Friday, May 8, 2015

San Diego - Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography - Grunion Run

     Have you ever gone to a grunion run?  No, this is not a joke.  Grunion are small silver fish that are known to ride waves onto a variety, though not many, Pacific coast beaches, spawn and then return to the sea.  One of those beaches is in nearby La Jolla.  I had never seen a grunion, so to a grunion run we went.
Photo by Cynthia Dial
     This made-in-California experience adheres to a specific criteria.  It occurs late at night, follows high tide, happens in spring and summer months and involves this little-known fish named the grunion.  Offered the past decade through the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, guided observation of the grunion run gives those interested enough in heading to the beach (note: well past my bedtime) the opportunity to watch hopefully hundreds of the fish temporarily encamp on the seashore.  
     Conducted by naturalists the program begins with an educational auditorium-style presentation, followed by an interactive demonstration where observers hatch their own grunion eggs and concludes with a walk down to Scripps Beach for moonlit surveillance of the unusual reproductive process.  Equipped with red-cellophane wrapped flashlights (to not disturb the grunion), dressed in layers (to ward against the late-night ocean chill) and wearing waterproof footwear (tides can be as high as five or six feet).  The above was our drill, accompanied by a "it never rains in California" rainfall.  The result:  I still have never seen a grunion.  But I wouldn't have missed the experience.  
     Details: Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, 2300 Expedition Way, (858) 534-7336,  
#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #lajolla #grunionfun #grunionrun

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