Behind-the-Scenes: Penguins Tours

Behind-the-Scenes: Penguin Tours

Get up close to our newest residents! Explore the ins and outs of Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins in this guided tour and venture behind the scenes in our Penguin Care and Conservation Center! Meet a member of our animal care team alongside a penguin, discover what it takes to care for the world’s smallest penguins and learn how you can help protect this amazing animal.

Behind-the-Scenes: Penguin Tour Details

Time: Offered daily at 1:30 p.m.*

Price: Member $100, Non Member $115 for non members. Aquarium admission included.

Reserve Tour Tickets

*Registration now open — Penguin Tours begin on Aug. 9 

Behind-the-Scenes: Penguin Tour FAQs

When is the penguin tour offered? What is the capacity of the tour?

Offered daily at 1:30 p.m.  This guided tour lasts one hour, and includes 30 minutes behind the scenes. This tour can accommodate up to 6 guests. Each guest must have a ticket for the tour. 

What does the tour cost? How do I purchase tickets?

Price: Member $100, Non Member $115 for non members. Aquarium admission included.

Purchase tickets online, by phone at 858.534.3474 or onsite in the Guest Services Office. Tickets must be purchased at least 1 hour prior to start time.

Is there an age restriction?

Guests must be at least 8 years of age to participate. Children 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Where and when do I meet to check in? 

Present your Behind-the-Scenes ticket at our ticket booth when you first arrive to the aquarium. Participants meet in Smargon Courtyard 10 minutes before scheduled tour — look for large floor sign indicating the tour meeting place. After the tour concludes, you are welcome to explore the rest of the aquarium.

Will I be allowed to take pictures? 

Photos/video are allowed during part of the tour.

What should I wear?

Guests must wear closed-toed shoes for this encounter. For your safety, sandals and heels are not allowed to be worn behind the scenes.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

Yes. During the behind-the-scenes portion of the tour all staff and guests are required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth — both indoors and out regardless of vaccination status.

If you have a medical or mental health condition, or disability that prevents you from wearing a face covering, please contact Guest Services before making your reservations.

May I bring large bags or backpacks on the tour?

Large bags and backpacks are not permitted on the tour. They may be left in the Guest Services Office during the tour.

Can I reschedule or receive a refund for my behind-the-scenes tour experience?

Refunds are not available, however if canceled 24 hours before the start of the tour and space permits, it may be possible to reschedule to a future date.

Is this tour ADA accessible?

Most (but not all) behind-the-scenes areas are ADA accessible. In some areas a wheelchair can access but will not be able to turn around and will need to back out to exit the space. Some tours may include small ladders and/or stairs with a few steps which are not ADA accessible.  Be prepared for dim lighting and potentially wet floors.

Are Service Animals permitted on the behind-the-scenes tour?

Please reach out to our Guest Services Team to discuss accommodations at aquariuminfo@ucsd.edu or 858.534.FISH (3474)


Please note, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPIA) is currently present in California. Due to this risk, we can only allow healthy individuals with no contact with birds (i.e. pet birds, farm birds, wild waterfowl, or shore birds) in the last 5 days to meet our penguins and tour their living areas. Guests that do not meet these requirements may not be able to participate in this behind the scene tour at this time. 

For other accommodation requests please contact Guest Services at aquariuminfo@ucsd.edu or 858.534.FISH (3474)