The Seacoast Science Center is a non-profit marine science education organization located within Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire.
Ocean education is what we do. Through programs, exhibits, marine mammal rescue, and interpretation of Odiorne Point State Park, we teach people, from toddlers to grandparents, about why a healthy ocean matters. We educate to motivate. Because ocean health impacts our daily lives, our goal is to inspire people to make everyday choices that will have a positive impact on the health of the ocean.
We envision an abundant, sustainable, healthy world ocean. To achieve that end, we are building a blue community in which everyone is an ocean steward who cares for the future of the sea.
Located within Odiorne Point State Park, we provide educational experiences on behalf of New Hampshire State Parks and have been connecting people to the wonders of our coast since 1992. Our live animal exhibits feature the amazing creatures that live in the rapidly changing Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Our engaging programs make learning about the ocean fun for everyone, from pre-K to senior rediscovery. Our hands-on science exhibits, from undersea exploration to marine debris, motivate families to become caretakers of our blue planet.
We are the home of New Hampshire’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team, responding to marine mammals along New Hampshire’s coast. Our rescue work creates coastal communities that are safe for both people and seals. Each seal-side conversation is an opportunity to educate people about the animals and their coastal ocean habitat. One of just 100 federally authorized response organizations, our rescue work contributes critical data for research on the status of these protected species, considered the early warning system for ocean health.
We hold highly valued community events throughout the year from Music by the Sea concerts to Sippin’ for Seals. Each reaches a different audience, yet all combine to reinforce our belief that a healthy ocean drives our quality of life today and will drive quality of life for future generations.
How You Can Help
Annual Operations At-a-Glance
Visitation: 80,000 people
Programs: for 10,500 visitors; for 26,000 youth
Staff: 20 year-round; 75-peak season
Volunteers: 200 year round; 200 special events
These data are summarized from the 2017 budget. A copy of the Center’s 2016 audited financial statement is available upon request.
Organizational History and Milestones
When we opened in 1992, the Center was a public/private partnership between the state, two non-profits and the University of New Hampshire (UNH). By 2001, we had outgrown that structure and became an independent non-profit organization. We maintain our tradition of partnership with a strong connection to UNH and by collaborating with a wide network of institutions. In 2004 and 2007 we completed two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded capital projects. The 2004 project included interior renovations and upgraded exhibit life support systems. The Gregg Interactive Learning Studio opened in 2007 with technology that connects on-site students and visitors to multimedia educational experiences. The Studio’s distance learning programs reach across the country and as far afield as Australia.
In 2010, we were named a NBC’s TODAY Show’s Lend-a-Hand TODAY recipient. Lend-a-Hand TODAY recognizes smaller non-profits that make big impacts in their communities. The Seacoast Science Center was the only environmental education institution among the six chosen that year.
We began integrating whale ecology into our exhibits in 2009 when we acquired the skeleton of Tofu, a young humpback whale. In 2012, the exhibit was expanded and now includes the widest collection of marine mammal skeletons on public display in northern New England.
In 2014 we completed Families by the Seaside, a marine science education project that asked underserved families to create their own marine science learning experiences. With seven teams of science centers and community based organizations across New England, this $500,000 NOAA-funded initiative has resulted in ground-breaking insights about what families from diverse backgrounds know and want to learn about the sea, how learning together outdoors strengthens families. The project’s resulting Partnership Guide will advance the art and science of collaborating.
The Center was granted authorization by the National Marine Fisheries Service to lead New Hampshire’s marine mammal rescue effort, effective January 1, 2014. The Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team responds to stranded, injured and diseased seals, whales, porpoises, and dolphins in NH’s coastal region. The team also educates beach goers and coastal communities about what to do when they spot a seal or other marine mammal on the shore.