MBNMS Exploration Center, Santa Cruz

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center is located in the heart of Santa Cruz’s famed beach area,  just steps away from the city’s Municipal Wharf and about .25 miles from the site of the new Whale trail sign at Lighthouse Park. The center features state-of-the-art exhibits and engaging interactive displays highlighting the sanctuary and its incredible underwater environment. Visitors can explore the sanctuary's remarkable marine environment as well as their personal role in protecting one of our nation's underwater treasures. Upon visiting the Sanctuary Exploration Center, visitors can experience first hand local marine life by taking a walk north along the coast to Lighthouse Point, where whales are often seen. 

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The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

35 Pacific Ave.

Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Open Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
(Closed Monday and Tuesday)

Call for holiday hours or more information:
(831) 421-9993

Park Information


  • restrooms
  • accessible
The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries