Join Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for its annual Underwater Parks Day, celebrating Marine Protected Areas (known as MPAs) in Southern California. The event will feature activities and presentations about the newly designated areas and the marine life they safeguard.
Just as parks on land are established to preserve and protect wildlife, MPAs protect underwater marine resources like fish and kelp forests for future generations to enjoy. Plans set forth by the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 called for a network of MPAs along the California coast. These new Southern California MPAs help complete the network as they join other MPAs in Central and Northern California.
Visitors will receive a free canvas tote bag to decorate, creating their own underwater parks scene at the Aquarium’s craft station. An interactive exhibit in the Aquarium’s lab, short films and additional craft activities are designed for all to learn how to improve the ocean’s health. Similar activities are being held the same day at partner marine science centers: Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, Ocean Institute in Dana Point, Birch Aquarium/Museum at Scripps in La Jolla, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Ty Warner Sea Center and the SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium. Together with the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence - West (a joint project with USC and UCLA) these educational centers are collaborating on Underwater Parks Day to help people learn more about our local MPAs.