The Sea Center implements funding from the Santa Barbara County’s Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund to upgrade their educational facility
Santa Barbara, CA- The County of Santa Barbara’s CREF program granted the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History $30,000 in 2014, providing the final support needed for the construction and installation of the California Coast Immersion Zone project on the first floor of the Sea Center, located on Stearns Wharf. This project brings three new engaging exhibits to the Sea Center: the Shark Cove, Intertidal Wonders, and Safe Sanctuaries.
These spaces connect visitors to the richness, vitality, and beauty of local coastal marine resources. The enhancements both improve the Sea Center’s educational effectiveness for school children and visitors as well as keep the Museum’s marine educational facility in good shape.
Completed in three phases, the first component of the project was the installation of Intertidal Wonders. This area now features a highly improved, larger, and ADA accessible cascading series of four touch pools where visitors can, with the help of a volunteer, feel the spiny skin of a sea urchin, or the smooth body of a sea cucumber, among other intertidal zone animals. Behind the pool is a 16ft long mural of a local beach and tide pool. Amanda Allen, Director of the Sea Center shares “the feedback from visiting teachers, school groups, and families with children has been especially positive and the improvement is resulting in more smiles, increased stay time, and an overall increase in visitation to the Sea Center”.
The second phase was installed with the new components of the Shark Cove exhibit. Shark Cove, an ADA compliant space, is highly interactive and highlights the value of sharks in our marine ecosystem. It includes a brand new touch pool, shark nursery display, dive cage interactive, micro-viewer for examining shark teeth and other artifacts, food web interactive for children, and a mono-filament recycle station to encourage visitors to recycle old or broken fishing line that might otherwise make its way into the ocean, harming sea animals that become entangled or entrapped.
The final suite of didactics and a smaller Marine Protected Area (MPA) exhibit space, Safe Sanctuaries, highlighting local MPAs was just completed at the end of May 2016. Of special importance, the Sea Center’s endangered White Abalone received a new habitat and two interactive exhibit elements were unveiled that encourage guests to explore Santa Barbara Channel MPAs.
This project was financed in part by Santa Barbara County’s Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund, a partial mitigation of impacts from the following offshore oil and gas projects: Point Arguello, Point Pedernales, and Santa Ynez Unit.
About the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History & Sea Center
Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History reconnects more than 100,000 people each year (including their 5,800 members) to nature indoors and outdoors. Uniquely nestled in nature, the Museum has ten indoor exhibit halls focusing on regional natural history including astronomy, birds, insects, geology, mammals, marine life, paleontology, plant life, and the Chumash Indians.
The Museum’s outdoor nature experience continues down to the Pacific Ocean at its Sea Center located on the historic Stearns Wharf. The Sea Center offers over 100,000 visitors a window to ocean life in the Santa Barbara Channel through its interactive exhibits and close-up, hands-on encounters with sea creatures. The Museum’s outdoor exhibit experiences include a nature trail, the Chumash Sukinanik’oy Garden, The Museum Backyard & Nature Club House, the Butterfly Pavilion, and a real 74-foot Blue Whale skeleton. Beyond exhibitions, the Museum offers science education programs for adults and children, preserves a collection of more than three million specimens and artifacts, and maintains ongoing scientific research. The Museum’s mission is to inspire a thirst for discovery and a passion for the natural world.
For more info: www.sbnature.org
Address: 211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Hours: Open daily 10:00AM - 5:00PM