A Penguin New Year's Celebration at Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium at Scripps celebrates its first Little Blue Penguin bred and hatched in captivity. Learn about the newest addition and when you can go see it.
Jess Tucker
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
A Penguin New Year's Celebration
Penguin Celebration
Breeding & Conservation
See More & Save
Growth & Development
The Broader Impact
Stay Nearby

Visit La Jolla for a New Year's Penguin Celebration at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Penguin Chick Growth Chart at the Birch Aquarium at ScrippsWhale Tail and Whale Breaching at Birch Aquarium

A brand new baby has arrived at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and it’s making waves!

On February 1st, 2024, the Birch Aquarium announced the hatching of their first Little Blue Penguin chick on New Year's Day 2024. Not only is it the first of its species bred in captivity at the facility, but also the first one hatched on the West Coast.

Little Blue Penguins, also called Little Fairy Penguins, are native to Australia and New Zealand. They’re a rarity in San Diego County, with only a handful in captivity in all of Southern California, and they’re considered a threatened species.

The penguin chick represents the first step in improving the genetic diversity of this penguin species in the US.

For the next few months, the chick will get the full attention of the penguin care team as it is hand raised. Visitors won’t be able to see it yet, but the chick will join the rest of the colony in the Beyster Family Little Blue Penguin species exhibit in about three months.

Along with dozens of other marine species native to the waters around San Diego and throughout the world, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is one of our favorite attractions in San Diego, a real treat for an afternoon with our families.

Birch Aquarium Tide Pools
Birch Aquarium Tide Pools

For discounted admission grab Go City San Diego passes using discount code GVSD5OFF for your whole family and consider combining your visit with a trip to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego or one of the more than a dozen museums in Balboa Park. All are excellent choices for families!

Popular Hotels
Popular Hotels
Price
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
$235
Learn More
Grande Colonial La Jolla
$249
Learn More
La Valencia Hotel
$325
Learn More
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
$237
Learn More

Penguin Breeding and Conservation Efforts

Penguin Chick Born Jan 1st 2024 at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Penguin Chick Born Jan 1st 2024 at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

This momentous occasion is the result of years of cooperation between Scripps Oceanography and other facilities in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to combat declining penguin populations due to climate change and habitat loss.

As oceans continue to warm, various marine animals have been driven out of their homes in the wild, losing precious Pacific Ocean feeding and nesting grounds. Programs to breed penguins in captivity have helped to offset the damaging effects on different penguin species, including Little Blues.

With so few penguins on the West Coast, every new addition expands the gene pool and contributes to the survival of the species.

Save on the Go City Pass!
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Meet over 5,000 fish & sea animals at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The All-Inclusive Go City Pass includes access to marine exhibits, interactive displays and hands-on experiences, like touching a shark!
Buy Now
Local Tips
Who can use a Go City San Diego pass?

Adults and children (ages 3 to 12) can use the Go City San Diego pass – All-Inclusive or Explorer pass – to visit the area’s top attractions and activities.

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Growth and Development of the Penguin Chick

Penguin Chicks Born Tiny at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Penguin Chicks Born Tiny at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Penguin chicks are born tiny and without any of the natural defenses they develop as they age. This new chick was born at just 29 grams, or about 0.06 pounds, though in its first month it has already grown to about 1.8 pounds.

The baby penguin is fed a blend of krill, fish, and vitamins to support its growth while it is still small and covered in downy feathers. In a few months, the chick will have its first molt and start to develop waterproof feathers, and it will also be ready to start eating whole fish.

These developments will allow it to join the rest of the Little Blue Penguins in three months’ time!

The Broader Impact and Future Prospects of Penguins

Penguin Cam at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Penguin Cam at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

The Birch Aquarium’s exhibits aren’t just for entertainment. Through educational displays and talks given by marine specialists, the aquarium aims to educate the public about endangered species and why conservation efforts are vital to their survival.

The hatching of the first Little Blue Penguin is one way in which the aquarium is taking active steps to ensure the survival of the species being threatened by the changing climate and loss of ecosystems in the wild.

Visiting the Birch Aquarium to see the adorable new chick also drives interest and supports future conservation efforts. In addition to ensuring this species of penguin has a promising future, ticket proceeds support conservation of dozens of species of endangered marine life, from other penguins to sharks, fish, mantas, and more!

When the baby penguin is first revealed to the public, it will undoubtedly draw crowds, so start planning your trip soon for the best rates!

Consider staying nearby at an excellent La Jolla hotel like the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, and pick up a Go City San Diego pass using our discount code GVSD5OFF to save on admission and support these efforts.

Featured Hotel
Grande Colonial La Jolla
Grande Colonial La Jolla
Families
Families
Luxury
Luxury
Near Beach
Near Beach
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
With a fantastic bar, a relaxing lobby and prime location, experience the charms of this vintage boutique hotel when you stay at Grande Colonial La Jolla.
Prices Starting at $249
Check Availability
Looking to Save on Tickets?
Save on Tickets
Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
63°F / 73°F
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
67°F / 77°F
Sunny in July
Aug
69°F / 79°F
Sunny in August
Sep
67°F / 79°F
Sunny in September

Stay Nearby

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
from $235 / night
View Hotel
Grande Colonial La Jolla
Luxury Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Grande Colonial La Jolla
from $249 / night
View Hotel
La Valencia Hotel
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
La Valencia Hotel
from $325 / night
View Hotel
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
from $237 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>
Tours & Adventures
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Discounts Available
Learn More
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Discounts Available
Learn More
Looking for Something Different?
More What's New >> Attractions