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

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

sanctuary exploration center banner

Plan Your Visit


Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am - 5pm

(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.

Download a Fact Sheet

(586K PDF)


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