San Diego Business Journal

San Diego County is officially in the most restrictive COVID-19 tier. This means most local businesses will have to shut indoor operations or shut down altogether once again.

To continue to serve the community, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography will add a handful more outdoor activities to remain open.

Birch Aquarium, along with UC San Diego, have announced it will operate outdoor-only beginning Saturday, Nov. 14, in accordance with state and county COVID-19 regulations. The outdoor space of the aquarium have been enhanced with new animals and activities and are open to guests with discounted ticket prices.

Indoor areas will be closed until restrictions are lifted.

The outdoor Smargon Courtyard and Tide Pool Plaza are both open with new activities. Guest can see and touch different creatures on the Tide Pool Plaza. The area also carries the aquarium’s temporary artist in residence display by Brian Gibson. While Gibson works, guests can see sculptures of a Great Blue Heron and two Black Oystercatchers be created in real time, while he answers questions from a safe distance. The complete sculptures will be bronzed and installed at Birch Aquarium in 2021.

On the Smargon Courtyard, attendees can view Leopard Sharks, rays and more at the Shark Shores exhibit. Other outdoor activities touch on winter changes in Southern California’s waters, like what whales are migrating and which animals are pupping and nesting along the coast.

Exhibits will continue to be added outdoors over the next month. Advanced reservations are required, with timed tickets available online only. Adult tickets $16.50 and $12 for children.

Travel & Hospitality reporter Mariel Concepcion can be reached at or 858-634-4625.