We’re Building a new Ocean Education and Leadership Center for California’s Schoolchildren and Teachers!

Each year, more than 75,000 schoolchildren and teachers take part in our array of free school programs. We’ve always known we can do far more in reaching and teaching students and educators about the oceans, given the right space. On Monday, we became the new owners of two connecting buildings located at 585 and 625 Cannery Row, a short walk from the Aquarium. One is destined to become our state-of-the-art, K-12 Ocean Education and Leadership Center.

Reaching teens and teachers

So what will the new center do? It will mainly offer innovative and highly interactive education programs for teens and teachers—programs that will take advantage of the most appropriate, cutting-edge learning technology.

The Aquarium’s role in science education has become increasingly important at a time when the capacity to deliver 21st century science learning is on the decline in schools. “We have a crisis in science and environmental education right now,” Executive Director Julie Packard points out. “Society’s success will depend on today’s young people having the knowledge, skills and motivation to create solutions to very complex problems.”

The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center will make a significant contribution to science education throughout the state of California. It will allow for some increase in the number of students who can attend an Aquarium education program, and a much deeper impact on many that do. The new 13,000 square-foot center will also allow the Aquarium to better meet California’s Next Generation of Science Standards, while doubling the yearly number of science teachers who take part in our teacher institutes to more than 1,200.

Turning the center from a concept to a reality will depend on a $50 million fundraising campaign that supports our Children’s Education Fund. To date, the campaign has raised $20 million toward that goal.

Center highlights

  • Four STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning labs, each large enough to accommodate for 40 students
  • A large multi-use space for workshops and video teleconferences
  • A new pre-Aquarium orientation space for visiting school groups
  • Storage and supply rooms, including for new technology
  • A rainy-day lunch space for school groups
  • Offices for 35 education staff
  • Collaborative meeting spaces for staff, teachers and youth
  • A convenient, safe parking lot dedicated to schoolbus pick-up and drop-off

The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center is expected to open at the start of the school year in fall 2016.

Learn more about our education programs

Help make our Ocean Education and Leadership Center a reality


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About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.