The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a community-supported marine science education center operated by the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Mission: The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans.
Through our breathtaking seaside learning center, we bring the adventures and explorations of ocean science to life. Powered by the Long Marine Laboratory, a world-renowned university research facility, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center offers hands-on immersion into the world of ocean exploration and discovery. In our 20,000-square-foot visitor center, guests can touch a shark, explore the latest discoveries in ocean science, and take in the spectacular Monterey Bay, which has been called the “Serengeti of the sea” for its incredible diversity of marine life. The Center offers a deeper dive into the research conducted at Long Marine Lab and a chance for everyone to find their inner scientist through rich experiential learning programs including school field-trips, summer youth programs, Science Sundays, volunteer opportunities, internships, and more.
A Unique Environment
Due to a combination of geological features and currents, the Monterey Bay is one of the richest marine environments in the world. The bay is home year round to harbor seals, southern sea otters, bottlenose dolphins, and two porpoise species. California sea lions, northern elephant seals, northern fur seals, four dolphin species, 13 whale species, and the threatened Steller sea lion come here at different times of the year. Thousands of different kinds of invertebrates and over 450 different kinds of large marine algae live here, as well as thousands of migratory and resident sea birds, shore birds, and fish.
Hidden under the sea surface is the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon, larger than the Grand Canyon. Here, deep sea environments are a short boat ride away for both researchers and whale watchers instead of hundreds of miles from shore. All of this led to the designation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 1992.
UC Santa Cruz Marine Science and Education
When UC Santa Cruz opened in 1965, the marine sciences were a key part of the campus vision. Now, with more than 20 marine education and research facilities located along bay, UC Santa Cruz serves as a major institution studying our coast and ocean. Long Marine Laboratory is the oceanside research facility for UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of Marine Sciences. In 1974, Donald and Marion Younger donated 40 acres of coastal bluff and freshwater lagoon to UC Santa Cruz for the establishment of this marine laboratory and for wetland preservation. The Long Marine Laboratory was dedicated in 1978 to honor contributions made to the university by Joseph M. Long, founder of Longs Drugs.
The first director, Bill Doyle, recognized the value of introducing the public to the lab’s activities and he welcomed a new volunteer program to do just that. He then encouraged the establishment of the Friends of Long Marine Lab, a support group for this new education program.
While housed in a portable classroom, the education program grew to serve over 35,000 visitors a year with a small professional staff and a growing volunteer cadre. In 2000, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center was opened as its permanent home.
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center
After nearly a decade of planning, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center opened on March 11, 2000, giving the public a unique view into the workings of a marine research lab. Through the work of the Center, Long Marine Lab remains the only working research laboratory in California open daily to the public.
Private donations funded nearly all of the project’s $6.4 million cost, including an outstanding $2 million cornerstone gift from H. Boyd Seymour Jr. of San Francisco. Seymour’s gift honored his father, Harry Boyd Seymour (1896-1977), and his grandfather, Arthur McArthur Seymour (1864-1919).
H. Boyd Seymour, Jr., was born in 1926 in Sacramento. He received his BA in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1947. A retired Principal of Franklin Resources, Inc., Boyd and his wife, Deborah made their home in San Francisco. H. Boyd Seymour, Jr. passed away in September 2009.
Numerous other donors each contributed gifts of $100,000 or more to bring the Center to fruition. They were Leanore Theriot Hooper and Emmet T. Hooper, Paul and Anne Irwin, David and Rebecca Kashtan, the Kresge Foundation, Anne and Paul Levin, the Joseph M. Long Foundation, Zoe Ann Orr Marcus, Frances B. McAllister, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Phyllis and Alan Simpkins, Richard and Mary Solari, and the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation.