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What’s New?


Sea Otter Awareness Week

  • Pop-up Exhibits
  • Free Public Lecture
  • Special Sunday Seaside Craft
  • And more!

Why are sea otters so important to the kelp forest habitat? How does this marine mammal survive the cold Monterey Bay with no blubber? All week long, learn the answers to these questions and more during Sea Otter Awareness Week at the Seymour Center.

Sea Otter Awareness Week special events:

SOA LECTURE 2014Free Public Lecture:
The Secret Lives of Sea Otters in Elkhorn Slough
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 7 PM
Sarah Espinosa, Biological Science Technician
U.S. Geological Survey
Estes-Tinker Lab, UC Santa Cruz

Elkhorn Slough is an 11.5 km tidal estuary located in Moss Landing, CA. It is the only estuary located within the range of the southern sea otter in which sea otters reside. How many otters live in Elkhorn Slough? What do otters eat in the slough? What is unique about this sea otter population? The Elkhorn Slough sea otter project started September 2013 to determine the role of sea otters in an estuarine ecosystem. Come discover what we have learned so far about the significant role sea otters play in this unique system.

Special Sunday Seaside Crafts
Sunday, September 28, 2014, 1-3 PM
Guest artist, SPECTRA Arts teacher Gwen Toevs



Congratulations to our World Oceans Day Instagram contest winner – Ranya!


The Seymour Center exhibit that most inspires Ranya to protect our oceans is our gray whale skeleton because “Whales travel more than you!”

This is very true (at least we hope it is!) as gray whales travel 10,000-12,000 miles every year—the longest known migration of any mammal.

Thank you to everyone who participated—we look forward to more amazing photo submissions in future contests!


Tour the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

Wharf tours resume – April 2015

Wharf Tour.jpg

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is now leading tours on the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Join us for an informative half hour, a half mile out at sea!

  • Tour times are every Saturday and Sunday during Spring and Summer, rain or shine, at 1:00 and 3:00 PM. Tours are 30 minutes long. Tours resume in April 2015.
  • Tours meet on the wharf stage on the west side of the wharf, near Olitas restaurant.
  • Learn about marine research in progress, from clean energy pursuits to marine mammal behavior and conservation. Find out how you can help solve ocean pollution.
  • Docents will be available after tours to provide additional information and answer questions.
  • Tours will be cancelled if the wharf is closed due to weather conditions, or if the tour would conflict with a major event held on the wharf.


New! Gray Whale Mother and Calf Half-Ton Wooden Sculptures

momandcalfA new exhibit, gray whale mother and calf models by master whale sculptor Wick Ahrens and artist Linda Emme, has been installed just inside the Seymour Center entry. The 1/3-scale whale models are carved from solid sugar pine and weigh about 1,000 pounds. It was no small feat to hang them from cables in our ceiling but they are now “swimming” into our exhibit hall. Although gray whales are commonly seen along our local coast today, they were hunted to the edge of extinction in the 1850s. The gray whale was given full protection in 1947. Since that time the Eastern North Pacific gray whale population (the population visible along our coast) has made a remarkable recovery and now numbers between 19,000 and 23,000, probably close to the original size. The sculptures pay homage to this recovery story. The mother and calf replicas will also help visitors understand what they are seeing as these animals literally, travel right by. Gray whales are one of the animal kingdom’s great migrators, with some swimming more than 12,000 miles round-trip between Mexico and Alaska. The Center’s vantage point gives people an outstanding opportunity to see whales from shore as they pass by, hugging the northern edge of Monterey Bay.

Days & Hours

Tuesday - Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM

What’s New?

What's New!

Science Sunday:
Your Brain on Water

Sunday, November 16
Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols combines cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories to show how proximity to water can impact your life.

Behind-the-Scene Tours
Come discover a working marine lab!



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