The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the marine conservation and educational facility of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
The marine conservation centre’s name is often shortened to ‘Scripps Aquarium’ or ‘Birch Aquarium’ and it attracts over 400, 000 visitors per year of which over 77, 000 are schoolchildren.
The origins of the aquarium date back to 1915, although it was on a much smaller scale back then. In its present form, the aquarium and marine education centre has been in operation since 1992.
Attractions at the aquarium include Shark Reef with its whitetip, blacktip and bamboo sharks.
The aquarium also houses a Tide Pool Plaza where visitors can witness, at first hand, the habitats of the likes of hermit crabs, starfish, lobsters, sea cucumbers and other marine wildlife associated with San Diego’s tide pools.
The aquarium also has its own Coral Reef exhibit – home to lionfish and giant clams and its Hall of Fishes features 60 tanks of invertebrates and Pacific fish species in a 70, 000 gallon kelp forest.
Other exhibitions at the marine conservation centre and aquarium have included the Art of Deception showcase where you can learn all about the mastery of how marine species use camouflage for survival and that was replaced in September 2009 to make way for a new sea horses exhibit. A further exhibit called Voices in the Sea at the aquarium centre unravels the mystery of how whales communicate with each other under the water.
Children visiting the aquarium always enjoy the Wonders of Water exhibit – an interactive attraction where they get hands-on experience to learn more about erosion, flow and current by creating dams, rapids, canals and islands.
It’s important to remember that the aquarium is not simply about being a visitor attraction but also provides valuable ocean science education, promotes ocean conservation and is also used to interpret valuable Scripps research and data.
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