Family Events

Join us for special ocean-themed celebrations throughout the year. From World Oceans Day to Shark Science Week, 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.



Saturday, October 31, 2020

Learn how UC Santa Cruz researchers are uncovering the chilling mysteries of the deep sea during the Seymour Center’s spook-tacular virtual Halloween event!

Deep-Sea Science 


Deep-Sea Coral Virtual Exhibit

Delve into the deep with the Deep-Sea Coral virtual exhibit. Deep-Sea Coral is a digital mixed media project featuring curated archives from nearly 20 years of deep-sea exploration of ancient denizens of the deep by UC Santa Cruz researchers. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the beach and the sound of waves crashing against the sand, head offshore and down into the ocean. Beneath the last twinkle of sunlight, you’ll find amazing organisms in the deep ocean. Start exploring!

Deep-Sea Corals: Denizens of the Twilight Zone, and Silent Recorders of the Ocean’s Changing Ecology

Sunday, November 15, 2020, 1:30 PM PST

Keep exploring the deep sea after the spooky Halloween holiday! Join us online on Sunday, November 15, 2020, at 1:30 PM PST to learn more about deep-sea corals from Matthew McCarthy, professor, and Tom Guilderson, adjunct professor, from the Ocean Sciences department at UC Santa Cruz. For more information and to register in advance for the webinar (required), please visit our Science Sunday page.

Virtual Deep-Sea Scavenger Hunt

The mesopelagic, otherwise known as the ocean’s twilight zone, extends from 200 to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. Linking all of the world’s oceans, it is the largest continuous ecosystem and biome on Earth. The mesopelagic is home to familiar-looking creatures such as sea stars and urchins, as well as to unique and alien-looking life such as mid-water gelatinous creatures and deep-sea corals. Using the National Marine Sanctuaries deep-sea species ID guide, watch the video below and identify soft corals, hard corals, and animals from the twilight zone. Try to find them all!

National Marine Sanctuaries Deep-Sea Species ID Guide


Spooky Creatures at the Seymour Center


Spooky Marine Mammal Skulls

Follow along with the 13-minute Spooky Marine Mammal Skulls virtual pre-recorded program to learn how to identify marine mammal skulls, compare and contrast different features, and understand how scientists at Long Marine Lab are using information they discover in the lab to conserve marine mammals in the wild. 


Hooded Nudibranch (Melibe leonina) Creature Feature


Bat Star (Patiria miniata) Creature Feature


Deep-Sea Crafts


DIY: Deep-Sea Bubblegum Coral

Using materials found around the house, build a deep-sea bubblegum coral (Paragorgia arborea) replica. 

Deep-Sea Bubblegum Coral Instructions – PDF

Construct a Deep-Sea Vampire Squid Hat

Looking for a last-minute Halloween costume? Turn into a vampire squid, an animal commonly found in the twilight zone, by decorating a vampire squid hat for the perfect under-the-sea look!

Vampire Squid Hat Instructions – PDF


Jingle Shells Arts & Crafts Festival

The annual Jingle Shells Arts and Crafts Festival will not take place in 2020 due to the Seymour Center’s continued temporary closure. We hope to host this wonderful event once more in 2021!


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


World Oceans Day

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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’s celebration and take part in the “Better Bag Challenge” and decorate/make a reusable tote bag. Make an ocean promise and create a special ocean-themed craft. World Oceans Day is celebrated on June 8 each year.

2020 Online World Oceans Day Activities:

Seymour Center Online Ocean Superhero Challenge

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Seymour Center Online Ocean Superhero Challenge. Read the postings from our ocean superheroes!

Raising Awareness in Underserved Communities
Our Roots Project
Name: Zekiah ‘Mawunyo’ Gomado
Category: Age 5-11

Shark Poem
Name: Alisa de Vil
Category: Age 5-11

Make the Better Bag Promise

Turn an old T-shirt into a no-sew reusable bag!

