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MBNMS Visitors Centers

If you visit San Simeon or Santa Cruz, we hope you will stop by one of our interpretive centers to enjoy interactive exhibits and lively programs about the sanctuary with trained volunteers that will enrich your experience. Each visitor center is unique, offering a variety of different displays and programs. Check the descriptions about them below to find out more.


Sanctuary Exploration Center, Santa Cruz, CA

Hours: 10:00 to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday, and holidays
Free Admission!

Just steps away from the ocean and famed Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is our newest interpretive center, developed in partnership with the City of Santa Cruz. The center features state-of-the art displays, a film, interactive exhibits and more. Visitors can explore the sanctuary's remarkable marine environment, as well as their personal role in protecting one of our nation's special underwater treasures.

Students at a Tidepool image

Coastal Discovery Center, San Simeon, CA

Hours: Open Friday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and holidays. Call for holiday hours or school group reservations:

Free Admission!
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California State Parks operate the Coastal Discovery Center jointly. Located at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach on beautiful San Simeon Bay, the center celebrates the connection between land and sea, offering interactive exhibits and education programs which highlight the cultural and natural history of the region.

Students at a Tidepool image

Visitor Centers Operated By Other Environmental Groups

The central coast of California is renowned for its spectacular natural scenery, a breathtaking meeting of land and sea. A variety of groups are involved in protecting this special environment and operate visitor centers, museums or aquariums for the public to learn more about the region's natural and cultural treasures.

Reviewed: September 08, 2023
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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