LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) -- After a year and a half, the Birch Aquarium is reopening its hands-on outdoor adventures. The Scripps Pier in La Jolla is usually off-limits.
"It is an active research pier, so scientists and researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UC San Diego could normally access this. But the public isn't normally able to come out here," Birch Aquarium's Public Engagement Program Manager, Cari Paulenich, said.
But on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting September 24, it will be open again to a select group of guests.
"We're really excited to welcome people back to the pier," Paulenich said.
For years, the Scripps Pier sunset walks were one of the Birch Aquarium's most popular outdoor adventures. But when the pandemic hit, the pier tours were canceled. But not everything shut down.
"During COVID, a lot of things changed, but the research kept on. Kept continuing," Paulenich said.
Now with its grand reopening next Friday, guests can learn about all the new research. For an hour, one group of up to six people ages nine and up, can get an exclusive tour on the research pier, scoop up plankton, and get an up-close look at the wildlife.
"It's going to be small groups, so really, highlighting that we are doing this in a safe way, but we are really excited to bring us back and get to interact with people face-to-face," Paulenich said.
The cost is $135 per group for members and $150 per group for non-members. Educators said the sunset views alone are priceless.
"We are so lucky to live near the ocean and have amazing folks who are helping us learn more about our planet so that we can better protect it."
Guests must reserve a spot on the private tours HERE.