Better Bag Promise Instructions (PDF)

Create an Ocean-Themed Upcycled Craft

Design a beautiful handmade jelly made from an upcycled yogurt container.

Upcycled Jelly Instructions (PDF)

A Special World Oceans Day Presentation: Lightning Talks with 2019-20 Student Research and Education Awards Recipients

Join us online on Monday, June 8, 2020, at 11 AM PDT to learn about exciting, current research from award-winning UC Santa Cruz students studying the oceans. For more information and to register in advance for the live webinar (required), please visit

Father’s Day

June 20, 2021

Virtually celebrate Father’s Day with the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and learn more about seaside-dwelling dads. Create and color beautiful Laysan albatross coloring sheets, enjoy a 2-minute video exploring the bay pipefish’s unique reproductive methods, and join us for an engaging virtual Science Sunday lecture. There is fun for everyone in the family!

2020 Online Father’s Day Activities:

Celebrating Feathered Fathers

Soar into the wonderful world of albatross parenthood and learn how albatross fathers help feed and raise their chick. Color beautiful coloring sheets provided by artist and author, Caren Loebel-Fried. Then, complete a challenging albatross-inspired word scramble.

Special thanks to Caren Loebel-Fried who graciously agreed to have her coloring sheets available for free download exclusively on the Seymour Center’s website. Find more from Caren at

Bay Pipefish: Babies on Board

Bay pipefish are fin-tastic fathers! Amazingly, male bay pipefish carry fertilized eggs in a specialized pouch under their tails until the eggs are ready to hatch and young bay pipefish emerge. Watch the 2-minute video to learn more about bay pipefish and this unique breeding behavior.

Science Sunday

Join us online on Sunday, June 21, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT to learn more about the ecology, diving behavior, and movement patterns of Antarctic leopard seals from Dan Costa, director of UC Santa Cruz’s Institute of Marine Sciences and distinguished professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 

Find more information and register in advance for the webinar (required).


Shark Science Week

2021 Dates TBD

For a full week, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center will virtually celebrate Shark Science Week by revealing fascinating facts about these cartilaginous fishes through crafts, activities, videos, and interviews with curators and scientists. Explore amazing shark adaptations including their extraordinary senses, the unique ways in which they reproduce, and so much more—online! Virtual Shark Science Week was August 9-15, 2020.

Swell Sharks at the Seymour Center

Swell Shark-Appreciation Q&A
Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

Join us for a LIVE swell shark-appreciation Q&A with Seymour Center Aquarium Curator Peter Macht on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT. Discover the unique biology of swell sharks and learn what makes them so special.

Shark Science

Labside Chat
Thursday, August 13, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

Tune in for a special Shark Science Week Labside Chat with Melissa Cronin, Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at UC Santa Cruz, on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT to learn more about the conservation of cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and rays.

Tagging of Pelagic Predators

Scientists from around the world attach satellite and acoustic tags to over 20 different species in the Pacific Ocean including white sharks, salmon sharks, mako sharks, and whale sharks. Data reveals movement patterns of these animals coupled with oceanographic conditions such as ocean temperature, currents, and depth, allowing scientists to better understand the behavior of these often mysterious creatures.

Follow the movements of these sharks in real time! For access to the data and more information, visit

Tagging of Pelagic Predators was co-founded by researchers from UC Santa Cruz.

Amazing Shark Adaptations

Masters of Camouflage
Sharks have adapted to blend in, or camouflage, within their habitat. The ability to blend in or hide in plain sight can help a shark avoid predators or sneak up on unsuspecting prey. Can you guess which habitat the shark lives in based on its distinctive camouflage? Play the matching game to find out!

Let’s Talk Teeth
One shark tooth does not fit all! Shark teeth are adapted to help different shark species eat a specialized diet. Teeth come in various shapes, sizes, and patterns, and are generally grouped into four different categories: cutting, gripping, crushing, and filter-feeding. Depending on if the shark eats big, small, fast, slow, soft, or hard prey, the shark’s teeth will be shaped and sized accordingly. Test your knowledge of shark teeth and play the matching game to guess which set of teeth belong to a specific shark!

