La Jolla, CA (June 24, 2020)—Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is reopening to the public on July 4, 2020, with special preview days on July 1-3 for aquarium members and donors.
The aquarium will open with new pathways and new procedures to keep guests — as well as staff and volunteers — safe and healthy. Guest capacity will be limited during this initial phase, so advanced reservations will now be required for all guests, including members. Timed tickets are available online here for members, and will be available to the general public on June 27.
“Our dedicated team has put a lot of effort into making the aquarium a safe place to visit and we look forward to reopening Birch Aquarium and welcoming back our members and guests,” said Executive Director Harry Helling.
Birch Aquarium is implementing a one-way pathway throughout the aquarium to encourage social distancing; increasing the number of handwashing and sanitizing stations throughout the aquarium; and requiring face coverings for guests ages 2 and above. As an added safety measure, Birch Aquarium staff will also be completing daily symptom screenings and temperature checks, as well as frequent COVID-19 testing.
During this initial opening phase, activities where large numbers of people typically gather, such as dive shows and feedings, will be cancelled. High-touch exhibit elements such as the water tables, playground and touch screens have also been removed, though many exhibits have newly-integrated QR codes to allow guests to engage in new ways from the safety of their cell phones.
In addition to heightened health and safety measures, returning guests will also notice some exciting additions to the aquarium including a new eatery and a new mobile exhibit in the Galleria.
Shark Café is located on the south side of the aquarium and boasts an authentic French-inspired menu, along with stunning ocean views. Operated by The French Gourmet, Shark Café’s exclusive menu features decadent pastries, scrumptious salads and sandwiches, and delicious desserts. Seating is limited and meals must be ordered online in advance. Full menu and reservation information can be found here.
In the Galleria, guests will see the big impacts of small creatures in a new exhibit featuring the work of Scripps Oceanography’s Ron Burton. Copepods, or tiny crustaceans, provide a unique perspective on how life of all sizes can adapt to a changing climate.
More details on Birch Aquarium’s reopening, including important details for guests planning their next visit, can be found on the Know Before You Visit page. To help support the aquarium on its mission to connect understanding to protecting our ocean planet, visit the Giving page.
About Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for Scripps Oceanography. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Birch Aquarium features the groundbreaking work of Scripps Oceanography and UC San Diego scientists as well as conservation breeding programs, and interactive exhibits. Birch Aquarium’s mission is to connect understanding to protecting our ocean planet, which the aquarium achieves by engaging, hands-on learning opportunities for nearly 500,000 guests as well as more than 50,000 pre-K-12 students each year.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today on every continent and in every ocean. The institution has a staff of more than 1,400 and annual expenditures of approximately $195 million from federal, state, and private sources. Scripps operates oceanographic research vessels recognized worldwide for their outstanding capabilities. Equipped with innovative instruments for ocean exploration, these ships constitute mobile laboratories and observatories that serve students and researchers from institutions throughout the world. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 430,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu and follow us at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About UC San Diego
At the University of California San Diego, we embrace a culture of exploration and experimentation. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to look deeper, challenge expectations and redefine conventional wisdom. As one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth and make our world a better place. Learn more at www.ucsd.edu.