Reservations required for outdoor activities


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SAN DIEGO – The Birch Aquarium is slated to reopen for outdoor activities this week.

Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, has announced that it will open for a members-only day on Friday, February 26, before reopening to the public on Saturday.

Staff said reservations are required to view the aquarium’s outdoor exhibits, which have been enhanced with new animals and activities. They will reopen to guests at reduced ticket prices with one purchase, one-half deal with the code BIRCHOUTDOORS.

Indoor areas, including the fish room, will be closed until the restrictions are lifted.

A map provided by Birch Aquarium shows the areas that will reopen to visitors on Saturday. Photo: Birch Aquarium

The aquarium will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All outdoor activities are included in the reduced admission price, which is $ 16.50 for adults and $ 12 for children.

Activities include:

Entrance courtyard
• Giant Blue Octopus by Jessica Ling Findley: Take an octopus selfie with our giant inflatable octopus and be sure to use #BirchAquarium on your social profiles.
• Observe + Marvel: Guests will see invertebrate-inspired specimens and artwork by local artist, Siena McKim. Put your observational skills to the test using your scientific eye to connect and explore the wonders of the ocean.

Preuss Tide Pool Square
• Marine Protected Areas Tactile Experience: Guests touch local animals, including small sharks and rays, sea hares and snails, while learning about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
• South Tide Tactile Experience: We will bring you tide pooling by giving you a chance to touch the people of La Jolla, like anemones, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.
• Artist / Scientists in Residence: See our resident artists / scientists at work! Join Siena McKim and Brian Gibson on Tide Pool Plaza as they bring art to life. Artist schedules will be posted on the Birch Aquarium website when available.

The Shelia Marie Davis Gallery
• Big Screen Kelp Cam: As you walk from the entrance courtyard to Tide Pool Plaza, see what’s happening in our giant kelp forest exhibit on the big screen.

Nigella Hillgarth Education Plaza
• Oddities outside: it’s a bird, it’s an airplane, it’s a… giant tube worm? Discover amazing specimens through comic book-inspired panels that highlight the amazing adaptations (aka superpowers) of ocean species.
• Exploring Falling Whales: Find out what happens after a whale falls to the ocean floor as you explore whale bones and invertebrate specimens alongside our Wyland mural.

Robert Smargon Exhibition Court
• NEW! Growing Up Seahorse: New to the Outdoor-Only range, this is an experience that gives customers a glimpse into the diverse world of seahorses. Learn about juvenile and adult seahorses, learn about Birch Aquarium’s renowned breeding program, and understand what it takes to care for these unusual fish.
• Coral reef animal contact experience: dip your hands in the warm waters of a tropical reef and touch animals like cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs, starfish and even young epaulette sharks .
• Monitoring of winter migrants: Have you ever wondered who crosses our waters during the winter season? Guests will learn about the wintery ocean species that migrate along the San Diego coast and can record what they see!
• Shark Poetry by Dovi Kacev: alongside our living sharks, discover sharks through beautiful illustrations and poetry by Dovi Kacev.
• Local Sharks: Explore the diversity of local shark and ray species off the coast of La Jolla as you discover shark jaws, teeth and other specimens.
• Shark Shores: Meet the legendary La Jolla leopard sharks and other species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) at Shark Shores. The large outdoor exhibit allows you to experience the sandy bottom habitat of La Jolla Shores without getting wet!
• Life Begins Small: Nursery Animals: Watch for young animals from nearby cool temperate waters, such as clumps of mussels, swollen shark egg cases and juvenile sharks, sand crabs, zebra perch and garibaldi juveniles, gorgonians, limpets, jellies, decorator crabs, seagrass, and nudibranchs.

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