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/.

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The Sanctuary Exploration Center And Offices Are Now Closed To The Public.

This is a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We are following local and departmental guidance, and will continue to monitor the situation. We thank you for your understanding. (11/2/2020)
 

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Facility Rental


event set up in classroom
The Exploration Center is great for special events.

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

Hours and Availability

The SEC is open for private events Monday through Sunday from 8:30am to 10:30pm. The SEC's Exhibit Hall public operating hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Exhibit Hall and lobbies are not available for private events during public operating hours.

Facility

The Exploration Center is a fantastic place to have your special event. With its excellent location across from Cowells Beach and just steps to the Beach Boardwalk, your guests have access to kayaking, surfing or other water activities in the sanctuary. The SEC is a 12,400 square foot building designed and built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard. The two-story facility includes the following areas and their standing capacities (unless otherwise stated):

  • Total Capacity for an event: 350
  • Lobby (Maximum Capacity: 24)
  • Classroom (Maximum Capacity: 60)
    • Classroom seated dining capacity—six 72" banquet rounds or six 8' banquet tables
  • Outdoor Patio (Maximum Capacity: 100)
    • Patio seated dining capacity—five to six 72" banquet rounds or six 8' banquet tables
  • Exhibit Hall (Maximum Capacity: 150)
  • Fly-Thru Theater (Maximum Capacity: (60 sitting)
  • Observation Deck (Maximum Capacity: 20)

To make a reservation and secure a date, please return the rental reservation form below.

More information: