Caring for Stranded Marine Animals
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Marine Animal Discovery Center & Gift Shop

The National Marine Life Center’s Marine Animal Discovery Center will be open starting June 20th by appointment only. We are still requiring advanced online booking for our by-appointment visits to our Discovery Center. We are still following COVID-19 protocols by limiting the number of people allowed in and requiring masks for staff and visitors at this time. 

Enjoy a private visit to our Marine Animal Discovery Center and learn about Cape Cod marine life and the work we do at National Marine Life Center to rehabilitate seals and sea turtles. This registration grants you and up to 5 additional people access to our Discovery Center for up to 1 1/2 hours of fun and learning! Your visit includes up to 45 minutes of guided chats with an activities, plus up to 45 minutes of free exploration time.

Masks are required for everyone over 3 years of age, and must be worn for the entirety of your visit.

See amazing specimens like whale vertebrae, baleen, seal pelts, turtle skulls, and the tools we use in our Marine Animal Hospital.

Hear an update about our current patients as you watch them receive care and get better on our TV Screens, broadcasting live from the Marine Animal Hospital.

Finally, take part in a special activity of your choice!
Choose from one or more of the following. Please write your choice in the “Appointment Notes” section!
~ Caring for Seal Pups: See a demonstration (using a stuffed animal) of how we tube feed a seal patient! You’ll also have the chance to try it out yourself.
~ Sea Creature Craft: Make a marine themed craft or two. We try to use reusable or recycled materials to keep it eco-friendly.
~ Saving Sea Turtles: Participate in a mock sea turtle exam (using a plastic model sea turtle)!

For an extra $10, add an Ambassador Animal Encounter and enjoy a touch-free meet-and-greet with our resident box turtles!


We are offering virtual programs via our social media platforms, so make sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages! For those who are interested in virtual school programs, we are happy to coordinate virtual field trips for your classes. 

NMLC’s Business Offices are open by appointment only due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please call 508-743-9888 or e-mail

Please stay safe and enjoy one of our virtual programs!

When not in a pandemic, the National Marine Life Center’s Marine Animal Discovery Center & Gift Shop is generally open to the public during the following hours.

  • February School Vacation Week (Barnstable County), 10-5 daily
  • April School Vacation Week (Barnstable County), 10-5 daily
  • Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, 10-5 daily
  • Weekends through Columbus Day, 10-5
  • Thanksgiving Weekend (except Thanksgiving Day), 10-5
  • And selected days throughout the year (Open Houses and other special events)

critter-tank-002-840Please see our Event Calendar for information about education programs and special events!

An educational experience about helping sea life on Cape Cod, the Marine Animal Discovery Center features educational displays, specimens, and information about marine animals, strandings, rehabilitation, marine science, and ocean conservation. A live cam offers views into the marine animal hospital. Please note that, for the safety of our seal and sea turtle patients, the animals are only viewable via closed circuit camera.

NMLC’s Gift Shop features a unique selection of local art, jewelry, educational toys & games, eco-friendly, and fair trade items with a marine theme.  Shop for a good cause!  All proceeds benefit NMLC’s marine animal rehabilitation, science, and education programs.

For directions, click here.

National Marine Life Center
P.O. Box 269, 120 Main Street
Buzzards Bay, MA02532-0269