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The $42 million center is branded as a historic investment in science education and youth development, offering the most innovative suite of educational programs of any aquarium in the nation — free of charge.

  • Located just blocks from the Aquarium on Cannery Row
  • Four stories, 26,000 square feet
  • Four learning labs with live animal displays
  • Collaborative learning spaces
  • Multipurpose room for large gatherings & student lunches
  • Rooftop garden and meeting space
  • Public exhibit space
  • Designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED gold standards for sustainability, including the use of solar panels, a living roof and water conservation features

The Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership promises a “quantum leap in providing the inspiration and services” to teachers and students, and expands the capacity for Monterey Bay Aquarium’s education and youth development programs.

Each year, 80,000 students visit the aquarium, yet less than half could participate in programs led by the ocean education specialists. With the opening of the Bechtel Center, all of the visiting students can be accommodated.

This summer, Monterey Bay Aquarium will debut expanded teen and teacher programs, and the new Bechtel Education Center learning laboratories will welcome students in the fall.

The center was funded by thousands of generous contributions from aquarium members and other donors, including a lead gift from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and support from Betty and Gordon Moore.

Currently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers the largest admission-free education program of any aquarium in the nation.

More than 2.5 million schoolchildren, teens and teachers have participated since the opening of the aquarium in 1984.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean. The groundbreaking new center will give tremendous leverage to the aquarium’s ability to achieve its mission and continue to lead the nation’s effort to conserve the ocean.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Center for Ocean Education and Leadership building