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.
Sea Otter Awareness Week
September 20-26, 2020
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 is 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.
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 (available during Sea Otter Awareness Week)
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Prepare for a spook-tacular virtual event! Learn how UC Santa Cruz researchers are uncovering the chilling mysteries of the deep sea. At-home Halloween activities will be available for download on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
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.
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!
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.
Many thanks to our 2020 event sponsor, New Leaf Community Markets.
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.
My Sea Otter Mom Coloring Storybook
Learn how sea otter moms raise their young. Create and color a printable storybook.
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.
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
Name: Alisa de Vil
Category: Age 5-11
Make the Better Bag Promise
Turn an old T-shirt into a no-sew reusable bag!
Create an Ocean-Themed Upcycled Craft
Design a beautiful handmade jelly made from an upcycled yogurt container.
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 seymourcenter.ucsc.edu/learn/college-students/.
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.
- Albatross reading and word scramble instructions – PDF
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 carenloebelfried.com.
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.
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
August 9-15, 2020
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.
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 TOPP.org.
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.
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.
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!