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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Dive Into the New Marine Life Center

Celebrate marine fun for all ages at Harbor WildWatch


Marine Life Center Harbor WildWatch

Harbor WildWatch, the host of the ever popular “Pier into the Night,” celebrated the grand opening of the Marine Life Center as of February of this year. Previously known only as the Skansie Visitor and Interpretive Center, the environmental education association has re-opened with a few important changes. Firstly, Harbor WildWatch’s lease has been increased to 20 years. Secondly, the visitor center requirements were removed. This means that admission is always free!

Harbor WildWatch functions as an environmental education program meant to inspire stewardship of the Salish Sea through education and environmental monitoring. They offer a variety of programs meant to instill a spirit of wonder for the beauty of our local marine biodiversity — which in turn creates a sense of ownership and appreciation for how we can best prolong the good health of our sea life. Harbor WildWatch partners with us to bring about the conservation of everything that makes the Salish Sea a beautiful place to live.

Harbor WildWatch offers numerous field activities, available to those interested in hands-on learning. Get to know the unique plants and animals that inhabit our local ecosystems through their professional guided Walking Tours. Take an underwater journey of the Gig Harbor Bay without getting wet with Pier Into the Night, where divers use a camera to display a mysterious and magical underwater world. Contribute to marine biology by joining their Community Science Program and contribute to the valuable research that supports the protection of the environment.

If you really want to get involved, there are also plenty of volunteer opportunities for divers and guides. There is even a member program called the Steward Club. Steward Club members get exclusive invites to programs and events, discounts on private programs, and connects like-minded individuals. Annual contribution as a member supports Harbor WildWatch for things that grants don’t cover, such as lights and phone bills. And of course, if getting into the field, volunteering or becoming a member isn’t something that is accessible for you or your family, you can always visit the new Marine Life Center! A place where everyone can find something that inspires.

The Marine Life Center is open 11am to 6pm Wednesday through Sunday and boasts an immersive kelp exhibit, aquariums and touch tanks. You have an opportunity to participate in scavenger hunts, use microscopes, and check out the marine mammal skull display. And what’s more, there’s an octopus! His name is Pancake, and he is a pacific red octopus that lives in a brand new 300-gallon aquarium. Whether you drop by during your lunch break, or stop in for a full afternoon, with all the marine displays there’s surely something for everyone!

For more information on all the opportunities that Harbor WildWatch has to offer, please visit

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