Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? 

Below are many of the frequently asked questions we hear from teachers. If you don't find your answer, please don't hesitate to email us, or call 858-534-7336. 

General   Cancel/Change   Registration   Payment   Financial Aid   Confirmation  


Chaperone Policy

What is the chaperone ratio?

Upon booking a field trip at the aquarium, we provide a given amount of chaperones for free. The ratio is dependent on the number of paid students coming in your visit and there are separate ratios based on the age of the students. Beach investigations have different chaperone ratios. 

  • Pre-K (ages 3+) groups are given a 1:2 ratio. This means for every 2 paid students you bring into the aquarium, you receive 1 chaperone for free.
  • Grades K-12 receive a 1:5 ratio. This means for every 5 paid students you bring into the aquarium, you receive 1 chaperone for free.
  • Special needs groups receive a 1:1 ratio. This means that for every paid student, one chaperone gets in free.
  • Additional chaperones are $15.50 (keep in mind that this price cannot be discounted upon receiving financial aid. Financial aid only applies to student prices). This admission is available for purchase in our Visitor Services Office.

Note: All adults with your group—teachers, staff, and parents—are counted within the chaperone category.

When is the best time to visit?

Any time is a great time to visit! Explore the aquarium during a quieter time in the fall. Our prices are slightly less expensive from September-February as an incentive to get you to book earlier in the school year.


Change or Cancellation of Programs

How do I change a scheduled program?

Please fill out and submit the Change/Cancel on-line form below at least 4 weeks in advance of your program date. If your program is less than 4 weeks away, please call us immediately at 858-534-7336. If you fill out this form, keep in mind that your program will not officially be changed until you talk to someone in the office.

Programs changed within 4 weeks of the program date will be charged a fee of 20% of your reservation total.

Change/Cancel Reservation Form

How do I cancel a reservation?

Please fill out and submit the Change/Cancel on-line form below at least 4 weeks in advance of your program date. If your program is less than 4 weeks away, please call us immediately at 858-534-7336. If you fill out this form, keep in mind that your program will not officially be  cancelled until you talk to someone in the office.

In order to receive a full refund, you must cancel your order at least 4 weeks prior to the date of your trip. Anything cancelled less than 4 weeks before your visit will have a fee of 20% of your reservation total. Please call 858-534-7336 if you have questions. 

Change/Cancel Reservation Form


Registration

How do I register?

Please stay tuned as we make improvements to our current booking system! Questions? Call 858-534-7336, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. 

What if I don’t know my final number of students?

That is okay! We understand that students get sick, move, don’t show up, etc. We will adjust the numbers the day of your trip and can modify pricing as well.

What if I want to do a lab, but I do not have enough students?

Our labs here at the aquarium do have a minimum amount of students that are required in order to book. These minimums are listed in the class descriptions. You are still more than welcome to do a lab; you would just have to pay for the minimum amount of students.

What if I have too many students for a lab?

We do have a maximum number of students that are allowed per discovery lab. We ask that you please be respectful of those allotted numbers. Once we start going over maximum class sizes, the labs become less interactive and engaging for students. We are more than willing to try to accommodate your class sizes with multiple labs.


Payment

How and when do I pay?

You can pay for your trip via: cash, check, credit card, or purchase order. Keep in mind that you do not need to pay at the time of your booking. Simply choose the payment pending (cash, check, PO) option. This will solidify your spot and assure that you will pay upon arrival to the aquarium. Please check in at visitor services when you get to the aquarium. There is where we will take final numbers and can make a payment. You want to pay beforehand? That is great too! We accept credit cards over the phone, or you can send checks to us.

Who do I make the check out to?

Please make all checks out to UC Regents.

Where do I send the check?

You can mail the check to: Birch Aquarium Education Department 9500 Gillman Dr. Mail Code 0207 La Jolla, CA 92093

Where do I send my purchase order?

You can fax your purchase order to 858-534-6692 or email it to birchaquariumprograms@ucsd.edu

What address do I put down on the billing page?

Please put down your schools address in the billing information.


Financial Aid

How do I get financial aid?

Schools with the ability to show need can apply for financial aid through our website. Don’t forget to mention if you are a Title 1 school. Once you have been approved for financial aid, the only way to book your program is to call and reserve over the phone. The prices will not be adjusted if you book online.


Program Confirmation

How will I know my program has booked?

Once you have completed the registration process, you should receive an email. This email ensures that your program is booked. If you did not receive an email, it could be because of a few different reasons:

  • The email went to your spam folder (sometimes they like to do that, so check there first before we continue to other possibilities).
  • The email address was entered incorrectly.
  • The registration process was not fully completed. If you have checked your spam folder and you do not have an email from birchaquariumprograms@ucsd.edu, then please call 858-534-7336

How do I change or cancel a scheduled program?

Please fill out and submit the Change/Cancel on-line form below at least 4 weeks in advance of your program date. If your program is less than 4 weeks away, please call us immediately at 858-534-7336. If you fill out this form, keep in mind that your program will not officially be changed until you talk to someone in the office.

Programs changed and/or cancelled within 4 weeks of the program date will be charged a fee of 20% of your reservation total.

Change/Cancel Reservation Form

How do I receive a full refund?

In order to receive a full refund, you must cancel your order at least 4 weeks prior to the date of your trip. Anything cancelled less than 4 weeks before your visit will have a fee of 20% of your reservation total. If you need to change your field trip date within 4 weeks of your reservation, then a fee will be charged. Please call 858-534-7336 if you have questions. 

Can I book a class not in my grade range?

Our discovery labs are specifically designed to follow the standards of each grade level. Typically, we ask that you do labs that are within your class’s grade range, but some are flexible.

Do I need to print all my tickets?

No! The PDFs attached to the confirmation email will ask you to print all of the tickets. You do not need to do this! We will have you on our schedule.