What’s New?



September 20-26, 2015
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
September 23, 2015
7 PM
How Lawsuits and Oil Spills Have Replaced Spears and Guns
Kim Steinhardt
Former Administrative Law Judgephoto
Sea Otter Photographer/Lecturer

The relationship between sea otters and humans has been strained nearly to the breaking point during much of the last two centuries. Now, with fewer than 3,000 remaining, California’s sea otter faces new threats. Join former Administrative
Law Judge Kim Steinhardt for a special evening’s talk and multimedia presentation on how this has happened and where it is headed.


Sea Otter Awareness Week falls on the last week in September and is an annual recognition of the vital role that sea otters play in the nearshore ecosystem. Each year, zoos, aquariums, natural history museums, marine institutions, filmmakers, researchers, academics, educators, and the public participate in various events and activities highlighting sea otters and their natural history and the various conservation issues facing sea otters.



The Seymour Center had a special visit from Joy Reidenberg and a BBC Big Blue Live film crew capturing footage for an upcoming PBS and BBC co-produced event.

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Big Blue Live is a live television and online event celebrating some of the world’s most amazing marine creatures converging off California’s coast. Set in Monterey Bay, the bay has experienced an environmental rebirth. This wildlife success story attracts humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, dolphins, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks, shearwaters, and much more for a once-a-year marine animal phenomenon.

Big Blue Live will air August 31 – September 2 at 8:00 pm on PBS.



Seymour Marine Discovery Center selected for 2015-16 New Leaf Community Market’s Envirotoken Program!

new leaf logo The New Leaf Envirotoken Program


Starting July 16, 2015 through June 30, 2016 you can support the Seymour Marine Discovery Center every time you shop (and bring your bag) at New Leaf Community Market Westside, Downtown Santa Cruz, and Capitola. New Leaf will give you a token worth 10¢ to support one of six environmental programs on their “giving board.” Because you voted for the Seymour Center, we will be included as one of the six—THANK YOU!

In 1993 New Leaf started the Envirotoken program to conserve resources by encouraging recycling, as well as to support local non-profits working to protect the environment.


Construction on the Coastal Science CampusConstruction_sidebar

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is open during construction of the new Coastal Biology Building.

There is a lot of construction on your way to the Seymour Center, but forge ahead. We’re open regular hours year round, and seven days a week during July and August.

This new building will support research and teaching on coastal conservation, ecology, habitat restoration, climate change impacts, and policy.

In addition to the Coastal Biology Building, the construction project will also include a number of major infrastructure upgrades called for in the Coastal Long Range Development Plan, including a new entrance gateway, relocation of the entrance road paths for walking and biking, overlooks with interpretive panels, improvements to underground utilities, and a public access parking lot near the entry way.


Our Ocean BackyardOur Ocean Backyard Collected Essays
Collected Essays by Gary Griggs

Distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences
Director, Institute of Marine Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz

For the three billion people on Earth who live in coastal regions, the ocean is figuratively, if not literally, “our backyard.” Many of us have sought out ocean areas in which to live, work, or vacation. They enrich our lives in countless ways, but our interactions with them have not always been positive.

In April 2008, Gary Griggs, a coastal geologist and oceanographer who has studied the oceans for over forty-six years and is known for making science understandable, enjoyable, and accessible to non-scientists, was asked to write a bi-weekly column, “Our Ocean Backyard” for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

This book is a collection of the first six-and-a-half years of his short essays, which cover ocean exploration, natural disasters, marine life, the natural and geologic history of the Monterey Bay region, waves and beaches, energy and water, and climate change and sea-level rise. Gary writes not to advocate, but rather to illuminate. His goal is always to explain the science, which in turn enhances our enjoyment of this beautiful resource, and also empowers us to make considered, informed decisions – whether it is in our daily lives, or in the voting booth.

Griggs’ book is currently available online.

John Laird, California’s Secretary of Resources says:

I marvel at Gary’s ability to relate more complex situations in an understandable form for lay people-an in a way that holds their interests. It is obvious why he has been a successful and much-loved teacher for over four decades”.  


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Read about the Seymour Center in the San Francisco Chronicle’s travel section.


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

April –  September 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 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


A Celebration of California's Central Coast

Saturday, February 6, 2016

No Wetsuit Required
Sunday, February 21
Come and hear Dr. Jessie Sanders, of Aquatic Veterinary Services of Northern California, share “tails” of adventure from under the waves!

Honoring M. Sanjayan, conservation scientist and host of the 2015 BBC/PBS special "Big Blue Live."
Saturday, March 5, 2016.
Now accepting reservations.

Attention Teachers!
Space is still available for K-14 marine science education programs at the Seymour Center.

You'll see a lot of construction taking place here at the Coastal Science Campus but know, the Seymour Center is open for business as usual. Come visit!


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