Fish Out of Water: Birch Aquarium at Scripps to host grunion-run activities in La Jolla

Grunion-run participant Shannon Casey poses with the stars of the show along La Jolla's beaches during the nighttime activity hosted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

On certain spring nights following high tides, hundreds of the small silvery fish called grunions ride the waves onto shore for a remarkable mating ritual, which happens only in Southern California from March through mid-June.

While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves halfway in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves around the females to fertilize their eggs. Then, both catch a wave to return to sea.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps naturalists will guide participants through these unforgettable nights, starting with an interactive presentation on grunion, followed by a rare opportunity to witness grunion eggs hatch before their eyes. The fun continues with a moonlight beach exploration in La Jolla to witness the grunion run, nature willing. Bring a flashlight and warm jacket.

Each event meets at Sumner Auditorium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 8622 Kennel Way, La Jolla. The cost is $14 for members, $16 for others. Ages 6-13 must attend with a paid adult. Advance reservations required by calling (858) 534-7336 or visit

— 2015 Grunion Nights in La Jolla, hosted by Birch Aquarium —

• March 22: 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

• April 5: 9:30-11:30 p.m.

• April 20: 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.

• May 7: 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

• May 20: 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

• June 5: 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.