National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on sanctuaries.noaa.gov/coronavirus/.

Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

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 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday
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:
805-927-6575

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.