Get into Your Sanctuary events take place over the june 27-28, 2015

Visit Sanctuaries

You're Invited!

As a travel destination, few places on the planet can compete with the diversity of the National Marine Sanctuary System, which protects America's most iconic natural and cultural marine resources. The majority of national marine sanctuaries' waters are open to compatible recreational activities which also allows for considerable benefits to local economies.

On June 25th and 26th, 2016, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting its second National "Get into Your Sanctuary" celebration. This system-wide event will raise awareness about thevalue of our sanctuaries as iconic destinations for responsible recreation through a series of special activities.

In the weeks leading up to these events, join us on social media in highlighting the types of recreational activities that can be enjoyed by visitors, along with tips for practicing good Ocean Etiquette. (Don’t forget to use this year’s hashtag, #ILoveMySanctuary!) We will also hold a photo contest to provide audiences an opportunity to share their sanctuary experiences. This is a great occasion to showcase our partner organizations that bring people to safely and sustainably watch wildlife and help visitors dive, surf, fish, snorkel, paddle, swim, photograph, and enjoy the sea breezes of our nation's most special Great Lakes and ocean places! Help us get the word out on social media by using #ILoveMySanctuary.

Site Events

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Channel Islands Naturalist Corps will be on hand to explain the region’s diverse ecology and introduce you to marine life on whale watch tours and island hikes all weekend! Check out our participating vessels here. Join us to discover, first-hand, why these islands have been referred to as the "Galapagos of North America". Visitors can also explore lush kelp forests, sea caves and experience the Channel Islands through a kayak tour, fishing charter, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and boating. If you don't want to get your feet wet, you can still dive into the sanctuary on the mainland at our partner visitor centers. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will be airing the new PBS documentary "West of the West" film series about the Channel Islands with the following show times all weekend.  

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Family Campfire at the Beach, June 25th, 7:00-8:30 p.m.: Come to the Jetty Campground Campfire area on the bay side of Doran Beach for an evening of campfire songs, stories and games all focused on our incredible ocean and coastal environment on the Sonoma Coast. Bring a blanket/chairs and some marshmallow roasting sticks and we’ll enjoy stories, songs and games while we learn about our local ocean environment.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Blue Star certified charter operators are calling all divers to participate in underwater clean-ups throughout the Florida Keys on June 25th and 26th during the 2016 National Get into Your Sanctuary celebration. Take this opportunity to give back to the most extensive coral reef ecosystem in the continental United States. Divers receive discounted diving rates and the opportunity to apply their skills to cleaning up the marine environment while giving back to the resource. It also gives divers the opportunity to dive with operators dedicated to education and coral reef conservation. For more information visit

Prefer to stay dry?  Come to the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center's theater to see sanctuary films that will be showing throughout the day, on Saturday, June 25th.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Do a virtual visit to the sanctuary by exploring our Reef on the Road traveling exhibit at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson June 25th. Stop by special sanctuary activity stations and learn about SCUBA diving and fishing, join in a ‘scavenger hunt’ of Sea Center’s aquariums, and make sure to get your sanctuary swag while supplies last!

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Witness the unveiling of our new signs at the Rodney J. Hall Boat Ramp, affectionately known locally in Savannah as "Butterbean Beach," on June 25th, 10:00 a.m. - Noon. Then stick around to enjoy Chatham County Parks & Recreation's pavilion, bait shop, kayak rental options, and barbeque pits.

Want to explore Gray’s Reef up close? The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is sponsoring a "Get into Your Sanctuary” dive trip out to Gray's Reef. Contact the South Georgia Charter Company for more information and to book a trip.

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Sanctuary Explorations: Sanctuary Seabirds of Alcatraz, Saturday, June 25th:  Join Sanctuary staff and a National Park Service Alcatraz Seabird docent for a thought-provoking walk through the nesting seabirds to learn about their ecology and current population status. Space is limited; To register, please contact: Sara Heintzelman, SOLD OUT!

Public "Ridealong" Beach Survey at Rodeo Beach, Saturday, June 25th:  Become a citizen scientist for a day with our Beach Watch team in the Marin Headlands, and take part in a special in-depth morning beach survey.  Sanctuary biologists will help you explore who among our marine wildlife is "out and about" and discover what the last high tide has brought onto shore! Space is limited; To register, please contact: Dru Devlin,

Family Workshops in the Presidio on Sunday, June 26th:  These workshops are dedicated to catching live crab specimens and learning about them. The Greater Farallones Association will offer morning and afternoon programs, during which participants can learn about crab anatomy through an interactive crab dress up and examination of different crab species. “Get crabby” at the Classroom Pier in Crissy Field, Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Space is limited; To register, please contact: Courtney Buel,

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Celebrate our new volunteer-on-the-water program, Team OCEAN, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25th at the visitor center in Kihei, Maui. Experience a traditional Hawaiian opening, learn about the program, and go for a snorkel in the Kō‘ie‘ie Fishpond.

