Family Activities, Museums & Aquariums

Seymour Marine Discovery Center Review

Are you looking for an educational, interactive and affordable family activity while you’re in Santa Cruz, CA? Then, you’ll want to check out my real life Seymour Marine Discovery Center Review below!

About Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Seymour Marine Discovery Center
100 McAllister Way
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a community-supported marine science education center of the University of California, Santa Cruz. It’s a 20,000-square-foot visitor center where guests can touch a shark, explore the latest discoveries in ocean science, and take in the spectacular Monterey Bay.

The Center also offers learning programs including school field-trips, summer youth programs, Science Sundays, volunteer opportunities, internships, and more.

My Thoughts

It’s not as big and fancy as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but it’s a nice small facility that offers an affordable and educational activity for the kids when you’re in Santa Cruz, especially if you want to mix things up and you’ve already visited the beach, boardwalk and state parks. It’s easy to find and has plenty of free parking.

What My Kids Enjoyed

My kids, like all kids, love to touch animals. They really enjoyed the area where you can touch starfish, hermit crabs, etc.

My kids also liked the area where you could pet sleeping sharks. Well, my two daughters liked it. My son was too scared to pet the shark. Sorry, the picture below is kind of blurry, there are two sleeping sharks in that pool of water.

The Center also had other typical aquarium type displays of fish and jelly fish in tanks. It also had some interactive learning exhibits that my kids played with.

The center is located on a hill overlooking the ocean, it is beautiful! We were told on the walking tour that the landscape in the picture below has been rehabilitated to its natural state and previously it used to be farm land for crops.

Below is a picture of a whale skeleton on the side of the center. We were told on the walking tour that it is the largest whale skeleton in a museum in the US. It was huge, you could fit a small car inside the skeleton.

Tip – The Center offers a walking guided tour where they tell you about the history of the Center and surrounding area, as well as show you the other areas of the property aside from the Center. When you do the walking tour, they allow you to see some of the larger animals, like dolphins, seals and such that are used in UC Santa Cruz’s marine research too.

My kids also participated in a craft workshop that is held periodically throughout the day that I don’t have a picture of, sorry!

My Thoughts

Again, it’s not a large flashy aquarium/museum, but it has a lot of nice interactive and educational exhibits. It’s affordable, easy to find with convenient parking. It wasn’t crowded and the guided walking tour was a plus. It’s a great diversion from the typical activities like visiting the beach or boardwalk. So, I hope you enjoyed my real life Seymour Marine Discovery Center Review! Have a fun time in Santa Cruz, we always do!

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