Need a hint? Review this 4Ocean infographic for a helpful clue.

Incredible Reproduction
Swell sharks are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs to give birth! A swell shark at the Seymour Center most likely laid a fertilized egg by parthenogenesis earlier this year. This means her egg was fertilized without a male! Watch the video from the Seymour Center’s Mother’s Day celebration to learn more about this astounding reproduction method.

Shark Crafts

Create a Clothespin Shark
Using a clothespin, toothpicks, colored pencils, and your imagination, create a moveable shark with a real bite!

Color a Swell Shark
Color a beautiful swell shark that lives at the bottom of a kelp forest—just like you would find in the Monterey Bay outside of the Seymour Center!


Sea Otter Awareness Week

September 2021, Dates TBD

Discover the critical role sea otters play in the nearshore ecosystem during the Seymour Center’s virtual Sea Otter Awareness Week. Special at-home activities, lectures, interviews with scientists, and crafts will highlight sea otters’ natural history, reveal conservation issues facing these marine mammals, and so much more. Virtual Sea Otter Awareness Week was September 20-26, 2020.

Sea Otter Science

Science Sunday: Sharing Space with Sea Otters
Sunday, September 20, 2020, 1:30 PM PDT

Join us online on Sunday, September 20, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT to learn more about sea otter biology and conservation from Gena Bentall, founder and chief scientist at Sea Otter Savvy. For more information and to register in advance for the webinar (required), please visit our Science Sunday page.

Counting Sea Otters: In the Field During the Sea Otter Census
Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

Watch a LIVE 20-minute conversation highlighting the sea otter census with Joe Tomoleoni, biologist and southwest region dive safety officer with the US Geological Survey, on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT. Understand why a sea otter census is important, what it’s like in the field during a census, and the implications the census reveals on sea otter population recovery and conservation.

Labside Chats
Thursday, September 24, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

Tune in for an exclusive Sea Otter Awareness Week Labside Chat to explore how sea otters navigate the underwater world. Join us as we talk with Sarah McKay Strobel, Ph.D., from the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz, on Thursday, September 24, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT.

Sea Otter Crafts

How Do Sea Otters Keep Warm?
LIVE At-Home DIY Experiment
Friday, September 25, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

Follow along with this LIVE at-home DIY experiment on Friday, September 25, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT to discover how sea otters keep warm in chilly ocean waters and the associated challenges. Watch to learn why sea otters are unique, and how their insulation method compares with other mammals such as seals, sea lions, and humans—then try the experiment out for yourself!

To prepare for this experiment you will need:

  • a large bowl filled with ice and water
  • five freezer Ziploc bags (quart-size or larger)
  • Crisco or shortening (sticks preferred)
  • bubble wrap
  • duct tape
  • hand towel

Color a Sea Otter

Color a diving sea otter that lives in a kelp forest—like you would find in the Monterey Bay just outside of the Seymour Center!

Sea Otter Coloring Page – PDF


Saturdays, 11 AM–3 PM
Now–December 19, 2020
Join us for outdoor, in-person shopping this holiday season! Find gifts for all ages.

Support Hawaiian monk seal conservation—and enjoy a truly unique gift for the holidays—with our Adopt a Monk Seal package, available at the Seymour Center’s Seaside Shopping!

Dive into the Seymour Center challenge to engineer an invention to solve a type of plastic pollution problem affecting our watersheds and oceans.

December 10, 2020
3:30 PM PST (special time!)
Tune in to our last Labside Chat of 2020 to explore the intricacies of marine mammal physiology with Shawn Noren, Ph.D.

Drift peacefully among curious juvenile rockfish and a shiner surfperch currently housed in the Seymour Center’s "SMURF" tank in this short video.


Find events and activities for ocean-enthusiasts of all ages.



Stay informed about what's new and upcoming at the Seymour Center.