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon

Monitor Booth at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (Buxton, NC) on June 25th and June 26th, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.: This location, just 16 miles from the Monitor's final resting place, is a unique landmark in the USS Monitor's history, because we know the crew celebrated passing the cape marked by the lighthouse just before they began to sink. The booth will host interactive activities for children & families, like Shipwreck Detective, "Putting the Pieces Together" puzzles, and an Imagination Station.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Community celebration at the Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz, June 25th:  Stop by for gear demos from local surf, Segway, and stand-up paddle board vendors. Chat with our TeamOCEAN volunteers and get information about kayak tours.  Have an opportunity to feel what it's like to dress-up in SCUBA gear!  Experts will also be on hand to lead short, interactive presentations about sanctuary recreation, how to avoid wildlife disturbance, and how to use other sanctuary resources, like the SeaPhoto App, SiMON website and Mobile Ranger.

Family activities at the Coastal Discovery Center in San Simeon, June 25, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Go on a pier safari, challenge yourself with beachcombers "stump the chump," kayak in the cove, learn about whales and other marine mammals, explore the beach with marine biologists, and weave an Ocean's Pledge. Kids can also complete a scavenger hunt for a prize and help keep the sanctuary clean by becoming an official "Litter Getter".

Nautilus Live Broadcast, Saturday, June 25th, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.:  Come to the Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz and tune in to Nautilus Live. The program will begin with a presentation of research highlights by Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary scientists, after which visitors will be able to have real-time conversations with scientists on board the R/V Nautilus, courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust and NOAA. Before and after the program, visitors will also be able to watch streaming coverage of the research underway offshore, to places like Davidson Seamount. 

National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa facebook icon

Eco-Tours of the Fagalua/Fogama'a management area, June 25th: This culminating event of the Sanctuary Summer Science in the Village (SSSV) program will include tours led by our graduating students, as well as community demonstrations and displays at the beach.  Taste local fruits and delicacies; learn how to weave coconut fronds; and hear about sanctuary science.  Take part in the Tautai Fagota Youth Fishing Tournament. Those who pre-register can also go on a guided hike and snorkel Eco-tour departing at 12:30 p.m. from the Turtle and Shark malae in Vaitogi. For more information, and to register for the tour, please contact the sanctuary at 684-633-6500.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Get into Your Sanctuary kick-off film screening and presentation by Florian Graner, Friday, June 17th at 7:00 p.m.:   Olympic National Park will be showcasing the film, Discover the Olympic Coast, at their Port Angeles-based Olympic National Park Visitor Center. Discover the Olympic Coast was filmed and produced by acclaimed videographer Florian Graner and highlights Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS) habitats and the animals that depend on it, through the eyes of a young harbor seal. Florian Graner will accompany this screening to discuss his diving and inspiration for the film. The film will also be shown throughout each day for the week of June 18-25.

“Discover the Olympic Coast” library screening and activities:  Come to the Port Angeles Library on Saturday, June 25th at 9:00 a.m. for a special family-oriented screening of the film.  Following the movie, sanctuary staff will lead educational games and fun activities to help kids understand our connection to the marine environment and its wildlife.  For more information or to register, contact: Karlyn Langjahr, or 360-457-6622 ext 31.

Nature photography workshop, Saturday, June 25th, 9:30 a.m.: Join Olympic National Park interpretive rangers and sanctuary staff for a nature photography-focused beach walk at Ruby Beach. Get photography tips while exploring the area’s world class tidepools, and take in the scenic beaches and views for inspiration. Participants should meet at the top of Ruby Beach trailhead at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes and clothing.

Olympic Culinary Loop:  Enjoy culinary highlights around the Olympic Peninsula, with a focus on healthy and sustainable foods, such as the variety of sustainable seafood choices available on local restaurants' menus. Participating restaurants include; Warmhouse Restaurant in Neah Bay, Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park, Salmon House on Lake Quinault, Ocean Crest in Moclips, Westport Winery in Westport, Jig and Lure in Port Angeles, and Nourish in Sequim.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument facebook icon

Join us for an open house at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, June 25th, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., that will include fun interactive crafts and activities, as well as a Hawaiian Islands ocean film festival starting at 10:00 a.m.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Every Kid in a Park Gets into Your Sanctuary on The Greenway in Boston, Saturday, June 25th:  Join us as we help get Every Kid in a Park in collaboration with Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Our life-size inflatable whale, Salt, will be in attendance at the park's visitor pavilion on The Greenway, near the carousel, where docents will regale visitors with stories of this grande dame of the sanctuary and offer a whale anatomy tour and other hands-on activities.  Don't forget to take advantage of one of the many regularly-scheduled whale watching tours to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary offered by local partners from Cape Ann to Cape Cod!

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary facebook icon twitter icon

Kids ride free on glass bottom boat tours through June 26th, 2016! Alpena Shipwreck Tours is partnering with the sanctuary to offer free* tickets for kids aboard the Lady Michigan (ages 12 and under; *with purchase of adult ticket). Join the fun at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, where you can also tour the interactive exhibits and chat with sanctuary staff who can tell you about the many ways to see Thunder Bay's wrecks while diving, snorkeling, paddling, and boating.

Wisconsin – Lake Michigan Proposed National Marine Sanctuary

Learn about a new special place: 875 square miles of Lake Michigan waters that are currently part of the public process to be designated as a new national marine sanctuary. In partnership with the State of Wisconsin and local communities, this sanctuary would protect and interpret a nationally significant collection of 38 historic shipwrecks.

Join the communities of Two Rivers, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Port Washington, and Mequon for a variety of events and activities to celebrate and learn about Wisconsin’s maritime heritage. Celebrations kick-off on Thursday, June 23rd and continue through Sunday, June 26th.  Visit the website for a full calendar of events.