Jingle Shells Holiday Art and Book Festival takes place Saturday, December 7, at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center

The Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory is celebrating the holidays with its annual Jingle Shells Art and Book Festival on Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Do your holiday shopping in a festive atmosphere, with live music, refreshments, children's crafts and storytelling, and free gift wrapping. The festival includes a wide variety of arts and crafts with ocean- and nature-related themes, plus special presentations and book signings by local authors and artists.

Entrance fees to the Seymour Center's exhibits, aquariums, and touch tanks are waived during the entire day. All items in the Ocean Discovery Shop will be on sale at 15 percent off. Arts and crafts available at the festival will include pottery, jewelry, art glass, art prints, photographs, and more. Proceeds from the sale directly support the center's marine science education programs.

The event will conclude with a "whale lighting" ceremony at 6 p.m., when strings of Christmas lights will illuminate Long Marine Lab's 87-foot blue whale skeleton. Fondly known as Ms. Blue, the massive skeleton is believed to be the largest assembled whale skeleton on display anywhere in the world. The lights, which dramatically outline the skeleton, will glow each evening in December.

The festival will include special presentations and book signings by:

  • Sheila O'Hare and Irene Berry, coauthors of Images of America, Santa Cruz, California. The book tells the history of Santa Cruz through photos from the archives of UCSC's McHenry Library.

  • Lalo Fiorelli, author and nature photographer, Wild Splendors of California, a photo essay of California's diverse wildernesses.

  • Frank Perry, author of Lighthouse Point, Illuminating Santa Cruz.

  • Marc Shargel, Lumigenic Media; underwater photography from Monterey Bay and around the world.

  • Richard C. Murphy, Ph.D., director of education and science for the Ocean Futures Society and author of Coral Reefs, Cities under the Sea.

  • David Gubernick, photographer and author of Wildflowers of Monterey County.

  • Judith Babcock Wylie, travel writer and author of Best Places, Central California Coast, Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara.

  • Frank Balthis, naturalist and photographer for the Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide.

The Seymour Center and its Ocean Discovery Shop will have extended hours during the holiday season, staying open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays, December 12 and 19. Stop by to enjoy hot chocolate and holiday treats, and to behold the illuminated glory of Ms. Blue. Admission fees are waived during the extended 5 to 9 p.m. hours.

The Seymour Center is dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world's oceans. Exhibits feature research conducted by UCSC scientists in the Monterey Bay and around the world.

The Seymour Center at Long Marine Lab is at the end of Delaware Avenue, on the west side of Santa Cruz. Regular public visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.. For information, call (831) 459-3800 or visit the center's web site at http://seymourcenter.ucsc.edu.