Summer Camp FAQs

Have a Question About Camp? 

What to Know Before You Register 

1. How do I register my child for camp?

Online registration is the quickest and most secure way to process your payment. You can also register by phone at 858-534-7336 or in person at the Birch Aquarium Visitor Services Office. 

Aquarium Associates Members & Above: (Date TBD)

  • Online starting at 12 a.m. (PST)
  • By phone starting at 9 a.m. (PST)

General Registration: (Date TBD)

  • Online starting at 12 a.m. (PST)
  • By phone starting at 9 a.m. (PST)

Book Now

2. Is financial aid available?

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, a limited amount of financial aid is available for campers who demonstrate financial need. To read more about our financial aid opportunities and to apply, please visit Camp Financial Aid.

3. What medical information do you require?

The health care philosophy of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps SLA camps is to support the whole child—mind and body—during their camp experience. This means providing a positive, safe, and healthy environment in which to learn and play in. All campers must be up-to-date on their vaccinations. If you are unable to complete the Health Form/Waiver form, your child will be unable to attend camp.

4. What are your cancellation and rescheduling policies?

  • Cancellation Fee: $50
  • Rescheduling Fee: $25
  • No refunds within one (1) week of camp*

Camps are refundable until seven (7) days prior to the start of that camp, less a $50 cancellation fee. *There will be no refunds within one (1) week of the camp.

Rescheduling is dependent on availability. There is a $25 rescheduling fee for each instance of rescheduling a camp. You can reschedule a camp up to seven (7) days before the start of your original camp, if a spot is available. *If you reschedule within seven (7) days of the start of your camp, you are responsible for paying the full amount for the camp spot vacated, in addition to the camp spot you have rescheduled to.

Should a camp have insufficient enrollment, it will be cancelled five (5) days prior to the scheduled start date. In this event, a full refund will be made, or an opportunity to enroll in another camp—space permitting—will be provided.

5. The camp I want is full. Will you be opening more spaces?

Once a camp is full, you may join a waitlist. Waitlist entries are contacted on a first come, first served basis. 

It is difficult to anticipate if or when a spot in a waitlisted camp will become available as this occurrence is dependent on a registered camper deciding to cancel their enrollment. If any spaces open up, we will immediately begin contacting people on the waitlist by phone and email.

Camper Health Policies 

6. What are your immunization requirements?

All campers must be fully immunized to participate in camp. A statement from the custodial parent/guardian attesting that all immunizations required for school are up to date, including the date (month/year) for last tetanus shot, is required. This record can be obtained from your child’s school or physician and attached to the Health History form. We require a current health history every camp season.

7. My camper is feeling unwell and it’s the week of their registered camp. Should I still bring them to camp?

In addition to the “Great Day Guidelines”, to ensure the safety and health of our campers, we ask parents/guardians to please adhere to the following illness policy. If you or your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms please call the Camp Coordinator at (858)967-2126. This policy will be strictly enforced.


  • Fever of 100 degrees F (38.8 C)
  • Sore Throat and/or cold symptoms
  • Coughing Congestion Discharge from the nose of any color (non-allergy related)
  • Earache
  • Vomiting
  • Unexplained rash or itching
  • Pinkeye
  • Diarrhea or nausea
  • Staph or strep infections
  • Lice, or other contagious parasite

Campers needing treatment or medication during the hours of camp parent/guardian or other authorized adult administer treatment/medication.

Camp staff is not permitted to store/carry medication or administer any treatment/medication other than general first aid, CPR and/or AED. Life-saving medication (EpiPen and/or inhaler) is permitted and must stay under the control of the camper at all times. Camper must be able to self-administer these medications. Camp staff can provide assistance if necessary.

Prior notification, via camp medical form and conversation with camp staff, of any special treatment/medication will ensure camper’s health needs are supported and accommodated by camp staff and schedules. 

