Underwater Parks Day - Central California

Saturday, January 19th 2013 is California's fifth annual Underwater Parks Day -- the perfect day for celebrating our other state parks. If you live in Central California, there are lots of  opportunities to get in or on the water, and learn about local sea life through exhibits and lectures. Click here return to the main Underwater Parks Day page and access event listings in other regions.

Event Details

Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, Morro Bay
Friday, January 18th – Monday January 21st
The annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival will be displaying an exhibit on marine protected areas throughout the weekend.  Every Martin Luther King weekend over 450 birders visit Morro Bay, California, a Globally Important Bird Area, to see, photograph, and learn more about birds.  Over 200 species are usually sighted during the Festival weekend.  Registration is required – learn more and view a complete schedule.

Seminar on Elephant Seal Birthing, Cavalier Plaza, San Simeon
Saturday, January 19th--10:00 am
Friends of the Elephant Seal will host a seminar on birthing and nursing of elephant seals the morning of January 19 at the Cavalier Plaza in the town of San Simeon. In addition, they will have docents stationed in the parking lot of the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas MPA briefing visitors on the benefits of marine protected areas, and offering interpretive tours of the seal rookery from 10am – 4pm.  With females giving birth and nursing pups, Underwater Parks Day is an exciting time of the year to visit Piedras Blancas.  Free.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve,
Saturday, January 19th--10:30 am - 3:00 pm
At Point Lobos State Natural Reserve divers will be setting up touch tanks for visitors to view some of the amazing underwater wildlife from 10:30 until noon. These tanks will be set up at the Whalers Cove parking area where guests can touch, feel and learn about amazing local invertebrates. From 1:30-3:00pm, visitors can enjoy presentations by outstanding marine environmentalists and filmmakers including Michael Allen, Chuck Davis, Kip Evans and Alberto Nava. Underwater photographs will be on display all day at the Whaling Station. There is a $10 fee to enter Point Lobos State Reserve; once inside exhibits and presentations are free.

Elkhorn Slough Preserve, Watsonville
Saturday, January 19th--11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Elkhorn Slough will be offering a talk about sea otters from 11am-1pm at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. In addition, an exhibit on marine protected areas will be on display with staff present to answer questions.  $4.00 day use fee.

Seacliff State Beach, Aptos
Saturday, January 19th--8:00 am - sunset
Seacliff State Beach will be displaying an exhibit on marine protected areas with docents present to answer questions throughout the day.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz
Sunday, January 20th--Noon - 5pm
Seaside Crafts at the Seymour Center (noon to 5pm). 
Guests will be invited to decorate free reusable canvas bags with ocean creatures, and enjoy other activities geared towards kids.  Free with admission.

Science Sunday Lecture - 1 PM
Seeing Below the Surface: Using new technology to study the underwater lives of humpback whales-- Ari Friedlaender, Marine Ecologist
Whales spend over 90 percent of their lives underwater and out of view. In order to understand how these ocean giants navigate, feed, socialize, and maneuver, scientists have engineered tags that allow a glimpse into their watery world. Dr. Friedlaender will share his experiences tagging humpback whales and recreating the underwater behaviors of these whales from Antarctica to Alaska to Cape Cod. This exciting new research helps us understand previously unknown whale behavior, and provides critical understanding about the risks they face from human activities from fishing to shipping. Science Sunday is free with admission or membership. UCSC undergraduates free with valid student ID.

Monterey Bay Sanctuary Exploration Center, Santa Cruz
Saturday, January 19th--8:00 am - sunset
The new Monterey Bay Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz will be displaying an exhibit on marine protected areas and showing films throughout the day that highlight California’s spectacular underwater parks including “A Wave of Change”.  Free admission.