May 21, 2019

Sea Center Celebrates World Oceans Day with Free Admission

On Saturday, June 8 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center on Stearns Wharf—in collaboration with local, national, and international science and conservation groups—will celebrate World Oceans Day by offering free Sea Center admission to all visitors.

Sea Center visitors of all ages can enjoy activities that invite them to think about the local marine environment and a wider global context. They’ll be able to explore a kelp holdfast in search of the numerous small animals that live inside kelp’s anchoring structure, and create art inspired by the kelp forest habitat. Visitors can immerse themselves with Blue Whales via a virtual reality headset in the Sea Center’s Channel Theatre. UCSB researchers from Hofmann Lab, Stier Lab, the Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research Project, and the Research Experience & Education Facility will explain their scientific work in local waters. Representatives from Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Surfrider Foundation, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and the U.S. Coast Guard will show how they work to protect local marine resources.

To gain a sense of the bigger picture of marine health and climate interaction, guests can make a Penguin Post to receive a postcard from researchers in the Antarctic, learn about ocean currents and gyres with the Sea Center’s Portal to the Planet program, and talk to an outreach team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Harbor Patrol Fire Boat will stage a water display at 4:00 PM (time subject to change).

In an effort to create awareness of sustainable seafood practices and options for the Santa Barbara community, the Sea Center has partnered with local restaurants and seafood suppliers to provide a special seafood item on their menus deemed “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch ( for the week leading up to World Oceans Day. Seafood partners include Get Hooked, Kanaloa Seafood, and more to be announced.

Surfrider Foundation’s Santa Barbara chapter will hold a beach clean-up at 9:00 AM on East Beach next to the pier before the event begins at 10:00 AM.

World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. A petition was then widely circulated to the United Nations, persuading them to officially recognize World Oceans Day. In December 2008, a United Nations General Assembly resolution was passed and June 8 became officially recognized as World Oceans Day.

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About the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Powered by Science. Inspired by Nature. In 1987, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History built the Sea Center on historic Stearns Wharf to communicate the biodiversity and ecological importance of the regional ocean environment. This small aquarium and marine education facility offers guests hands-on encounters with life from the Santa Barbara Channel, including Swell Sharks, rays, sea stars, sea urchins, and anemones. On the wet deck, guests experiment like scientists by using oceanographic tools to sample the ocean and examine life below. Upstairs, guests can view mesmerizing jellies, a Mantis Shrimp, a California Two-Spot Octopus, soft corals, and other animals found in nearby waters. Life-size replicas of a Gray Whale mother and her calf preside over an unparalleled view of the coast towards East Beach, Montecito, and the spectacular Santa Ynez Mountains. For more information, visit

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