New Ocean Exploration Center Dedication at Point Reyes Lighthouse

The interior of the Ocean Exploration Center. A three-dimensional model a white shark is suspended from the ceiling and murals depicting life below the surface of the ocean are painted on the walls.

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News Release Date: June 1, 2016

Contact: John A. Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135

Contact: Jennifer Stock, 415-464-5263

On Wednesday, June 8, 2016—World Oceans Day—at 11 am, the public is invited to a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of a new Ocean Exploration Center at the Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center. A collaboration between the National Park Service and NOAA's Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones national marine sanctuaries, the new center highlights the spectacularly rich and globally significant ocean environment of North-central California. This event is part of the year-long celebration at Point Reyes National Seashore leading up to the NPS Centennial in August of 2016.

The coastal and marine ecosystem off North-central California is one of the biologically richest ocean zones on the planet, but the sea life is largely hidden beneath the water's surface. The center will increase visitors' opportunities to view and learn about this remarkable area, protected by two national marine sanctuaries and a national seashore. The Ocean Exploration Center features 3-D models of ocean mammals, sharks, and seabirds suspended from the ceiling, painted murals depicting life below the surface, and informative panels describing ocean wildlife and habitats off our coast. A large picture window offers visitors a stunning view of the Great Beach, protected from the legendary winds of the point.

"Bringing the story of ocean health to life for park visitors is so important," said Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon, "we are excited to open this new exhibit during the National Park Service Centennial year."

"This is an iconic location within a treasured national seashore that is rich with maritime heritage. This site perched above the ocean is a great place to teach visitors about the incredible ocean ecosystem beyond our shores that are recognized globally as the United Nations Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve," says Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Dan Howard.

In honor of World Oceans Day, the stairs to the Lighthouse will be open from 10 am to 1 pm so that, on this special occasion, visitors can enjoy the historic Lighthouse, and experience up close the sounds of the sea and feel of the salt air. The Point Reyes National Seashore Association will serve light refreshments.

NOAA's Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones national marine sanctuaries together protect 4,581 square miles of these vital waters. NOAA's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1981, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1989, both contribute greatly to ocean and coastal management by engaging in public outreach and education to promote stewardship, conducting scientific and applied research initiatives, and developing and supporting programs that strengthen resource protection for the long-term health of the region.

Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) is a cooperating association of the National Park Service and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. PRNSA works in partnership with Point Reyes National Seashore and the public to preserve, restore, and maintain wildlife habitat, trails, and historic sites in the beautiful coastal park.

Point Reyes National Seashore is one of 411 units within the National Park Service (NPS). This year, the NPS celebrates its Centennial. Point Reyes was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, "to preserve a portion of the diminishing seashore of the United States that remains undeveloped."


Last updated: June 2, 2016

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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