Seymour Marine Discovery Center 100 McAllister Way • Santa Cruz • CA 95060


Seymour Marine Discovery Center

100 McAllister Way
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
WEBSITE

We'd love it if you would mention that you found Seymour Marine Discovery Center on the Here Comes The Guide website.


Why You'll Love This Place

A Here Comes The Guide Wedding Venue Review

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.

Deals

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
  • $900–5,400/event
  • Rental fee varies depending on:
    • Day of week
    • Package chosen
    • Type of event
    • The wedding rental fee varies depending on inclusions and venue rental time. All options come with at least two ocean-view patios, banquet room; banquet and cocktail tables; padded chairs; ample free parking and AV equipment.
    • The rental fee for a ceremony-only is $900. Includes 3 hours of venue rental time, choice of ocean view deck; up to 120 white resin chairs; ample parking; wedding rehearsal; and layout+timeline support.
Additional Info
  • 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.

Capacity

Indoors Outdoors
Ceremony Seated 100 120
Cocktails, etc. Standing 200 150
Reception Seated 120 100
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.


Venue Details

Site Uses

  • Ceremony
  • Outdoor Ceremony
  • Wedding Receptions
  • Outdoor Reception
  • Small Wedding
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Special Events / Parties
  • Business Functions / Meetings
  • LGBTQ+ Friendly

Essential Info

Price

$ • $$

Catering

Preferred list
BYO

Outside caterers may be allowed for dietary, religious, ethnic, or other special reasons but must be approved in advance. Once approved, an additional refundable security deposit of up to $500 is required.


Alcohol

BYO

Amplified Music

Indoors
Outdoors
Some restrictions

Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair accessible

Availability

Year-round, daily (except holidays), 10am–10pm. All guests must be off premises by 11pm.

Venue Type

Buildings, other structures, and natural settings available at this venue:

  • Non-Profit
  • Patio / Deck / Terrace
  • Unique
  • Beach / Ocean
  • Zoo / Aquarium

Venue Views

Peep the views you’ll enjoy from this venue!

  • Meadow / Fields
  • Ocean / Bay
  • Panoramic

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
Cleanup: renter
View: panorama of ocean/bay, coastline and fields
Other: picnic area, AV equipment, ocean view decks, aquarium and exhibit hall availability

Restrictions

But take note of the following limitations!

Alcohol: BYO
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK indoors until 10pm, outdoors until 7pm
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required


Map

Wondering what CBA or BYO means?
Want more info on our editorial process?
Like this venue? Get more info!

We play nice. We promise never to share your info with anyone except Seymour Marine Discovery Center.

We Play Nice

Wedding Venues  >  Northern California Wedding Venues  > San Jose / South Bay Wedding Venues  > Santa Cruz Wedding Venues