Filming Guidelines

Birch Aquarium at Scripps considers requests for commercial filming, including, but not limited to movies, television shows, music videos, commercials, promotional video and advertisements. Please review these Filming Guidelines. Our contact information is below.

Filming Sites

  • More than 60 marine habitats, including a 70,000-gallon kelp forest
  • Outdoor Tide Pool Plaza with coastal and ocean views
  • Interior galleria with glass windows and ocean views
  • Exterior balcony overlooking the Tide Pool Plaza and the coast
  • A Little Blue Penguin habitat 
  • Blue Beach, an outdoor space featuring a unique floor mural and stunning ocean views
  • Two-lane road descending to the aquarium that provides breathtaking views of natural landscapes and the ocean (Additional approvals are required for road use.)

Location Fees

Fees depend upon a number of factors, including the nature of the project, the intended market, the promotional value to the aquarium, and the potential disruption to the aquarium and its staff.

Standard fee: $3,500 permit for filming on UC San Diego campus plus $2,500 minimum location fee.   Additional fees for staff time, parking, and/or damage may apply


  • Content must not conflict with Birch Aquarium’s mission to connect understanding to protecting our ocean planet.
  • Filming may not be possible at Birch Aquarium at Scripps during open hours (9-5 daily) if the project could inhibit or impede with our visitors' experience.
  • A full or partial buy-out may be available for additional cost.
  • Filming that includes animals must be approved by our Husbandry Team.
  • As a general rule, Birch Aquarium does not allow non-diving staff inside the tanks. Exceptions can be made with approval from dive safety officer with several weeks’ lead time.
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps prohibits amplified sound.
  • The aquarium prohibits the use of lights outdoors and excessive interior and exterior noise after 10 p.m.
  • The aquarium does not allow anything to be attached to interior walls, tanks, or exhibits
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps reserves the right to cancel filming at any time.

Filming with Drones & Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

The use of all unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on UC San Diego owned property, including Birch Aquarium and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and/or for official UC San Diego business must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Environment Health & Safety (EH&S) prior to flight. All drone/UAS use must also be approved by Birch Aquarium's Marketing Department.  Learn more. 


  • At least two-weeks notice to the Birch Aquarium Communications Department is required for any on-site filming.
  • Production company representative must sign Scripps Oceanography liability release form before filming can begin.
  • Production company must provide copy of insurance coverage form before filming can begin.
  • Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Not all requests are granted.


  • Check for full payment payable to U.C. Regents must be provided to the Birch Aquarium prior to filming.


Primary Contact 
Birch Aquarium Communications Office 

Alternate Contact   
Scripps Communications Office  
Phone: 858-534-3624