UCLA Spotlight


Ocean Discovery Center

  • By UCLA Today
  • Published Nov 27, 2000 8:00 AM

To music and rhythms they alone can sense, Frisbee-sized Moon Jellies perform their own underwater ballet in their 1,200-gallon glass tank, undulating gracefully before a class of mesmerized Los Angeles schoolchildren on a field trip to UCLA's Ocean Discovery Center. Waving their arms to the same rhythms, the students imitate the jellyfish's movements and listen to a UCLA student tour guide talk about these exquisite creatures, natives of Santa Monica Bay.

Each year, 20,000 children from hundreds of schools in greater Los Angeles visit the center on the Santa Monica Pier to learn about the exotic marine world in L.A.'s backyard and the environmental dangers putting this habitat at risk. "We try to get children excited about science and make them realize their responsibilities as citizens of a maritime community," said Steve Strand, director of the center.

Ever since this marine science learning center opened in 1996, UCLA staff and volunteer docents have been raising the environmental I.Q.s of schoolchildren and an additional 19,500 walk-in visitors with an array of demonstrations, displays, activities and touch tanks. By making the public aware of what could be lost forever, say the center's staff members, a future for Santa Monica Bay and all the marine life it supports can be assured.

The Ocean Discovery Center is an outreach program of the UCLA Marine Science Center, an interdisciplinary educational program based in the Department of Biology, Life Sciences Division, College of Letters & Science.

You are invited to visit the Ocean Discovery Center during their Festival of Fish, December 27-29.

On March 1, 2003, management of the Ocean Discovery Center was handed over to Heal the Bay, and is now known as the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. The goals and mission of the aquarium remain the same. - (Updated 1/07)