Sea horses take center stage at new aquarium exhibit


Q: What has a head like a horse, a tail like a monkey, a pouch like a kangaroo and the color-changing skills of a chameleon?

A: The fish known as the sea horse, of course!

See the sea’s most captivating creatures in “There’s Something About Sea Horses,” opening Nov. 14 at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. The 2,000-square-foot, interactive exhibit will feature up-close experiences with more than a dozen species of live sea horses and their relatives, including pipefish, shrimpfish and sea dragons.

Guests will be able to view the unique biology and adaptations of the famously camouflaged creatures, discover how the male sea horse gets pregnant and gives birth, investigate what makes the sea horse a fish (though it doesn’t quite look like one), learn about the threats these animals face in the wild and journey with Scripps researchers solving mysteries about the sea dragon family tree.

“To this day, visitors inquire about the sea horses featured in our popular exhibit from several years ago, so we know they are still as captivated by the animals as we are,” said Nigella Hillgarth, Birch Aquarium at Scripps executive director. “This exhibit is a re-imagining of that exhibit paired with cutting-edge research about the life of these fascinating creatures and the challenges they face to survive.”

In the last 15 years, the aquarium has raised 13 species of sea horses and shipped more than 3,000 specimens to 78 aquariums and zoos. Animals featured in the exhibit were either bred onsite or at other aquariums or obtained from top-notch aquaculture facilities inspected by Birch Aquarium aquarists.

‘There’s Something About Sea Horses’

Where: Scripps Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla

When:. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until 2011

Tickets: Free with general admission, $8-$12

Contact:, (858) 534-FISH

Did you know?

Unlike most other fish, sea horses are monogamous and mate for life.

— Source: National Geographic