Part of the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California Santa Cruz's Institute of Marine Sciences, the center looks more like a research facility than a slick aquarium. Interactive exhibits demonstrate how scientists study the ocean, and the aquarium displays creatures of interest to marine biologists. The 87-foot blue whale skeleton is one of the world's largest. General tours take place in the afternoon, and there's an abbreviated tour at 11 am for families with small children.
100 Shaffer Rd., end of Delaware Ave., west of Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, California, 95060, United States