Why You'll Love This Place
A Here Comes The Guide Wedding Venue ReviewRead More Show Less
As part of UC Santa Cruz’s 100-acre marine science campus, Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to public education and conservation of our fragile ocean ecosystem. Their user-friendly approach means that learning has never been so inspiring—or so picturesque.
The first thing you see when you arrive at the Center is a gigantic skeleton of a blue whale, its sleek silhouette arching in the sunlight. A full 87 feet long, “Ms. Blue,” as she’s known, washed ashore in 1979, and has become an awe-inspiring symbol of the majesty and mystery of the underwater world. Ms. Blue’s sinuous beauty takes you by surprise…and further exploration reveals that this place has plenty more unexpected delights.
The complex is comprised of several rustic, wood-planked buildings, with the Seymour Center itself perched on an isolated bluff above an unspoiled stretch of the Santa Cruz coast and Monterey Bay. Nature is at its finest here, with nothing to distract from a vast, ever-changing sky and seascape. Depending on when you visit, you might spy various types of seals, sea lions, southern sea otters, humpback or gray whales, plus dolphins or porpoises. Other local wildlife—such as monarch butterflies, snowy egrets, or nesting barn swallows—perfectly complement the spectacular setting.
Most ceremonies take place on Shipwreck Deck, which adjoins the Exhibit Hall and faces a native meadow and the curving shoreline of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Guests have an up-close look at surrounding coastal prairie and wetlands, alive with soaring hawks, red-winged blackbirds, and the tangy aroma of the sea. A nature trail winds along the cliffs before angling towards the deck. Sage, yellow bush lupine, and wispy beach grass bend in the breeze, while lavender seaside daisies, pale pink buckwheat, and white yarrow dot the fields like confetti. The trail makes a glorious wedding aisle, and as the bride is escorted to her groom, the sound of the surf creates a soothing refrain.
After your picture-postcard “I do"s, explore the grounds with your photographer. Meanwhile, your lucky guests are experiencing a cocktail hour they’ll never forget, inside the Center’s exhibit halls. With one of the display pods transformed into a buffet table, your friends and family take their refreshments and mingle among interactive exhibits. In one hall, they might listen to a telephone conversation with a seal. In another, they can thrill to the touch of sea anemones, purple iridescent starfish or shy hermit crabs. The aquarium showcases a fascinating array of creatures—moon jellies, a monkeyface eel, swell sharks, even an intelligent octopus.
But the fun’s just beginning. Your reception is held in the La Feliz Room and Patio, an indoor/outdoor space with lots of flexibility. The simple room has open-beamed ceilings and large view-filled windows. Though the room dresses up as elegantly as you please, why not go all out with an aquatic theme, decorating it with shell motifs and ocean-inspired accents? Leave the doors open wide to La Feliz Patio, which is good for overflow seating under a myriad of stars.
In order to rent the facility, you’ll need to become a “Friend of the Center,” an easy, low-cost (and tax-deductible) way to support this worthy organization. If your wedding vision includes natural splendor, a fun twist, and a dash of eco-friendliness, then Seymour Marine Discovery Center is the place for you.
FREE WEDDING-DAY ADMISSION
One of the "perks" of celebrating your wedding at the wonderfully unique Seymour Marine Discovery Center: your guests get free admission to the exhibit center on your wedding day. What a fun, interactive way for friends and family to amuse themselves before the ceremony! You also have the option to add on time at the "touch table" during your cocktail hour. How's that for a memorable experience? Contact the events team for more info by using the form on the right!
Prices: What's this going to cost?
- Rental fee varies depending on:
- Package chosen
- Type of event
- Ceremony & Reception rental packages range $4,600-$6,950 and include: 11-13 hours of event time; choice of ocean-view deck with up to 120 white resin folding chairs for the ceremony; La Feliz banquet room (with AV); banquet and cocktail tables; padded chairs; sound system for Exhibit Hall/Shipwreck Deck; event lighting for Exhibit Hall (which is available after regular hours); changing/storage room; service kitchen.
- The reception-only rental fee is $4000. Includes 9 hours of rental time, banquet tables, padded chairs and cocktail tables.
- The ceremony-only rental fee is $900. Includes 2 hours of venue rental time; choice of ocean view deck; up to 120 white resin chairs.
- Included with all rental options are layout and timeline support; wedding rehearsal; free Seymour Center admission for your guests during open hours on your wedding day..
Couples may also choose to have two volunteer docents stationed at the seawater "touch table" in the Exhibit Hall for guests to interact with marine life, at no extra charge.
|Meetings||Total meeting capacity for this venue is 110.|
CEREMONY, EVENT/RECEPTION & MEETING CAPACITY: For seated receptions, the venue holds up to 120 indoors or 100 outdoors. The entire center accommodates up to 200 for a standing/cocktail reception. For ceremonies, it seats 100 indoors and 120 outdoors.
- Outdoor Ceremony
- Wedding Receptions
- Outdoor Reception
- Small Wedding
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Special Events / Parties
- Business Functions / Meetings
- LGBTQ+ Friendly
$ • $$
Caterers not on the venue's preferred list must provide a certificate of insurance -- please consult your events director for details.
Year-round, daily (except holidays), 10am–10pm. All guests must be off premises by 11pm.
Buildings, other structures, and natural settings available at this venue:
- Patio / Deck / Terrace
- Beach / Ocean
- Zoo / Aquarium
Peep the views you’ll enjoy from this venue!
- Meadow / Fields
- Ocean / Bay
Services & Amenities
Feel like a VIP with these services and amenities:
Catering: select from list or BYO
Kitchen Facilities: fully equipped
Tables & Chairs: provided
Linens, Silver, etc.: BYO
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: BYO, depending on space rented
Dressing Area: CBA
Meeting Equipment: BYO
Parking: medium-sized public lot, shuttling encouraged
Accommodations: no guestrooms
Telephone: guest phone
Outdoor Night Lighting: provided
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
View: panorama of ocean/bay, coastline and fields
Other: picnic area, AV equipment, ocean view decks, aquarium and exhibit hall availability
But take note of the following limitations!
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK indoors until 10pm, outdoors until 7pm
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required
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