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Living Coast Discovery Center Celebrates COASTWEEKS 2012 with Three Weeks of Programs Celebrating Coastal Wildlife and Water Resources


The Living Coast Discovery Center, a nonprofit zoo and aquarium located on San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, is hosting three weeks of special programming from Sept. 15 through Oct. 6 in celebration of COASTWEEKS 2012.

This is the first year that the Living Coast Discovery Center has participated in this annual public education program, which is celebrated at sites nationwide. Three weeks of fun-filled family activities are planned in and around the Living Coast Discovery Center on San Diego Bay, including special speakers, hands-on art workshops and more, all highlighting the special places and species of our unique local coastline habitats.

COASTWEEKS activities include:


Coastal Cleanup at Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, September 15th, 9am-12 pm

To kick off the celebration, the Discovery Center will be hosting a public cleanup day on Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. As a part of the California Coastal Cleanup Day, this is one of 87 cleanup sites statewide. Participants to the Sweetwater Marsh cleanup site will receive a free reusable tote bag with goodies inside (while supplies last), including a ticket to the Living Coast Discovery Center. Participants must be 10 years of age or older. To participate, preregistration is required at Choose the Sweetwater Marsh cleanup site.

Coastal Connections Weekly Lecture Series - Thursdays During Coastweeks

Local experts on coastal issues and species will share with us each week. Space is limited, so preregistration is required. Separate guided children activities available upon request for ages four to 10. Members: FREE with preregistration, Non-members: $10, September 20 and 27 and October 4th, 6:30am-8:30pm

Coastal Connections Marine Debris Art Workshops


Hands-on fun for the whole family. Travel to a different coastal destination each week with local artist and environmentalist, Teresa Espaniola, to create creative and useful works of art using marine debris. Artistic ability not necessary. Attend all four sessions for the most fun. Themed door prizes will be awarded each week as well as snacks, festive music and getting an up-close and personal encounter with one of our Discovery Center animals. Appropriate for age five and older. Limited space available, so preregistration is suggested. Members: Adults - $31; Children- $26 (Admission to the Center Included), Non-Members: Adults and Children - $17, Saturdays: 1-3 p.m.

  • September 15th- Japan
  • Become a mater synthetic sushi chef. Create a platter of decorative sushi from marine debris and recycled materials while learning about the tsunami debris and its impact on our coastal habitats.
  • September 22nd- Venice Italy
  • Come to coastal Venice for a Masked Ball. Make your own mask out of recycled materials and plastic marine debris. Discover what is going on in coastal Venice while creating and modeling your mask.
  • September 29th- Australia
  • Experience Australia’s coastal habitats as you create the Great Barrier Reef and marine creatures to inhabit out of colorful marine debris and recycled materials.
  • October 6th- California
  • Surf’s up. Create your own California-themed projects from recycled materials and marine debris.

Marsh Monday Kayaking trips

Take a paddle through the coastal waters of South Bay with a guided naturalist in search of birds, sea turtles and other local coastal wildlife. Great for kids and adults. Single and tandem kayaks are available for use, and are included in the registration costs. Preregistration is required.

  • September 17th- 8am-10am
  • September 24th- 4pm-6pm
  • October 1st- 8am-10ampm
  • Members: Single Kayak - $15; Double Kayak - $20
  • Non-Members: Single Kayak - $25; Double Kayak - $30

For additional information and to preregister, please call (619) 409-5908 or visit

Daily Coastal Themes

The Living Coast Discovery Center is open daily from 10am-5pm. Enjoy a different, super-fun coastal theme each day of the week during Coastweeks. All activities and events are included in the admission costs for the Center.

  • Shark and Ray Sundays: Sunday is the day for sharks and rays. Through interactive stations, hands on games, and an up-close and personal look at some adorable baby sharks, discover how these amazing animals have survived for over 400 million years. Make your trip extra special by signing up for a VIP animal encounter to get to feed our sharks and rays (limited space available and preregistration required).
  • Marsh Mondays: The Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is a unique ecosystem that many animals, birds and plants call home. Join us for an opportunity to see the marsh from all angles by pre-registering for a unique kayaking trip or searching for crabs on our protected beaches. Learn about the marsh through a variety crafts, experiments, hands-on stations, animal encounters and onsite exhibits all while visiting with local wildlife.
  • Tidal Zone Tuesdays: Take a look beneath the surface. Many spineless wonders, also known as invertebrates, make their home along San Diego’s coasts. Come explore the wide range of life that exists in each of the tidal zones. Touch sea stars, urchins and snails, and other marine critters. Discover the most intelligent invertebrate, the octopus, and see if she can open the most challenging of toys to retrieve a special treat. Head to the shoreline for a plankton tow to see how most marine creatures begin life in this unique habitat.
  • Watershed Wednesdays: Wednesday is water day. Chula Vista’s watershed includes more than 350,000 human residents plus our wildlife neighbors. Come learn how you can reduce your water footprint through small, easy changes that can make a big difference. Learn how to be a part of the solution while enjoying a variety of hands-on stations, an interactive local plant tour given by horticulturalist Mark Valen (2pm) and even participate in a wild water fight.
  • Turtle Thursdays: Did you know that the endangered Eastern Pacific green sea turtle makes its home right here in San Diego Bay? Watch the Center’s four sea turtles through our up-close viewing windows, and enjoy a variety of turtle crafts, turtle games and other hands-on stations. Make your trip extra special by signing up for a VIP animal encounter to get to feed our sea turtles. (limited space available and preregistration required).
  • Fishy Fridays: Catch a glimpse of the awesome fish that make the waters of San Diego their home. Explore their diverse habitats and unique anatomy up-close through dissections, dress up, games and crafts. Don’t forget to grab your Seafood Watch card, or download the app, before leaving to be a powerful part of the solution towards healthier fish populations on our coast.
  • Shore Bird Saturdays: Get to know the beautiful birds that make the coastal California wetlands their home. Discover the endangered light-footed clapper rail and what the Discovery Center is doing to help this rare local bird. We’ll have bird games, bird stories and even the ability to sign up for a special shore bird feed (Limited space available). And for the avid birders, we will be opening the refuge early for special bird-watching opportunities.

About the Living Coast Discovery Center

The Chula Vista Nature Center opened on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in 1987. The zoo and aquarium was operated by the City of Chula Vista until late-2009, when it transitioned to a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In April 2012, it was re-branded as the Living Coast Discovery Center in preparation for the center’s 25th anniversary. The Living Coast Discovery offers hands-on exhibits and up-close encounters with more than 350 plant and animal species native to Southern California coastal habitats, including endangered sea turtles, sting rays, leopard sharks, jellies, shorebirds, reptiles and a large collection of raptors such as hawks, falcons, owls, American bald eagle, golden eagle, and more. More information about the Living Coast Discovery Center is available at or 619.409-5900.