Get into Your Sanctuary day logo

Save the Date: Get Into Your Sanctuary Day!

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 August 12, 2017, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting its third National "Get into Your Sanctuary" celebration. This system-wide event will raise awareness about the value 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. 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!

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

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 experience the lush kelp forests and mysterious sea caves of the Channel Islands on a kayak tour or fishing charter, or by scuba diving, snorkeling, or boating. If you don't want to get your feet wet, dive into the sanctuary on the mainland at our partner visitor centers.

Take the opportunity to explore another west coast sanctuary through a live ship-to-shore telecast with scientists and educators aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus held at the Santa Barbara Public Library on Saturday, August 12th at 12 p.m. PDT.

The sanctuary will also be holding an island cleanup event with local tourism partners on August 11th to heighten awareness about responsible recreation and sustainable tourism opportunities in sanctuaries.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

The rich diversity of marine life in the deep and remote waters of Cordell Bank is something very view people get to see up close. For Get into Your Sanctuary Day, we're bringing it to you! Explore the sanctuary with scientists and educators aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus through live ship-to-shore telecasts taking place at the California Academy of Sciences at 11:50 a.m and 12:50 p.m. PDT. In addition, throughout the days surrounding Get Into Your Sanctuary Day, anyone can tune in at to watch the live stream of seafloor explorations as the vessel continues along Cordell Bank.

More information about the 2017 Nautilus expedition along the West Coast this summer is available here.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Mark where you spent the day by submitting a photo of the cool things you saw and see what others spotted on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Story Map! Need a ride? Make plans with one of the sanctuary's Blue Star Partners! Join a beach cleanup, visit the Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center, or do a virtual dive of the sanctuary.

If you're visiting the Eco Discovery Center on August 12th at 12:30 p.m., you can explore California's Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary with scientists and educators aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus through a live ship-to-shore telecast. Anyone can tune in to and watch a livestream of seafloor explorations from the E/V Nautilus.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

The new Flower Garden Banks exhibit at Moody Gardens, in Galveston, TX, will set the scene for a day of family fun and ocean-themed activities. Visitors can have a virtual reality experience and take a virtual dive in the sanctuary, as well as learn what it takes to get ready for a real dive!

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary

Come see the new, interactive Gray's Reef mobile exhibit at the Islands Library branch of Savannah's Live Oak Public Library System. In honor of Get into Your Sanctuary Day, visitors will have the opportunity take virtual dives to sites around Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary!

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Register for one of several special Get into Your Sanctuary programs!

Sanctuary Explorations*: Farallon Islands and Whale Watching Trip, 7:30 a.m to 4 p.m.

Family Crab Workshops*: Greater Farallones Campus, 10-11:30 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m.

Bird Bingo: Greater Farallones Visitor Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., no reservation required

Join one of our Get Into Your Sanctuary partners to explore your sanctuary: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Oceanic Society, Point Reyes Outdoors, San Francisco Whale Tours, or Watertreks EcoTours!

For more information on these Get Into Your Sanctuary Day activities and other programs with Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, please visit the sanctuary's special events page.

*NOTE: Pre-registration for the whale watch and family workshops is required; space is limited. Please contact Sara to reserve a spot: or 415-530-5366.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Attend a film screening of Whales (featuring NOAA’s whale disentanglement program) along with a sanctuary panel presentation. Programs are scheduled on Kauai, Oahu, and Maui.

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Visit the sanctuary booth along the Nolan Trail to learn about the area's maritime heritage. Then pay a visit to The Mariners' Museum to explore the deep-sea habitats of Cordell Bank with educators aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus through a live ship-to-shore telecast at 2 p.m. EDT.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Celebrate "Get into Your Sanctuary" Day and the 25th anniversary of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary!
Stop by the Sanctuary Exploration Center in Santa Cruz for this free event. Join us for a live broadcast from the E/V Nautilus doing deep-sea exploration, view plankton from the bay, drive a submersible in our canyon tank, and much more! 

National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

Explore the Aunu'u sanctuary area for an eco-tour excursion. Taste local foods, learn how traditional crafts are made, discover science within the sanctuary, and explore the natural beauty of this special place!

For more information, including how to register for this eco-tour, please contact the sanctuary at 684-633-6500.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

The ocean shore provides endless opportunities for discovery and investigation. Join us for a day of exploration, art, and fun! Start the day with guided beach and tidepool exploration at Beach 4 to see what lives at the ocean's edge. In the afternoon, there will be a beach barbecue and games and Kalaloch Lodge, including a costume contest and a beach parade -- pets are welcome! Dress like your favorite sea creature. Be sure to bring a leash for your pets and a camera to capture the fun. There will also be beach sand art with Olympic Peninsula artist Sarah Tucker. This will be a group activity, so bring your creativity! At 2 p.m., there will be a Get Into Your Sanctuary Day plunge for those not afraid to get their feet (or head) wet.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

It’s the grand opening of the Liquid Galaxy exhibit at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center! Experience the monument like you never have before: in virtual reality! In addition to 360-degree views of spots throughout Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, visitors can take part in a series of family-friendly activities held throughout the day.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Get into Your Sanctuary at Boston GreenFest! The sanctuary's life-size inflatable whale, Salt, will be in attendance, along with docents who will regale visitors with stories of this grande dame of the sanctuary and offer a whale anatomy tour and other hands-on activities. Plus, don't forget to take advantage of the area's recreational fishing opportunities and 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

Kids ride free on glass bottom boat tours on August 12, 2017! Alpena Shipwreck Tours is offering 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. Celebrate the region’s maritime history by taking a scenic sail aboard the S/V Denis Sullivan.