anyone arrive past the party start time, the duration of your program will not be extended. Late arrival of party guests may affect the program’s start time.