The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is world-renowned university research facility and seaside learning center dedicated to educating visitors about the world’s oceans. Located in Santa Cruz, the acclaimed educational and research center features a 20,000-square-foot visitor center and an array of interactive exhibits and displays that offer hands-on immersion into the world of ocean exploration and discovery.

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The mission of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is to educate people about the vital role that scientific research plays in the conservation of the world’s oceans, as well as to inspire people to take an invested interest in conservation and preservation of the marine world.

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center aims to do this through their award-winning seaside learning center, where the adventures and explorations of ocean science are brought to life through outstanding exhibits and displays. Visitors to the center can enjoy immersive experiences such as touching a shark, soaking up the beauty of Monterey Bay, otherwise known as the ‘Serengeti of the sea’ and partake in numerous educational programs, workshops, youth programs, and volunteer opportunities.


The Seymour Marine Discovery Center has an exhibit hall that takes visitors on an in-depth AND behind-the-scenes exploration of the world’s oceans through displays of the varied work of marine biologists and scientists who have studied the ocean.

Current exhibits in the Exhibit Hall of the Center include the UC Santa Cruz Satellite Reef, which is a crocheted version of the colorful reef, and the Giant Ocean Coloring Book, which displays large black and white framed marine art from Peter Winch’s illustrated coloring book for adults. Outside the center is an 87-foot blue whale skeleton and one of four blue whale skeletons on display in North America.

The aquarium is home to an array of exhibits and habitats that give visitors a real insight into life under the sea, including a shark tank, a tank with rockfish, eels, crabs and jellies, and a touch tank where visitors can touch and feel such as hermit crabs, sea stars, sea anemones, sea urchins, and more.


The Seymour Marine Discovery Center offer an array of education programs that indoor exhibits and the surrounding natural environment outside the center. Near the center, 45 acres of the upland terrace and a 25-acre lagoon system have been landscaped in an aggressive 20-year project to feature typical coastal California ecosystems such as northern coastal scrub, fresh- and salt-water wetlands, coastal prairie, and dunes, as well as an array of wildlife and birds.

Educational programs range from classroom resources for students and teachers, family activities and youth and teen programs to volunteer opportunities, internships and paid assistantships, ocean- and nature-inspired art and media, and ongoing education such as lectures, workshops, and classes.

Family activities include family tours that are designed for younger visitors, creative activities and seaside arts and crafts for the family every Sunday, family events on special days such as World Oceans Day and the Marine Masquerade Ball along with other activities throughout the year.

Youth and teen programs include Ocean Explorer’s Summer Camps for students between the ages of seven and 14 that involves actively exploring the ocean, investigating the animals that live within them and experiencing the thrill of a working marine lab. Students can also immerse themselves in ocean science by learning to become a volunteer Exhibit Guide.

Visitor Information

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is located at 100 McAllister Way in Santa Cruz, California and is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Free daily tours of the Center are conducted Tuesday through Sunday on the hour from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, and include family tours for families with small children, and afternoon tours led by experienced marine guides.

The Center also offers special 90-minute Behind-the-Scenes Tours to the Younger Lagoon Reserve, which is home to a diverse coastal habitat, as well as migrating seabirds, birds of prey, bobcats and other wildlife. The Ocean Discovery Shop sells a wide array of ocean-inspired products, books, cards, clothing, and pottery, as well as science kits and tools for children and unique gifts.

100 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-459-3800

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