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Get Into Your Sanctuary

You're Invited!

These events are held annually during the first week of August. Join us during the week of August 2-8, 2021 for a variety of activities across the National Marine Sanctuary System - from sea to shining sea. This year, NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System will be hosting both in-person and online celebrations.

So, wherever you are, you will have the opportunity to visit with more than just the national marine sanctuary nearest you.

But wait, there's more!

  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all summer to learn about a different national marine sanctuary each week.
  • Tell us about your favorite activities in national marine sanctuaries using #ILoveMySanctuary and #RecreateResponsibly!
  • Show off your own marine adventures by entering the national photo contest. There are four different categories, including Sanctuaries at Home, so no excuse not to participate!
  • Earn a badge with the ParkPassport app for your virtual fun or in -person activities!
  • Take the pledge for wildlife! #WildSanctuaries
  • Join the Photo Safari Scavenger Hunt from June 21- July 26, 2021.

Site Events

Week-long Events

Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

In celebration of national Get Into Your Sanctuary activities, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries annually hosts a photo contest. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

Winning photos are featured in our Earth Is Blue Magazine and on the Earth Is Blue social media campaign.

Earn a badge - Park Passport

In collaboration with the National Park Trust, Blue Star Families, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, you can earn badges for your virtual Get Into Your Sanctuary visit and/or for outdoor recreational activities completed throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System!

Download the ParkPassport App to create an account, and then you are on your way to find local, regional, state, and national parks, now including your nation's ocean parks.

Tuesday, August 3

Species in the Spotlight: Saving White Abalone from the Brink of Extinction, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

A white abalone sea snail clings to a submerged rock in a kelp forest. The abalone's lace-like beige tentacles emerge from its protective shell, which is encrusted in brightly-colored algae and anemones. The abalone is well camouflaged amongst the rocks covered in similar algae nearby
White abalone, a type of plant-eating marine snail, once numbered in the millions off the California coast, is now close to extinction. Photo: Oriana Poindexter


August 3: 4 pm ET, 3 pm CT, 1 pm PT, 10 am HT, 9 am ST

Join Melissa Neuman, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service; Danny Muñoz, Assistant Curator at Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific; and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary staff to learn about efforts to recover the endangered white abalone, which is currently at risk of extinction.

Register in advance

Sanctuary Sense of Place and Siva Samoa, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

View from a lush mountain looking through coconut trees down at a bay with waves rolling in from the deep blue to the shallow reef
Waves rolling in from the deep blue to the shallow reefs at Fagatele Bay in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Photo: NOAA


August 3: 5 pm ET, 4 pm CT, 2 pm PT, 11 am HT, 10 am ST

Join us in paradise to discover the raw beauty found within the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa! From the rolling waves to the swaying trees, there are many stories that can be shared through Samoan song and dance (pese ma siva). At the same time, explore the teeming life underwater, learn about the rich Samoan culture, and take the pledge to protect wildlife!

Register in advance or tune in LIVE on our NMSAS Facebook page on August 3rd!

Exploring North Carolina Shipwrecks, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

 Fish swim around a German U-boat, U-701
An abundance of marine life surrounds the World War II German U-boat, U-352. Photo: NOAA


August 3: 7 pm ET, 6 pm CT, 4 pm PT

Exploring North Carolina Shipwrecks - Join experienced divers to learn more about diving on the beautiful shipwrecks located near Monitor National Marine Sanctuary just off the coast of North Carolina. Hear about the work the dive community is doing to engage youth and veterans and learn how scientific dive programs are offered for avocational divers. See beautiful underwater images and learn more about World War II's Battle of the Atlantic.

Register in advance

Wednesday, August 4

Life of a Sea Creature: behind the scenes at Waikiki aquarium, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Child looks at an orange fish in an aquarium tank while mother watches.
A young child experiences the awe and wonder of the wildlife found in the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA


Wednesday, August 4th: 3pm ET, 2pm CT, 12pm PT, 9am HT, 8am ST

Take a virtual visit to the Waikiki Aquarium to explore some of the marine habitats and critters found in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Register in advance

A Perfect Day for an Albatross and other Seabird Tales, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Photo of author and artist Caren Loebel-Fried crouching next to a Laysan albatross while showing a sketch of the same bird.
Author and artist Caren Loebel-Fried will read her wonderful book "A Perfect Day for an Albatross" and talk about her recent visit to Kuahelani, Midway Atoll in Papahānaumokuākea MNM. Photo: Dan Clark/USFWS


August 4th: 4pm ET, 3pm CT, 1pm PT, 10am HT, 9am ST

Join Hawaiʻi Artist and Author Caren Loebel-Fried as she reads her wonderful book "A Perfect Day for An Albatross" and hosts a short discussion about her recent visit to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Papahānaumokuākea. After the book reading we will highlight three species of Pacific albatross that cross the vast Pacific Ocean to forage in the productive waters off California and breed and nest in the predator free remote tropical islets of Hawaiʻi. These seabirds and other species provide insight into the health of our oceans, and highlight the impacts of massive amounts of plastic entering our oceans. We will also share some of the free education resources to teach and learn about these seabird species.

Register in advance

Journey to the Beginning of the World, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary


August 4th: 5pm ET, 4pm CT, 2pm PT, 11am HT, 10am ST

Olympic Coast has supported humans for thousands of years. Join Janine Ledford of the Makah Tribe as she provides insight to the longstanding relationship the Makah people have with the ocean. Get a sneak peak of a breathtaking virtual tour of Makah territory including Cape Flattery, known as the beginning of the world! Located on the Makah Indian Reservation, at the northwestern-most point in the lower 48 United States, Cape Flattery Trail takes you “back in time” through old growth coastal forests leading to an overlook with sweeping views of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Tatoosh Island, and Cape Flattery Lighthouse. Makah people have protected and managed this important area for millennia. Today, the Makah Tribe works in collaboration with the sanctuary and other partners to enhance protection of the area's significant natural and cultural resources.

Register in advance

Let’s Go Fishing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Person fishing in a kayak during the early morning hours.
Enjoy fishing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary via kayak! Photo: Adam Helm, Monterey Bay Kayaks


August 4: 6pm ET, 5pm CT, 3pm PT, 12pm HT, 11am ST

Lean back in your chair or on your couch and join us virtually aboard kayaks or a charter fishing boat in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Fish for halibut, lingcod and rockfish with just a short paddle from shore. Licensed fishing guides will share their favorite tips, techniques, and strategies for getting the most from your fishing adventures. Let's go!

Register in advance

Thursday August 5

Get Your Fish On: Tour the “best fishing practices guide” of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary!

 A gray fish swims over the seafloor with green algae swaying in the current
Responsible recreation allows beautiful fish to live among the thriving corals and plants in Gray’s Reef. Photo: Greg McFall/NOAA


August 5: 1pm ET, 12pm CT, 10am PT, 7am HT, 6am ST

Responsible recreation has kept Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary an ideal fishing destination for over 40 years. Join us as we introduce an online best fishing practices guide for you to make the most of your trip. Become familiar with the sanctuary’s regulations and other applicable federal and state fishing regulations, how to properly rig a fish descending device, and learn about apps to help you log your catch.

Register in advance

What’s up down under? Discovering banks and seamounts in FIVE national marine sanctuaries, Cordell Bank, Olympic Coast, Thunder Bay, Stellwagen Bank, Flower Garden Banks national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

A variety of colorful invertebrates colored pink, white, yellow, brown, orange with various soft shapes and textures with fish schooling above and below the colorful feature.
Bank habitats throughout national marine sanctuaries offer a unique ecosystem for protection and recreational enjoyment. Photo: NOAA


August 5th: 3pm ET, 2pm CT, 12pm PT, 9am HT, 8am ST

Cordell Bank, Stellwagen Bank, 5 Fathom Bank, Flower Garden Banks.... These are not places with ATMs and bank tellers, these are some phenomenal ocean and Great Lakes treasures that rise up from the seafloor/lakebed and provide wondrous habitats. For Get Into Your Sanctuary events, we will reveal these hidden, yet "solid" investments within our nation;s “treasures”, highlight how they formed and why banks and seamounts are incredible investments in biodiversity (not to mention how fabulous they are for exploration!). Join our virtual tour as we compare and contrast these sanctuary features.

Register in advance

Travel Back in Time on the Florida Keys Maritime Heritage Shipwreck Trail, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Map of the Florida Keys with a series of ship icons scattered across the water
Map of the Florida Keys shipwreck trail. Photo: NOAA


August 5th: 4pm ET, 3pm CT, 1pm PT, 10am HT, 9am ST

Get into your Sanctuary” by visiting a shipwreck trail! Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary offers nine dive sites on its Shipwreck Trail that represent three broad periods of maritime history. Those sites are located throughout the sanctuary’s 3,800 square mile boundary spanning the shallow water interface between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Let your journey begin with an introduction to this vast and exciting underwater museum.

