Family Events

Join us for special ocean-themed celebrations throughout the year. From World Oceans Day to Jingle Shells, there’s something for everyone in the family!

Here are a few of the fun events we celebrate. Check out our calendar for a complete list.


World Oceans Day

Monday, June 8, 2020

Created in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, World Oceans Day is the perfect time to learn how to protect the ocean and make a lasting difference for the future. Join the Seymour Marine Discovery Center for a virtual World Oceans Day celebration and take part in the Seymour Center Online Ocean Superhero Challenge. Other at-home activities and crafts will be available for download beginning June 8.


Seymour Center Online Ocean Superhero Challenge

The ocean needs you to help defend its natural and beautiful resources. Show or tell us how you protect the sea to be an ocean superhero!

How do you reduce your energy use? Do you eat sustainable seafood? Do you tell your friends how to help animals in the ocean? Did you participate in beach cleanups last year?

We want to know about your superpowers! Submit your original photograph or short story sharing how you help conserve the ocean. You just might be featured on our website and social media during World Oceans Day!



  • What We’re Looking For
    Photograph submissions must have a marine or coastal watershed theme and can be from any point in time. Acceptable submission file formats include .jpg or .png. Submissions may be watermarked if desired.

Short story submissions must have a marine or coastal watershed theme and have a maximum word count of 350 words. Acceptable submission file formats include .doc, .docx, or .pdf and must be in Arial or Times New Roman, 12-point font.

  • How to Participate
    There are three categories for which submissions can be entered: Adult (ages 18+), Student (ages 12-17), and Child (ages 5-11).

Multiple submissions from a single individual are accepted.

Due to COVID-19, submissions are only accepted electronically via the Submission Form. Stay safe during the challenge and always follow the social distancing guidelines and other recommendations set forth by public health officials.

  • Submission Deadline
    Submissions are accepted until Friday, June 5, 2020, at 5:00 PM PDT. Entries will be shared on our website and social media on World Oceans Day, Monday, June 8, 2020.


Shark Science Week

August 2020, Dates TBD

For a full week, the Seymour Center will celebrate Shark Science Week by revealing fascinating facts about these cartilaginous fishes. Come explore amazing shark adaptations including their extraordinary senses, the unique ways in which they reproduce, and so much more. Shark touching pool open every day! Shark Science week was July 28August 3, 2019. 2020 dates TBD.


Sea Otter Awareness Week

2020 Dates TBD

Discover the vital role sea otters play in the nearshore ecosystem during Sea Otter Awareness Week. Special pop-up exhibits will highlight sea otters’ natural history, reveal conservation issues facing these marine mammals, and so much more. Sea Otter Awareness Week was September 24-29, 2019. 2020 dates TBD.

Many thanks to our event sponsor, Elizabeth Quinn, MS DC.


Locals “Seymour” in October

2020 Dates TBD

Santa Cruz County locals can visit the Seymour Marine Discovery Center for free during Locals “Seymour”! 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 “Seymour” was October 1–4, 2019. 2020 dates TBD.

Sponsored by generous donations on Giving Day.



Saturday, October 31, 2020

Wear your costume to the Seymour Center on Halloween and receive $2 off regular price admission! Discount available for adults, seniors, and children on Saturday, October 31, 2020 from 10 AM–5 PM.


Jingle Shells Arts & Crafts Festival

Sunday, December 12, 2020
Noon5:30 PM

Celebrate the holidays – Santa Cruz-style! The Seymour Center hosts its Jingle Shells Arts and Crafts Festival annually in December.

This holiday tradition features more than 30 local artists and craftspeople who will tempt you with their ocean- and nature-inspired wares. The festival features ocean-themed gifts, while proceeds directly support marine science education. Meet artists, shop for unique holiday gifts, enjoy live music, hot apple cider, free gift wrapping, children’s activities, and explore Seymour Center exhibits, aquarium, and touch pools. Where else can you touch a shark and get your holiday shopping accomplished all while supporting ocean conservation?

Shop jewelry, ceramics, art glass, photography, gourmet food gifts, and much more—all by local artisans—and save 10% in the Ocean Discovery Shop!

Special one-day-only price:

Adult $7 | Senior, Student, Child $5 | Children 2 and under FREE
Members: FREE

Thank you to our 2019 sponsor:

Read more about the 2016 Jingle Shells from NBC Bay Area.


