What’s New?

The Edge: The Pressured Past and Precarious Future of California’s Coast

The Edge postcard

Join Kim Steinhardt and Gary Griggs for an entertaining evening immersed in the magic of the coast—as they discuss their new book, The Edge: The Pressured Past and Precarious Future of California’s Coast. Everything is fair game for these two popular speakers, from personal adventure to science, nature, conservation policy, history, and more. Book signing immediately following the lecture.


Locals “Seymour” in September

Locals Seymour in September

Every Thursday in September we will waive admission fees for locals during our “Seymour” in September campaign!

Simply present a current photo ID showing Santa Cruz County residence. Current student ID from any school in Santa Cruz County or current utility bills are also valid proof of residence. Guests of county residents must pay regular admission prices.

Locals see more in September—at the Seymour Center!

(Valid September 2017)


March for Science, Santa Cruz, April 22, 2017

On April 22 our community will take part in the global March for Science —  an unprecedented gathering of people standing together to acknowledge the critical role that science plays in our world and our daily lives. March for Science Santa Cruz will be one of nearly 400 community-based celebrations of this national and international event.

The goal is straightforward: to demonstrate the broad range of voices that support science-based policies in the public interest and the integrity of scientific inquiry. Never has this seemed more urgent.

If you want to know more about the national event go to www.marchforscience.com.

To learn more about our local event, including the timing and route for the march, at www.marchforsciencesantacruz.org.

We encourage all of you who are available that day to participate.

March for Science Santa Cruz is being planned in collaboration with the community’s Earth Day celebration. We’ll gather at Santa Cruz City Hall at 10 am, walk through downtown, along the riverwalk, and over to San Lorenzo Park where the march will end, and Earth day activities will continue from 11 am – 4 pm.

The Organizing committee includes representatives from the City and County of Santa Cruz, Ecology Action, Save Our Shores, Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, UCSC, Cabrillo College, local schools, SACNAS (Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) and more. Let us know if someone from your organization would like to join the organizing committee.


Giving Day was March 8, 2017

Seymour Center—Outdoor Giants Experiential Pathway

Thank you for your donations and support on Giving Day!

Giving Day is an energized 24-hour online fundraising drive to support UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, and campus programs.  It’s a day for people everywhere to come together in a circle of giving for UC Santa Cruz.

This year the Seymour Center took part in Giving Day with our project: Outdoor Giants Experiential Pathway.

To further engage our visitors with marine science and conservation, we’ll enhance our outdoor walking path around the Seymour Marine Discovery Center with life-size animal models, sound boxes, interpretive panels, and more. Help us enhance our outdoor experience along our Pathway of Giants. Visitors will walk between male elephant seals (we’ll add one new resin model), complete with sound effects. Nearby, at the “scientist’s station,” an elephant seal pup (resin model) suspended on a tripod-mounted scale will depict field work, while user-activated, ADA-compliant sound boxes interpret research underway. Other highlights along this easy-walking loop include auditory and tactile encounters with a fossil whale skeleton (cast), actual marine fossils, a gray whale skeleton, and an iconic blue whale skeleton. Colorful banners, interpretive panels, and upgraded lighting complete the experience and lower our carbon footprint.

Thank you for supporting the Seymour Center on Giving Day 2017 by helping spread the word or by making a gift.


Seymour Center in the News!


Artist-in-Residence — Kayla Kemper

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Kayla Kemper, a recent graduate of the Science Illustration program at California State University, Monterey Bay, interned at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center from June through August, 2016. No stranger to the Seymour Center, Kayla previously worked at the Center during her years as an undergraduate in the Art Department at UC Santa Cruz.

Last summer, Kayla served as the Seymour Center’s artist-in-residence, creating scientific illustrations and animations for exhibits and education programs. Her projects included animations of blue, humpback and gray whales diving and feeding and 3D animations of tide pool life. Come see Kayla’s designs and animations throughout the Center.




WE WON… the Seymour Center will remain on “the board” at the Westside and Downtown Santa Cruz New Leaf Community Markets thanks to your votes!

Every dollar we raise supports marine science education and conservation.Every time you reuse a bag at New Leaf Community Markets, you have 10¢ to give to a local, non-profit group working for the environment. 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.




September 2016
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 the PBS and BBC co-produced event.

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Big Blue Live was 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.


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.


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

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM


March 24, 2018

The distinguished career of Gary Griggs will be honored at this elegant event. Proceeds directly support marine science education.

Sunday, March 18, 2018
1:30 - 2:30 PM

"Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition That Vindicated Darwin"

Join Matthew James as he tells the story of the 1905-06 Galapagos expedition and its implications.

Summer camp program information and applications are available online NOW! Applications due: Thursday, March 22, 2018 by 5 PM.

During March, members receive added benefits and discounts. Join or renew online today!

Interested in learning and sharing marine science and conservation with the public? Join the Seymour Center's volunteer team as an Exhibit Guide. We are now accepting applications.

Inspire scientific curiosity in your students with a field trip. Book a Self-guided Exhibit Exploration or a Reserved School Tour today.

Congratulations SREA winnersCONGRATULATIONS


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