The Central Coast Aquarium — a local resource for marine science education and fun!

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

Central Coast Aquarium Avila Beach

Come see what lies beneath the ocean’s surface.

—The Central Coast Aquarium is a non-profit marine science education center located just steps from the beach. Visitors are treated to daily educational talks, and opportunities to explore touch tanks and see over 50 different species of wildlife. From shark and ray exhibits to rocky intertidal displays filled with unique local fish and crabs, there is something for everyone.

Experience touch tanks with sea stars, urchins and chitons to name a few. Come enjoy the public feedings and educational presentations throughout the day. The Swell Shark Encounters are a fan favorite. Learn more about this species and take advantage of the opportunity to pet one!

Other local varieties in the 16 exhibits include moon jellies, rockfish, three species of sharks, California’s marine state fish, the Garibaldi, anemones, octopus and more! Volunteer docents are eager to share their knowledge with each guest.

The aquarium is committed to providing opportunities that offer fun and hands-on experiences that encourage the preservation of our oceans. Educational programs provide unique experiences to schools in and beyond SLO County. Field trips are arranged and tailored for grades K-12. The exhibit hall serves as a teaching tool to enhance learning and evoke understanding through touch and sight. Floating labs take groups on boats into the bay to learn about the ecosystem and conduct experiments where students enjoy being “marine biologists” for the day. Discovery Labs offer fascinating activities such as squid dissections. It is especially rewarding to work with students as they engage with sea animals and learn to care for the environment. The aquarium’s mission is to cultivate a community dedicated to ocean stewardship through education, engagement and action.

Programs and opportunities include:

  • Science After Dark: Beginning in January, this lecture series features local experts on the last Tuesday of each month from 6 – 8 p.m. Registration is required.
  • Big Fish Little Fish: A Mommy and Me program tailored to children ages 2-5 on the first Monday of each month. Registration is required.
  • Beach Clean Up materials are available upon request
  • Private Tours of the Exhibit Hall. Registration is required.
  • Facility Rentals for birthday parties for any age, weddings, receptions, retirement parties, meetings, graduations, and corporate events. Schedule a tour today and check out both indoor and outdoor facilities

Volunteer opportunities are available. Previous marine science experience is not required.

Come on over to Avila Beach and visit!

The Central Coast Aquarium is located at 50 San Juan Street in Avila Beach. Hours are Friday 12-3 p.m., and weekends 10 a.m.-4 p.m. General admission is $9 for adults, $7 for children 2-13 years old, $6 for seniors and military (with ID), and free for children ages 2 and under. All proceeds go directly towards marine science education. For more information or to donate, visit or call (805) 457-5357.

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