Around the Pier: Birch Aquarium Offers Half-Off Admission to San Diego County Residents


To mark 20 years at its current location along Expedition Way in La Jolla, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, is offering San Diego County residents half-off admission on the 20th of every month through the aquarium’s anniversary month of September 2012.

“We are very grateful to the San Diego community for embracing the aquarium and its mission over the last two decades,” said Nigella Hillgarth, aquarium executive director. “We’re offering half-off admission as a way to say thank you to residents and invite them to rediscover our fantastic facility.”

In the last 20 years, Birch Aquarium at Scripps has welcomed more than 6 million visitors from across the United States and around the world, including U.S. presidents and other high-ranking government officials, royalty, and Hollywood superstars. The aquarium remains one of San Diego’s top cultural destinations and was voted San Diego’s Best Museum in the 2011 A-List, coordinated by More than 40,000 school children take part in the aquarium’s on- and off-site education programs each year.

The special deal is valid for residents living in zip codes 91901-92199. Visitors must show a valid ID with the zip code to receive the offer (limit two children per paid adult; cannot be combined with other offers). Regular admission is $14 for adults, $9.50 for children ages 3-17 and $10 for seniors. Children under age 3 are free.

Scripps Oceanography has dedicated itself to maintaining a public aquarium since its inception in 1903. Birch Aquarium at Scripps opened in September 1992 along Expedition Way, replacing the Scripps Aquarium-Museum, which operated for four decades near Scripps Pier.

The $14 million facility, named in honor of the Delaware-based Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation, a nonprofit organization that granted $6 million for the aquarium’s redesign, was three times larger than its predecessor and became a testament to the breadth of Scripps research explorations and the institution’s commitment to sharing ocean and earth science discoveries with the public.

Today, visitors can explore more than 60 marine tanks – up from 36 on opening day – teeming with fishes, corals, and invertebrates from the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest to the warm currents of the tropical seas. A showcase 70,000-gallon tank houses a forest of gently swaying kelp, treating visitors to a serene view of a complex marine community that flourishes off the San Diego coast.

Not from San Diego? Watch the aquarium’s live HD Kelp Cam.

– Jessica Z. Crawford

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