Western’s SEA Discovery Center Begins Planning for an Early 2022 Reopening

Western Washington University’s SEA Discovery Center in Poulsbo, which has been closed during the COVID pandemic, is currently on pace for a reopening in the first quarter of 2022.

Work is under way to complete a long to-do list in preparation for the reopening that will result an improved learning environment for the students that visit the center, as well as secure more funding for the center itself.

Projects currently in process at the center include:

  • An energy audit that will identify measures for energy-efficient upgrades and changes to reduce overhead and save operational funding
  • Seeking other fundraising activities to help support upgrades to the center’s facilities
  • Working with a business class from Western this spring to focus on center operations and potential cost savings
  • Engaging with stakeholders to help determine the future of SEA; groups include volunteers, science educators, school district staff, homeschool groups, community supporters, volunteers and collaborators from similar entities in the region
  • Identifying new revenue streams to help support SEA as a self-sustaining entity
  • Collaborating with Western’s Huxley College of the Environment and other institutions to identify areas of opportunity for university student engagement and research at the center


Other projects to be addressed before the reopening include:

  • Repainting and recarpeting of the aquarium
  • Possibly painting the exterior of the center
  • Seeking a tenant for the center’s second floor to help defray costs
  • Assessing the center’s program offerings to better serve students and visitors
  • Creating more internship/practicum/student teaching opportunities


Thanks to the support and generosity of several marine science centers in the region, work is also underway for the return of many of the center’s animals, which were “fostered” by regional marine centers during the center’s closure. Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Feiro Marine Life Center, Port Angeles, The Estuarium in Olympia, MaST Center at Highline College and Padilla Bay Reserve have cared for more than 300 of the center's animals during the closure.

In the last full calendar year before the pandemic, more than 30,000 students and visitors toured the center.

For more information on the SEA Discovery Center’s reopening plan, email Western Washington University Outreach and Continuing Education Senior Director Holly Hill at holly.hill@wwu.edu.