California Underwater Parks day celebrates marine protected areas in a series of locally organized events across the California coast.  Thanks to our great partners for hosting these events, and for California Marine Sanctuary Foundation for putting together this list.  

Event Details in Northern California:

Ma-le’l Dunes Cooperative Management Area: Exploring Protected Areas on Land & Sea
Date: Saturday, January 9th
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Join Friends of the Dunes for a guided walk at the Ma-le’l Dunes Cooperative Management Area. Naturalist Carol Vander Meer, MPA Outreach Coordinator Delia Bense-Kang and a representative from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be discussing the Samoa State Marine Conservation Area just offshore and participants will learn about the benefits of protected areas, both on land and underwater. Meet at BLM’s Ma-le’l Dunes South parking area off of Young Lane in Manila. Please reserve your space by calling (707) 444-1397 or emailing

Humboldt Bay Tourism Center: Information Night – 205 G St, Eureka, CA
: Saturday, January 9th
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Enjoy an informative and celebratory night with Northcoast Environmental Center, Surfrider Humboldt, and other local environmental organizations. Learn about MPAs through informal presentations and discover ways to enjoy them! Free food!

Underwater Parks Day Events in Marin
Point Reyes National Seashore Science Lecture on threat of plastic pollution to seabirds by Dr. Chris Wilcox and Dr. Denise Hardesty

Date: Friday: January 15, 2016 12:00 pm at the Red Barn

Marin MPA Watch training and Beach Clean Up by the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin 
Date: Saturday: January 16, 2016 10:00 am at Drakes Beach
More info at

Event Details in Central California:

Natural Bridges State Beach Underwater Parks Day 
Saturday, January 16th
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
To celebrate Underwater Parks Day, Natural Bridges State Beach will have marine science information tables and kids arts and crafts activities. An Underwater Park Ambassador will be there with an MPA mobile cart full of information and fun giveaways. Park Admission: $10 per car

Save Our Shores Beach Cleanup: Greyhound Rock County Park
Highway One parking lot, Davenport, CA
Date: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Join Save our Shores as they start the year off with a big Underwater Parks Day Beach Cleanup! Greyhound Rock is one of California’s marine protected areas on the north coast of Santa Cruz County. As a State Marine Conservation Area, this cleanup will be removing any trash or debris that could pollute our coastal habitat. Individual and small group volunteers are welcome. Save Our Shores provides all necessary supplies, and encourages volunteers to bring their own reusable buckets, gloves, and water bottles. Cleanup to be held in rain or shine! For more information, contact:

Sanctuary Exploration Center: 35 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz CA
: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Come celebrate California’s largest Underwater Park: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! The Sanctuary Exploration Center across from the Santa Cruz Wharf will be open and FREE from 10am-5pm with special information and activities featuring California’s Underwater Parks. For more information contact:

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: 62 California 1, Carmel, CA
: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN FORECAST
On January 16th, Point Lobos will celebrate the importance of marine protected areas with Underwater Parks Day. From 10:00-12:00, divers will set up an exhibit for visitors to touch, feel and learn about some of the spectacular underwater wildlife in the Whalers Cove parking area. An Underwater Park Ambassador will be present with an MPA Mobile Cart filled with fun kids activities and Marine Mammal Center, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Reef
Check, BAUI, and Point Lobos Foundation will all have tables with displays.
Park Admission: $10 per car.

Friends of the Elephant Seal: Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery Parking lot – Highway One, 3-4 miles north of Hearst Castle
Date: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m
Celebrate Underwater Parks Day at the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery with an Underwater Parks Ambassador and Friends of the Elephant Seal volunteer learning about the area’s spectacular marine mammals and marine protected areas. There will be kids activities and sweet treats! Free admission!

Event Details in Southern California:

Aquarium of the Pacific: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA
: Saturday, January 9th
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
 Guests will be able to learn about the commercial and recreational activities permitted. MPA stories will be told using film, lectures, and interactive exhibits. The event will also feature educational booths and activities in the Great Hall. Admission: $29.95 Adults, $17.95. Children ages 3-11.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center: 211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA
Date: Saturday, January 16th
Time:10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Join the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center and their marine
conservation partners for the annual Underwater Parks Day Festival celebrating ocean life in our coastal waters. Experience the hidden magic of marine life through hands on investigations and special activities – Investigate a micro-marine ecosystem, Spy on shore birds with binoculars, Embark on an ocean knowledge trek, Meet live birds of prey, Discover non-native marine plants and animals arriving with the El Niño. Activities are free with admission. For more information contact or call 805-962-2526 ext. 110. Admission: Adults $8.50, Seniors (65+) and Teens (13-17) $7.50, Kids (2-12) $6,
Kids under 2 Free, Museum members Free.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium: 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA
: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and learn about the newly designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Southern California. There will be speakers, presentations, interactive activities and handouts for visitors. Learn more about MPAs, how MPAs work, and where MPAs are located in Southern California. Admission: Free!

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium: 1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA
: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Come visit the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for the annual Underwater Parks Day event. Join as they celebrate our Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with crafts, interactive activities and a special MPA-themed Story Time and puppet show at 2:00pm! Admission: Kids 12 and under are FREE; all others: $5 per person; groups of 10 or more: $3 per person, regardless of age.

Ocean Institute: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA
: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Learn about and explore our local Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area and understand the importance of protected areas such as this. Guided Tidepool hikes, sea urchin dissections and other activities will highlight this amazing environment and animals that live just feet from our door. On-going weekend activities: The Ocean Institute features a number of hands-on activities, presentations, tidepool walks and educational cruises to educate and inspire people of all ages to participate in their community.
Admission: $10.00 Adult (13 yrs+) and Seniors (65+) & Youth (2-12 years): $7.50; Children under 2 are Free. Members are free.

SEA LIFE Aquarium at Legoland California Resort: 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA
Date: Saturday, January 16th
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Join SEA LIFE® Aquarium at LEGOLAND® California Resort in celebrating Underwater Parks Day with kid-friendly activities designed to raise awareness of the designated "underwater parks" or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Guests can participate in craft activities and enjoy the Conservation Expo that teaches families how to care of their local oceans through hands-on exhibits. Families can also gain a better understanding of what an underwater park is during the Aquarium’s themed dive show as they get to interact with a diver who shares facts about the special ocean places. This kid-friendly presentation offers a fun and educational twist on underwater parks. Local ocean conservation organizations will be hosting information booths at SEA LIFE throughout the day. All activities for Underwater Parks Day are included in the cost of SEA LIFE Aquarium admission. Admission: Walk up: $22.00, Online: $18.00.