Q. Are you open for visitors?
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is open to the public year round and welcomes all ages. It is a seaside learning center in Santa Cruz, California that brings the adventures and explorations of ocean science to life. Powered by the Long Marine Laboratory, a world-renowned University of California research facility, the Center offers hands-on immersion into the world of ocean exploration and discovery.
Q. What is there to see or do?
Visitors are welcome in our exhibit hall that provides an introduction to the world of marine science. It includes hands-on exhibits,aquarium, and touch pools. You may want to consider taking a tour, enjoying the Ocean Discovery Shop, and simply exploring the spectacular site with stunning vistas of Monterey Bay.
Q. Is your facility appropriate for young children?
Yes, although our mission is focused on understanding the world of ocean science, our Center is an intimate and exciting place for children of all ages, including preschoolers.
Q. What are your hours?
We are open year-round, Tuesdays through Sundays and closed on Mondays (except in July and August when we are open seven days a week). See Hours & Admission.
Q. Are you open/closed on various holidays (specifically—are you open Labor Day, Columbus Day, etc.)?
We are closed most major holidays. See Hours & Admission.
Q. How do I get there?
The Center is located at the end of Delaware Avenue on the west side of Santa Cruz. See Directions.
Q. What is your address?
100 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060. Please be aware that our street name has changed from Shaffer Road to McAllister Way. Note that Shaffer Road is not a through street; your GPS may direct you from Highway 1 onto Shaffer Road. Please take the Swift Street route.
Q. How much does it cost to visit?
There is a modest admission fee. See Hours & Admission.
Q. Is parking free?
Beginning September 1, 2017, permits will be required in the Seymour Center lot (#201). Visitors to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center will receive three hours of free parking with paid admission. Hours of enforcement are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 PM to 5:00 PM, excepting holidays.
Q. Do you have free admission days?
Yes, Community Free Fridays are sprinkled throughout the year. See Hours & Admission.
Q. Do you have strollers or wheelchairs for public use? Are you handicap accessible?
While we do not have strollers or wheelchairs available to the public, our facility and Daily Tours are stroller/wheel chair accessible. UPDATE: Due to ongoing construction on the Coastal Science Campus, our daily tours may have limited accessibility. Please call (831) 459-3800 for current conditions.
Q. What is the closest nearby lodging?
While there are many options in Santa Cruz, the closest lodging to our Center is the Sunset Inn or Mission Inn, both on Mission Street/Highway One in Santa Cruz.
Q. Is your facility available for rental and private special events such as weddings? If so, how much does it cost and when is it available? May I come see it?
Yes! Renting our facility helps to underwrite our marine science education programs. See Plan a Private Event. Please call ahead if you would like to see our event space.
Q. Can I have my child’s birthday party there?
While we do not offer a pre-arranged birthday party package, we can offer an array of activities you may wish to put together. These include self-guided explorations in our exhibit hall, private tours, scavenger hunts (special prizes can be arranged with the Ocean Discovery Shop manager with at least 4 to 6 weeks notice), and outdoor picnic tables. Please call (831) 459-3800 if you wish to discuss this option. You are also welcome to consider renting our ocean view La Feliz Room. See Plan a Private Event for rental information.
Q. Tell me about your tours. How long are they, what do you see? What time are they? Can I sign up now/ahead by phone?
Our daily, 30- and 45-minute tours can be a highlight of your visit. You will learn about research taking place right here at this marine laboratory that helps illuminate our understanding of the ocean. Sign up is first come, first serve, in person at our admissions counter, starting one hour ahead. See Daily Tours.
Q. I’m a teacher, how do I bring my class to visit?
We offer three great ways to bring your Kindergarten through community college school group. All three offer fascinating ways to immerse your class in the world of marine science, research, and discovery. Students will assume the role of a scientist and learn about current research projects underway here at Long Marine Laboratory. All field trip options include access to our interactive exhibits, aquaria, and shark and invertebrate touch pools. Learn about the three types of field trip options, and schedule your visit today.
Q. Do you have summer camps for kids? How do I sign my child up?
Ocean Explorers is our premier summer youth program. Participants ages 7 to 14 spend a week discovering how marine scientists work in the great outdoors and at a working marine lab. Students actively learn about the incredible Monterey Bay from field explorations, hands-on activities, games, and crafts. Due to the popularity of these programs, participation is determined by a random drawing of applicants each spring. To be added to the mailing list for the upcoming season, please call (831) 459-3800. For more information, see Ocean Explorers Summer Camp.
Q. I have a preschool group, after-school group, university group, scout group, adult/senior group, family group, or club that would like to visit. Do we need a reservation?
Self-guided groups are welcome in the exhibit hall, however advance reservations are required for groups of 10 or more people. See Group Visits for more information. If you would like to schedule a tour just for your group, see Reserved Group Tours.
Q. My child is doing a report on a marine topic. Can I set up an interview with a scientist?
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is built for the purpose of interpreting the research that our university scientists do. While it is not possible to book time with a scientist due to the volume of requests, our docents are extremely knowledgeable and can serve in that capacity. We invite you to visit any time and explore the broad range of topics with them.
Q. How are you related to the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)?
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center was established by UC Santa Cruz to educate visitors about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans. We are located along with other UCSC facilities, including our colleagues next door at Long Marine Lab, on the UCSC Marine Science Campus in Santa Cruz, California. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a self-supporting part of UCSC, with the majority of our operational costs, including all staff salaries and benefits, supported through our earned income (admission, program fees, facility rentals, and gift shop sales) and fundraising efforts (events, grants, memberships, gifts, and sponsorships). Your support is sincerely appreciated.
Q. How do I become a volunteer? Can my child become a volunteer?
Our volunteer programs are open to participants ages 15 and older. See Volunteer to learn about the variety of volunteer jobs and how to apply.
Q. How do I purchase a membership? How do I renew my membership?
Please see Join to choose a membership package that is right for you or to renew your membership.
Q. My charitable organization is holding an auction or raffle. Will you donate to this cause?
All requests must be received via postal mail, in writing, on your organization’s stationery at least two months in advance of your event. To be considered, your non-political organization must be headquartered and focus its work within 100 miles of Santa Cruz. No more than one request per group, per year please.
Q. Are you hiring? How can I get a job at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center?
We often hire qualified volunteers and interns. See Volunteer or Internships UC Santa Cruz students are often hired in part-time, or seasonal positions. See Jobs. Career staff positions are also posted on our Jobs page.
Q. I found a stranded marine mammal on the beach, what do I do?
If you have found a dead marine mammal in Santa Cruz County please call (831) 212-1272.If you have found a live marine mammal in Santa Cruz County please call (831) 633-6298. For further information please see the Marine Mammal Stranding Network’s website.