September 10, 2015

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center

Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuary Exploration Center
Last spring I became a docent at The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center. The MBNMSEC is a visitors center to explore, educate, and create the connection with the ocean.

Front of the Exploration Center
This place is great - whether you just have ten minutes or a few hours. There are lots of interactive displays including a ROV - a mini submarine for exploring the deep sea - that you get to play with, as well as a great little video about the Monterey Bay and a Liquid Galaxy from Google.

Play with a ROV
Fun for kids, parents, teachers and visitors, well worth checking out. From tide pools to kelp forests, shipwrecks to creatures in the underwater canyon, come find out more at the Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center. I'm there on Friday afternoons, so you can get a personal tour!

Kelp Forest Display
The Sanctuary itself is underwater - ranging from San Francisco and going down to Cambria, about 30 miles out to sea, it is over 6,000 miles of protected ocean. Protected from what? Well, off shore drilling is number one, but also for endangered species, over-fishing, and so that we can enjoy a clean ocean for recreational activities, such as surfing and sailing.

View from the deck
The Monterey Bay Canyon begins in Moss Landing, and is as big as the Grand Canyon - except all under water. Cold water rises from the deep, bringing rich nutrients, which in turn attract the variety of marine life that lives and migrates through the sanctuary. We're talking about blue whales, humpback whales, sea lions, seals, otters, dolphins, and everyone's favorite predator - the white shark.

Juvenile Leatherback Turtle
Did you know that Leatherback Turtles swim from Santa Cruz to Indonesia to lay their eggs? They come here to feast on the jellies. Unfortunately, they will mistake a plastic bag for a jellyfish, which of course is undigestible, and can lead to starvation. Thank your city council for the ban on plastic bags, let's keep our marine life alive!

Whale Tail Sculpture
The Exploration Center will be getting lots of new displays this fall, so more to explore, more to enjoy. The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center is located at 35 Pacific Ave, across from the entrance to the wharf. It is FREE admission (whoo-hoo!) although donations are always appreciated. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm., I hope to see you there soon!