Go gills-over-tail crazy for La Jolla’s legendary leopard sharks and other local marine life during Shark Summer this July and August at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Celebrate these remarkable animals with shark-savvy activities, field excursions, and exclusive interactions with Andy Nosal, a leopard shark researcher and Birch Aquarium’s DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology & Conservation. Visit our Shark Summer website for a full schedule of activities.
Shark Summer at Birch Aquarium is sponsored by ESET and its GoExplore.net initiative, which encourages consumers to explore the web safely.
Shark Summer: Onsite Programs
Included with admission
Have you ever had a shark encounter? Here's your opportunity to meet and touch some of our local sharks. Shark-themed activities led by Birch Aquarium naturalists and high school summer interns will reveal that sharks are vulnerable and critical members of ocean habitats. See what it takes for a baby leopard shark to grow up, discover how sharks use their teeth the way we use utensils, and learn about the latest shark research from Scripps scientists.
Shark Floor Activities
Weekdays: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Shark Encounter Talk & Touch
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Shark Stories Meet & Greet
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.
Snorkel with the Leopard Sharks
July 19*, 27; August 3, 17 and 23*; September 7, 13* and 20: 8–10 a.m.
Members: $25, Public: $30
Join aquarium naturalists and visit leopard sharks in their underwater home off the La Jolla coast. Pick up snorkel tips as you discover the abundant variety of animals that live among the kelp, sandy bottom, and rocks. Intermediate swimming ability is required and previous snorkeling experience is recommended. Participants must supply their own gear. Ages 10+ (minors must also be accompanied by a paid adult). Pre-purchase required: 858-534-7336 or online.
*These programs will be led by Andy Nosal, Birch Aquarium’s DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology & Conservation
Shark and Wildlife Kayak Adventure
July 13, 20 & 26; August 2, 16 & 24: 8–10:30 a.m.
Members: $45, Public: $60
Learn the basics of ocean kayaking while exploring the coastline and calm waters of La Jolla. Birch Aquarium naturalists will team up with guides at Everyday California to highlight the variety of sharks, rays, and other wildlife present. Experience the unique features of La Jolla’s Matlahuayl Marine Reserve and discover why it’s a hot spot for our leopard sharks! Ages 10+ (minors must be accompanied by a paid adult). Pre-purchase required through Everyday California: 858-454-6195.
Perspectives on Ocean Science
Sharks Without Borders: A Binational Effort to Study and Conserve Threatened Shark Species
Monday, July 14: 6:30–8 p.m.
Members: FREE, Public: $8
Sharks migrating between California and Baja California, Mexico, are threatened by commercial fishing activity in both countries. Join Scripps shark expert Dan Cartamil as he explores the ecology and behaviors of these fascinating animals, and discusses the issues relevant to the sustainability of our local shark populations. RSVP: 858-534-5771 or online.
Meet the Locals
Saturday, June 21: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Included with admission
Discover Science, Exploration, & Adventure. For more than six years, Scripps oceanographer Andy Nosal has been studying the secret lives of local leopard sharks. Join us for a special meet and greet with this leopard shark expert, listen to his recent discoveries in the field, and learn about future research goals at La Jolla Shores and beyond.
After SEA Days, from 3 – 5 p.m., join ESET as they Go Explore with games and information. Learn about ESET and Andy Nosal’s research and expeditions, which use technology to safely tag and track leopard sharks. Learn more here.
Saturday, July 19: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Included with admission
Did you know that nearly 400 species of sharks swim the world’s oceans? Enhance your knowledge of these spectacular fish and their adaptations through hands-on activities. Meet local sharks and the Scripps scientists studying them to learn what you can do to help protect these important predators.
Sharks on the Line
Saturday, Aug. 16: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Included with admission
As sharks are fished in record numbers and their populations continue to decline, protecting these key predators is more important than ever. Meet local researcher Dovi Kacev (former Scripps Oceanography field technician and current Ph.D. candidate at San Diego State University) to hear more about the value of shark research to informing and shaping fisheries policy.
Summer Camp: Shark Encounters
For grades 4–6
July 7–11, July 21–25, Aug. 4–8, and Aug. 18–22
Members: $230 per week, Public: $255 per week
Explore the ocean from top to bottom during our accredited Summer Learning Adventure Camps. Campers in grades 4–6 can become shark experts as they spend the week encountering and investigating a variety of sharks. They'll learn about shark biology, behavior, and conservation through observation and hands-on activities. Campers can snorkel with local sharks and meet Scripps Oceanography shark researchers. Sign up: 858-534-7336 or at aquarium.ucsd.edu.
About Andy Nosal
Andy Nosal, Ph.D., is Birch Aquarium's DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology & Conservation. A marine biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Nosal works with Birch Aquarium and shares his scientific discoveries with aquarium visitors. He specializes in shark ecology, with a particular focus on La Jolla's leopard sharks. Knowledge generated through Nosal's research has important implications for local conservation efforts. His fellowship at Birch Aquarium is named in honor of the late David DeLaCour, a shark enthusiast who left a transformational gift to the aquarium upon his death in 2010. Visit our Shark Summer website to learn more about Nosal and his research.
About Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and beyond. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth and ocean science and features five dozen interactive elements. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Birch Aquarium has an annual attendance of more than 430,000, including 40,000 school children.
Location: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, Calif.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
$17 Adult (18+)
$14 Teen (13-17)
$12.50 Child (3-12)
$13 Senior (60+)
$11 UCSD student/staff w/ID
$12 College Student w/ID
Free Ages 2 and under
Directions: From Interstate 5, exit at La Jolla Village Drive.
West one mile. Left on Expedition Way.
Parking: Birch Aquarium offers three-hour courtesy parking.