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

Plan Your Visit


Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am – 4pm

(Closed Monday and Tuesday)

Call for holiday hours or more information: (831) 421-9993

Free Admission!


The Sanctuary Exploration Center is located directly across the street from the Santa Cruz Wharf at 35 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz CA.

From Highway 17 (south toward Santa Cruz)

  • Take CA-1 N toward CA-9/Half Moon Bay/Boulder Creek
  • Keep left to stay on CA-1 N toward Santa Cruz
  • Continue by following the directions listed directly below

From the South on Hwy 1

  • Take CA-1 N toward Santa Cruz
  • Follow signs for CA-1 N /Ocean Street/Beaches
  • Take slight left to head south onto Ocean Street.
  • Turn right onto Broadway
  • Continue onto Laurel St.
  • Turn left onto Center St.
  • At the traffic circle, take the second exit onto Pacific Ave.
  • The center is on the right at the intersection of Beach St.

From the North on Hwy 1

  • Take CA-1 S toward Santa Cruz.
  • Turn right onto Bay St.
  • Turn left onto West Cliff Dr.
  • Slight right onto Beach St.
  • The center is on the left at the intersection of Pacific St.


There are many parking garages in the area (Learn more)

Limited metered parking is available on the surrounding streets.

Catch a ride on the trolley!

The trolley is the best way to get back and forth between the exploration center and downtown to avoid traffic and parking hassles. Learn more


View MBNMS Sanctuary Exploration Center in a larger map
Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Take Our Survey | Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |