Coastal Discovery Center
The Coastal Discovery Center is open to the public Fridays through Sundays and is staffed by docents. These trained volunteers provide information to some of the 6 million tourists who travel north or south along this National Scenic Byway section of Highway 1 each year. Docents answer questions about local activities such as visiting the historic Hearst Castle, observing northern elephant seals during their pupping and breeding season, visiting the Piedras Blancas Light Station, and viewing wildlife on offshore rocks and in lush kelp forests.
Docents go through a comprehensive training program to learn about local history as well as the natural and cultural resources in the area. Docent activities include greeting visitors in the Coastal Discovery Center, leading history walks along San Simeon Pier, participating in our annual fair and/or becoming involved in educational programs for school groups during the week days.
Docents are asked to make a one-year commitment to fill at least 8 hours per month at the Coastal Discovery Center. Docents are ambassadors for both Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California State Parks. They are also registered as volunteers with California State Parks, qualifying them for special privileges and programs.
The 2016 docent training dates are April 2nd, 9th and 16th! For more information please take a look at the 2016 Become a Coastal Discovery Center Docent (387K PDF) flyer, or
- Attend an information session at Rabobank in Cambria, March 25th, 6:30pm
- talk to a docent at the Coastal Discovery Center, Fri - Sun from 11am-5pm
- or contact Carolyn Skinder by email, or call her at (805) 801-0773.
Citizen Monitoring Programs
Volunteers provide a critical link between Sanctuary users and Sanctuary managers through interaction, data collection and interpretation. Volunteers work to support the activities and management of the 4,601 square nautical mile Sanctuary by collecting water samples (Snapshot Day), weekly plankton monitoring (Department of Health Services), monitoring rocky tidepools (LiMPETS), and monthly counts of beach cast marine mammals and seabirds (Beach COMBERS).
For more information, visit the Coastal Discovery Center or contact:
Southern Region Program Coordinator
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
P.O. Box 116 San Simeon, CA 93452