The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center opened with a bang last week as hundreds of community members turned out to get a first look at Santa Cruz’s newest free public attraction.
The center features state-of-the-art, interactive interpretive exhibits that provide visitors with a better understanding of the ocean and local sea life. These innovative exhibits will allow visitors a unique look into the issues impacting the marine ecosystem, as well as encouraging each person to examine the personal role they have in the protection of one of our nation’s underwater treasures.
The 12,600 square foot facility features nine major exhibits including an open ocean mini theater and a user controlled submersible that explores a lifelike submarine canyon.
Grand opening attendees took part in an opening ceremony featuring guest speakers from Santa Cruz all the way to Washington D.C.. Attendees were even greeted by a trainload of visitors on their way from Roaring Camp to the beach area. Just before guests were allowed to head in and experience the exploration center for the first time, National Marine Sanctuary, state, and local officials took part in a ceremonial "kelp cutting" to officially open the doors to the center.
The new Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center is located next to the beach, Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk at 35 Pacific Avenue. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is completely free to the public. For more information about the center, visit their web site or call 831.421.9993.