Register in advance

Photo Safari Stories, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

Photo Safari Scavenger Hunt heading above a little safari person with binoculars peeking out from between corals to see photos of sea creatures.
Listen to stories about the sanctuaries, told through the winning images from this year’s Photo Safari Scavenger Hunt (June 21- July 26)


August 5th: 7pm ET, 6pm CT, 4pm PT, 1pm HT, 12pm ST

This year, our Get Into Your Sanctuary presentation will be stories about the winning photos from the Photo Safari Scavenger Hunt that takes place June 21- July 26, 2021. We'll talk about the animals, habitats, and situations that the photos bring to mind. You might hear about the natural history of the area and the creatures that live there, the research we do to understand and protect the sanctuary, or even funny stories and encounters we've had during the course of our work. We won't know which stories to tell until we see your photo selections. So, explore away! Join the Photo Safari Scavenger Hunt to find us photos to fit the clues, and register to hear the stories.

Register in advance

Saturday August 7

Virtual Tidepool Excursion, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Orange sea star hanging from the underside of a rock with tubefeet visible and surrounded by barnacles, snails, and algae.
Sea stars are one of the many amazing creatures found in tidepools! Photo: Sara Heintzelman/NOAA/GFNMS


August 7th: 1pm ET, 12pm CT, 10am PT, 7am HT, 6am ST

Join us for a virtual tidepool adventure at Duxbury Reef within Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary in Bolinas, California. Using an innovative story-map with photos, videos, maps, and a 3D intertidal model, we will explore the amazing intertidal habitat at the dynamic edge of the sea in a "choose your own adventure" style program. We'll explore the creatures of the intertidal including octopuses, chitons, anemones, sea stars, sea urchins, nudibranchs, and many other creatures that call this biodiversity hotspot “home.” Learn important and helpful techniques to plan your own trip to the intertidal.

Register in advance

Wounded Veterans Dive Mission, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

Two divers poised to spear two lionfish with small pole spears on the coral reef at Flower Garden Banks.
Permitted divers remove lionfish from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: G.P. Schmahl/FGBNMS


Saturday, August 7th

Location: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Gulf of Mexico.

**This event will be co-led by the WAVES Project and and Tre Charters, and is not open to the general public.**

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is collaborating with the WAVES Project and Tre Charters, to offer an underwater scuba diving experience to wounded American veterans. Participants will don scuba gear and dive into the sanctuary to experience its underwater beauty and remove invasive lionfish as part of sanctuary stewardship efforts. Tools, permits and lionfish removal training will be provided for the divers.

Riverpalooza with Potomac Riverkeeper, Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

Kayakers paddle next to a ship in Mallows Bay
Kayakers paddle through the history of Mallows Bay. Photo: Tyrone Turner/WAMU


Saturday, August 7th: 8:30 am -11:30 am ET

**This event is full**

Location: Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, Maryland

Join Potomac Riverkeeper and Atlantic Kayak in Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary for Get Into Your Sanctuary Weekend! This is a one-of-a-kind, guided interpretive paddle featuring Dr. Susan Langley, State Underwater Archaeologist with the Maryland Historical Trust. Participants will be provided an on the water experience through the eerie hulls of the Ghost Fleet!

Exploration by Kayak, Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

Two kids building a square structure out of PVC pipes while talking to an adult
Local students learn about Mallows Bay. Photo: Sammy Orlando/NOAA


Saturday, August 7th: 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm ET

Location: Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, Maryland

**This event is full**

A paddle event sponsored by the Potomac Riverkeeper,at Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary with the Charles County Maryland NAACP Chapter and Atlantic Kayak to help connect local families to the heritage and ecology of the Potomac River.

Sunday, August 8

Guided Tidepool Walks, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Rocky tide pool filled with ocean water
Tidepools found in Olympic Coast national marine sanctuary boast a diverse ecosystem of aquatic plants and sea creatures. Photo: Deanna Butcher


Sunday, August 8th: 7:00 am - 9:00 am PT

Location: Ruby Beach, Washington

Directions to Beach 4 Viewpoint & Trail. Parking is available.

47.65413089619307, -124.38888494867635

Join us as we explore the tidepools of the Olympic Coast. As a special guest for one day only, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary will lead Olympic National Park’s regularly scheduled tide pool tour. Visitors will explore the amazing world of the intertidal zone while learning about this productive and diverse marine protected area. No registration or fee required.

Questions? Please email for more information.

KNOW before you GO

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are closed to the public while the waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

Please be familiar with and follow regulations and obtain proper licenses.