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Sanctuary Exploration Center

Welcome to the Sanctuary Exploration Center! Located just steps away from the ocean and Santa Cruz Wharf, the center features state-of-the art exhibits and interactive displays highlighting the sanctuary and its incredible underwater environment. Visitors can explore the sanctuary's remarkable marine environment as well as their personal role in protecting one of our nation's underwater treasures.

Plan Your Visit

Directions & parking, field trips, facility use and more.


Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am – 4pm
(Closed Monday and Tuesday)
Call for holiday hours or more information:
(831) 421-9993

Free Admission!

kelp forest exhibit
Kelp forest exhibit

Learn more about the center:

sanctuary exploration center building

About the Center

Meet our staff, learn about the center's history, mission and more.



Ride the Santa Cruzer!

Avoid the traffic and use the city's all-electric shuttle! Enjoy a fast, fun ride between downtown and the beach for only $1 per ride.


Guide visitors through exhibits, help with events and programs, or assist with daily operations.

Facility Rentals

The facilities operated by the Sanctuary Exploration Center are suitable for all types of functions- receptions, parties, weddings and social gatherings as well as a variety of meetings and events

Calendar of Events

Check out these exciting daily and special activities.

tail of the whale bench

Field Trips

Self-guided tours are available now by reservation only. Guided tours and other programs will be offered in the future.

wolf eel model


Explore the marine sanctuary through state-of-the art displays, research discoveries and interactive exhibits.


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

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