Seymour Marine Discovery Center will reopen in October

docent and visitors at shark pool
The Seymour Center’s popular shark touching pool is among the indoor exhibits that will again be open to visitors in October. (Photograph taken prior to COVID-19. The Seymour Center and UC Santa Cruz are following all CDC guidelines.)
gray whale skeleton
Outdoor exhibits at the Seymour Center include gray whale and blue whale skeletons.

Nineteen months after COVID forced its doors to close, the Seymour Center is preparing for a triumphal return. Beginning in October, guests will once again be welcomed back inside to visit the center’s interactive exhibits, touch live sharks, and enjoy a brand new display featuring stunning photographs of marine life taken by UC Santa Cruz scientists in the field.

The new exhibit, entitled “Photos from the Field: Through the Eyes of our Scientists,” reflects a focus on cutting-edge scientific research and how it shapes ocean and coastal conservation efforts.

“One important story the exhibit tells is about how interconnected our different ecosystems are,” says Eric Palkovacs, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and one of the scientists who contributed to the exhibit. “In these photos you will see how headwater streams and rivers, estuaries, rocky shores, coastal redwood forests, and kelp forests are all connected, and their future is intertwined.”

Plan your visit

The Seymour Center will open for two members-only preview weekends October 1–3 and October 8–10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fans of the Seymour Center who are not yet members and would like to attend the opening weekend can sign up for or renew membership online. Basic annual membership prices range from $25 for an individual student to $70 for a family, with additional benefits available for higher levels of membership.

After the preview weekends, the center will reopen to the general public every Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning October 15. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Information to plan your visit is available on the Seymour Center web site.

Behind-the-scenes tours of the marine mammal pools are currently unavailable, but visitors will be able to enjoy all other indoor attractions and the popular outdoor education stations at the famous blue whale and gray whale skeletons.

Jonathan Hicken, the new director of the Seymour Center, says he is excited to be welcoming people back to explore their oceans.

"The human world may have shut down, but the oceans didn't. Neither did the world-class marine scientists who live and work in our community,” says Hicken. “We can’t wait for the Seymour Center’s halls to be filled with curiosity and discovery as you and your family experience the ocean through the eyes of a scientist. Welcome back!”

Health and safety

To ensure the safety of all guests, visitors to the Seymour Center must pass a symptom check before entering the building. Regardless of vaccination status, all guests ages two and older must wear a face covering while indoors. Face coverings must cover both the nose and mouth.