About our Camps & Staff

8. What is your camp philosophy?

Our camps and camp environments are designed to support inclusive and collaborative learning, promote exploration and discovery, and empower campers to reach their full potential.

9. Who are the camp staff?

Full-time and part-time employees and interns. All camp staff are required to complete one full week of training and background checks each year. Our year-round staff are CPR and First Aid certified.

10. What are your camper-to-staff ratios?

In our classroom and field programs, the camper-to-staff ratio is at least 5:1 for ages 4-5 and 7:1 for ages 6 and up. Programs that take place in the ocean have a 5:1 ratio for all ages. 

Preparing for Camp 

11. How do I find more information about my child’s camp?

Our Parent Site has information for each of our camps, including a daily program guide, map, directions, and required camp forms. Once you have registered your child for camp, you will receive an email confirmation containing a link and login instructions for accessing the Parent Site.

12. What should my child bring to camp? Do they need to bring a lunch?

For half-day camps, your child should bring a snack and drink. Children attending full-day camps must bring both a lunch and a snack/drink. Please do not send money with your child. Campers participating in outdoor activities should wear and bring sunscreen. For a complete list of supplies, log on to the parent site after registering for camp. 

Camp Check-In & Check-Out

13. What time should I check in and check out my child?

Camp check-in will begin 15 minutes prior to your child’s scheduled camp start time. You will check them into camp by signing in with a camp staff member. Camp check-out will take place directly at the end of camp. All parents/guardians must have their photo ID to sign their child out of camp each day. All campers must be signed out during the 15 minute period following the end of camp.

14. What if someone else is going to check-in and/or check-out my child?

Prior to camp please make sure to fill out the Pick-Up Form stating that your child is going to be picked up by another adult. Please list any adults aside form legal guardians on this form.

15. Is parking available at Birch Aquarium?

Three-hour complimentary parking is available for aquarium visitors. We ask that you park in the lot and escort your child to the camp check-in table by the Education Office. Please do not park in the traffic circle when dropping off or picking up your child due to the high volume of summertime visitors and clearance for emergency vehicles. Camp participants will have access to a limited number of 15-minute pick-up/drop-off parking spaces in the lot.  

Water Camp Policies 

16. What does ‘intermediate swimming’ mean?

A camper with “intermediate swimming” abilities must be able to do each of the following:

  • Swim 50 yards using any coordinated style of swimming (side stroke, crawl stroke, breaststroke, etc)
  • Tread water continuously for one minute
  • Float motionless in deep water for three minutes

17. What kind of snorkel equipment should I have for my child?

We recommend a traditional mask that covers only the eyes and nose and a snorkel that can be connected/adjusted on the mask. Full face masks are not recommended because of safety concerns in ocean conditions.

18. Where do I rent or buy snorkel equipment for my child?

You may rent or buy snorkel equipment from OEX located at 2243 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 (Telephone: 858-454-6195). Buying equipment may be the best option if you will be using it for more than one day. Large retailers also sell equipment (Sports Chalet, Target, or Walmart). Please have your child try on equipment before the first day of camp. 

Individual Camper Needs  

19. I have two children of different ages. Can I put them in the same camp?

We feel that social learning is very important in camp. To maintain the program-quality standards of our camps, campers need to be enrolled in the camp designated for their age group.

20. My child has special needs. How do you accommodate this?

Birch Aquarium at Scripps collaborates with Kids Included Together, a nationwide program that provides our staff with training and support for including children with and without disabilities. Please contact us if you wish to discuss special needs accommodation for your child.

21. My child is shy. Can I stay with him/her during the camp?

What is your role in your child’s experience? We ask that all parents refrain from attending camp. We do however allow a parent to stay at the aquarium while their child is in camp.

22. Do you have extended care before or after camps?

No, we are unable to offer extended care before or after our camps. 

I have more questions. Who can I contact?

 Contact us by email at or by phone at (858) 534-7336.