Elephant Seal Weekend Celebration

February 2021, Dates TBD

Explore the fascinating world and interesting adaptations of northern elephant seals during a special weekend celebration. Unique pop-up exhibits will reveal natural history, migration strategies, and allow visitors to become citizen scientists (helping out UC Santa Cruz researchers). As a citizen scientist, learn about elephant seals, sea lions, and seabirds that visit Año Nuevo Island, an important natural reserve north of Santa Cruz; then analyze drone photos to identify and count different types of animals that visit the island. Top the weekend off with February Science Sunday speakers Dr. Roxanne Beltran and Sarah Wood who will provide insight into their lives as scientists as well as exciting facts about elephant seals. Special Valentine’s-themed arts and crafts are offered throughout the weekend. Elephant Seal Weekend Celebration was February 14-16, 2020. 2021 dates TBD.

Earth Week

April 20–25, 2021

Learn more about the big blue planet called Earth during the Seymour Center’s 2021 Earth Week celebration! Special pop-up exhibits and fun arts and crafts will be set-up for visitors every day during the week. Plus, each April the Seymour Center’s Earth Week celebration includes free admission for anyone arriving via people power (bicycle, walking, etc.) or via public transportation. The Seymour Center thanks you for doing your part to reduce your carbon emissions!


2020 Online Earth Week Celebration Activities:

Create Art with a Message
Create a beautiful handcrafted Earth and write a pledge to show your appreciation or commitment to conservation! Make your pledge.

Craft Earth Instructions (PDF)


Let’s Talk Trash: Recycle vs. Trash Sorting Game
Want to call yourself a recycling master? Do you know what common household items can be recycled or sent to the landfill based on the City of Santa Cruz’s guidelines? Let’s find out and play a sorting game!

Sorting Game Instructions and Printable Labels (PDF)
Sorting Game Answer Key (PDF)

To learn more about recycling in the City of Santa Cruz, please visit the interactive recycling guide. Recycle right!


Record Virtual Field Observations
Hone your data collection skills and make virtual field observations with the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group’s live webcams. The live webcams are focused on two peregrine falcon nests in San Jose and San Francisco. The Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group is a research group housed within the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

Virtual Field Observations Instructions and Worksheets (PDF)
Link to Live Webcams


Many thanks to our 2020 event sponsor, New Leaf Community Markets.


Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Take your mother out for a beautiful seaside Mother’s Day in Santa Cruz at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. There’s fun for everyone in the family! Learn a little about moms who live in the ocean, and stop in for Sunday Seaside Crafts (1–3 PM) to create a special ocean-themed Mother’s Day gift to give to her, right on the spot.


2020 Online Mother’s Day Celebration Activities:


Make a Forever Flower for your Mom
Create a beautiful flower that will never wilt! This simple craft uses common items found at home to create a colorful gift for your mom.

Forever Flower Craft Instructions (PDF)


My Sea Otter Mom Coloring Storybook
Learn how sea otter moms raise their young. Create and color a printable storybook.

My Sea Otter Mom Coloring Storybook Instructions (PDF)
Printable Storybook (PDF)


Learn about an Amazing Seymour Center Mom!
The Seymour Center is home to many incredible animal mothers. One of these amazing mothers is a swell shark who most likely laid a fertilized egg by parthenogenesis earlier this year. This means her egg was fertilized without a male! Watch the video to learn more about this astounding mom and her pup.

A Story of Solo Motherhood Video Script (PDF)


Many thanks to our 2020 event sponsor, Monterey Bay Sea Glass


Days & Hours

Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM


Explore an incredible world of marine mammal science from your own home this summer. Space is limited. Apply NOW!

Explore the intricate beauty of bat stars up close. Learn how they sense their surroundings and why they feel scratchy to the touch. Watch the 4-minute video here!

Monday, June 8, 2020
Join us for a virtual World Oceans Day celebration and take part in the Seymour Center Online Ocean Superhero Challenge.

June 8, 2020, 11 AM–12 PM
Learn about exciting, current research from award-winning UC Santa Cruz students studying the oceans.

Enjoy outdoor highlights of the spectacular Coastal Science Campus as you explore the network of trails with this guide to interpretive signs.

Start your own marine science journal today with these cool observation activities with video links. Designed for ages seven and up.

Create ocean-inspired crafts and activities using materials found around the house. Find instructions for our latest craft: Camouflage Challenge.


Stay informed about tours, activities & events throughout the year



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