Thar she glows! Seymour Center lights up Ms. Blue for the holidays

The 87-foot blue whale skeleton at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory will again brighten the holiday season this year. Fondly known as Ms. Blue, the massive whale skeleton will glow each evening in December at the lab's Seymour Center. It is believed to be the world's largest assembled whale skeleton on public display.

"The holiday lights on Ms. Blue help visitors truly grasp her size--I'm always impressed by the way they show off her magnificence against the dark night," said Julie Barrett Heffington, director of the Seymour Center.

To celebrate the holidays, the Seymour Center will host the Jingle Shells Art and Book Festival on Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the festive "whale lighting" scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The festival features ocean-themed books and gifts, live music, refreshments, free gift-wrapping, and children's activities. Meet artists and authors, shop for unique holiday gifts, and explore the Seymour Center's exhibits, aquarium, and touch tanks. Proceeds directly support marine science education. Entrance fees to the center are waived for children 16 and under during the entire day.

The Seymour Center will also stay open for extended holiday hours until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, December 13 and 20. From 5 to 9 p.m., visitors can enjoy free admission, holiday treats, free gift-wrapping on Ocean Discovery Shop purchases, and the opportunity to behold the glowing glory of Ms. Blue.

Located on the bluffs overlooking Monterey Bay, Long Marine Lab is dedicated to advancing human understanding of the world's oceans. The lab welcomes visitors to the Seymour Center--come explore the endeavors and discoveries of our scientists and learn about ocean conservation and fascinating careers. The center's exhibits and aquariums feature research conducted by UCSC scientists in the Monterey Bay and around the world.

The Seymour Center at Long Marine Lab is located at the end of Delaware Avenue on the west side of Santa Cruz. Regular public visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, please call (831) 459-3800 or visit the web site at