Explore colorful marine life featured in more than 60 habitats. Interact with hands-on exhibits that showcase cutting-edge research discoveries that have profound impacts on what we know about Earth and how these discoveries are relevant to our everyday lives.



Little Blue Penguin

Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins

The biggest news in the history of Birch Aquarium is little … Little Blue Penguins, that is! Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins follows the world’s smallest penguins on their journey from hatchlings to adults, highlighting the challenges they face in a changing climate while celebrating the features that make Little Blues so unique and adorable! 

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Seadragons & Seahorses

Seadragons & Seahorses immerses aquarium guests into the underwater lives of seahorses and seadragons, while giving a peek into the work Birch Aquarium’s renowned Husbandry Team is doing to ensure that these species survive into the future. 

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s a … Giant Tube Worm? Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections, is a comic book-inspired exhibit that highlights the astonishing adaptations (aka super powers) of ocean species.

Oddities is created in partnership with the team from the Scripps Oceanographic Collections, where millions of specimens allow scientists to understand some of the amazing adaptations marine creatures have developed to survive.  From super vision and invisibility to protective armor and the ability to create electricity to zap prey, real marine creatures do amazing things every day that stretch even the wildest imagination.

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Research in Action: 100 Island Challenge

More than a display, it is also a working laboratory for Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists. Research in Action: 100 Island Challenge serves as an experimental reef that allows Scripps Oceanography scientists to develop coral research techniques and test equipment and ideas before traveling to remote locations. Guests can meet scientists and see prototype digital cameras and underwater robotics before they are deployed in the field. 

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Expedition at Sea: R/V Sally Ride Gallery

Created to welcome R/V Sally Ride into the research fleet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Expedition at Sea: R/V Sally Ride Gallery allows guests experience the sights and sounds of live and work aboard a research vessel at sea.

Combining science, art, and technology — along with hands-on learning for young aquarium guests — Expedition at Sea provides a new lens through which visitors of all ages can connect with the global research activities of Scripps Oceanography scientists.

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Giant Kelp Forest

Our two-story, 70,000-gallon, Giant Kelp Forest Exhibit immerses guests into the world of this amazing underwater forest ecosystem.

Kelp Forests are plentiful in San Diego’s waters and are home to a huge diversity of species. Guests will come face to face with locals such as Leopard Sharks, Moray Eels, an endangered Giant Black Sea Bass, and more — no dive gear necessary! 

Dive into the Kelp Forest 

Hall of Fishes

The Arthur M. and Kate F. Tode Hall of Fishes showcases the diversity of the Pacific with more than 60 habitats on display. 

Discover a stunning variety of Pacific marine life as you travel from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest and the California coast, before heading down to the tropical waters of Mexico and across to the Indo-Pacific coral reefs.

Wander the Halls

Shark Shores

Come face to face with La Jolla’s legendary Leopard Sharks and other species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) at Shark Shores. The large outdoor exhibit allows you to experience the sandy bottomed habitat of La Jolla Shores without getting wet! See what’s below the waves before your next trip to the beach. Look for the big blue outdoor tent on Smargon Courtyard.

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Tidepool Plaza

Get hands-on with our living tide pools at the Preuss Tide Pool Plaza. Get up close and personal with sea stars, sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and other organisms that call the the rocky intertidal zone home. Tide Pool Plaza is also the location of some of the most spectacular ocean views in San Diego. Overlooking La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean, this stunning outdoor plaza is a great place for guests to enjoy the coastal breeze and take in panoramic ocean views. 

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