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Discovery Center Gallery

From the deeper waters of the bay to the salt water marsh and the drier upland habitats, San Diego has amazing wildlife!  Explore more than 20 exhibits and come nose to nose with local marine life, reptiles and other local creatures.

Look for these animals!

Seahorses, jellies, eels, sharks, lobsters, crabs, octopus, garibaldi, abalone, sea stars, snakes, lizards and more!

Black Jellies
The Discovery Center hosted some beautiful creatures this summer, including the mysterious species of black jellies!  For a limited time, guests were able to get up-close looks at these rare creatures as they swam gracefully in their enclosure.  We hope they visit us again next year!  Until then, come s
ee our local moon jellies all year long on display at the Discovery Center!

A few fun (and informative!) facts about black jellies:


  • Also known as the black sea nettle
  • Deep red/purple
  • Bell can be as large as a trash can lid, tentacles up to 25 feet long


  • Mysterious! First named in 1997 by scientists
  • Very little known about life cycle; may be from deeper parts of the ocean
  • Short life cycle; live only a few months
  • Have been seen from Baja to Monterey

Scientists don’t know why sightings have in increased in recent years; may be linked to El Nino and La Nina years, warming oceans, shifting currents and increased plankton availability:

  • 1900’s – Seen only a handful of times
  • Seen in San Diego three times in the last decade
  • Last seen in San Diego July of 2010 (We had them at the LCDC then, too!)


  • Sting is painful, but not lethal
  • Keep an eye out when swimming and surfing, especially for kids and dogs, and those with allergies
  • Can still sting even when washed up on the shore dead
  • Pour vinegar on the sting and seek medical treatment; most lifeguard stations are equipped with vinegar.