What an 87 Foot Skeleton, Shark Petting & a Musical Sea Lion Have in Common

Seymour Center

I touched a shark today.

Sure, the shark wasn’t a great white and it was only a couple feet long, but that’s still pretty cool, right?

My wife and I both had the day off work today so we took our 14 month old daughter to the Seymour Center, out at the end of Deleware Avenue, just past Natural Bridges.

My daughter didn’t pet the shark.  Her little baby arms weren’t long enough.  Luckily there were other interactive activities for her to enjoy.

About the Seymour Center

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a non-profit public facility.  Part of UCSC’s Long Marine Lab, the Seymour Center is dedicated to offering marine science and ocean conservation education to the public.

The Seymour center has hands on exhibits, an aquarium, and offers guided tours and educational programs for students of all ages.

Blue Whale Skeleton Seymour Center

Out front you’ll also find the largest displayed whale skeleton in the world.  The blue whale skeleton is 87 feet long!

Inside the Seymour Center

Touch Tank Seymour CenterThe exhibit hall has interactive educational exhibits, an aquarium, and touch tanks.

There is a touch tank with sea stars and sea anemones which is great for young children.  The staff members who oversee the touch tank are friendly and knowledgable.

The 2nd touch tank has a swell shark.  It’s about 3 feet long and entirely safe, but it still feels weird to plunge your hand into the water to touch a shark.

The aquarium gives you a chance to see a variety of sea life up close, from a disturbingly large crab, to tanks full of jellyfish.

Take a step outside onto the patio or walking paths to take in the beautiful 180 degree views of the Monterey Bay.

Seymour Center

Make sure to bring your camera.  There are plenty of great photo opportunities inside the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.  Just be sure to observe the posted “no flash” rules.

Yes, that’s me and my sweet little girl, posing as a sea otter and a shark.

Daily Tours

45 minute guided tours are offered daily at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00.

Family tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00.  These 30 minute guided tours are tailored for younger children.


The Seymour Center offers facility rentals for business meetings, parties, weddings and more.

To learn more about hosting an event at the Seymour Center, contact the events coordinator at (831) 459-2784

Behind the Curtain

The Long Marine Lab is a state of the art research and educational facility.  The Seymour Center offers the public a window into the research being conducted at the Long Marine Lab.

However, the general public doesn’t have access to the research facilities which include dolphins and sea lions, amongst other things.   Check out the video below for a peek at some of the fun(ny) and interesting work going on at the Long Marine Lab.

Seymour Center Hours & Pricing

Tuesday - Sunday10am - 5pm
Daily Tours1:00, 2:00 & 3:00
Student or Senior$6.00
Child (3-16)$6.00

Tip – Check the Visitor Information page on the Seymour Center’s website for a schedule of “Community Free Friday’s.”

Seymour Marine Discovery Center
100 Shaffer Road
Santa Cruz, Ca 95060
(831) 459-3799

About Ethan Oates

Ethan Oates fell in love with Santa Cruz while visiting as a child. He has lived in Santa Cruz since the mid '90's, and is happiest when spending time with his family.

  • Molly says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article about our center! Just an FYI for anyone interested in visiting us, our hours and fees changed as of Jan 1, 2014. We are now open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Adults are $8, Children 3-16 are $6, Seniors (65+) are $6, and Students are $6. Members are always free! Our tour times are all the same except on Sundays we no longer offer a 12:30pm tour, rather we offer an 11am tour. Come on by to touch a shark and learn about marine science and conservation!

    • Ethan Oates says:

      Hi Molly,

      Thank you for stopping by, and for sharing the updated info with us.

      The post has been updated with the new information. We’re looking forward to our next family visit to the Seymour Center!

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