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About Us

Greet a sea turtle as she swims up to say hello! Get eye-to-eye with a bald eagle! Touch a bat ray in our interactive touch pool! Peruse Raptor Row and see the Living Coast’s rescued birds of prey, all of which are non-releasable from injury or imprinting. Discover the native species you don’t see in the city–or on land! Visitors are also free to follow their own path along the refuge’s 1.5 miles of walking trails. The Living Coast Discovery Center is a chance to explore Southern California’s plants and animals on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on San Diego Bay. If you’re looking for a wildlife adventure, this is the place!

The Living Coast Discovery Center inspires care and exploration of the living Earth by connecting people with coastal animals, plants and habitats. We showcase the unique animals and plants of Southern California.  Located just six miles south of downtown San Diego, the Center sits on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing environmental education on coastal resource conservation, and instilling a respect for nature and wildlife in people of all ages.

School Programs

For more than 25 years, the Living Coast Discovery Center has hosted thousands of school children every year for field trips, science classes, scout events and other kid-friendly opportunities.

Endangered Species Breeding & Release Program

The Living Coast partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, and independent biologists to captive – breed and release one of California’s most endangered water birds – the Light-footed Clapper Rail.

Our Vision

The Living Coast Discovery Center inspires the care and exploration of the living Earth by connecting people with coastal animals, plants and habitats.

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Living Coast Discovery Center is to:

  • Partner in collaborative research and restoration of coastal wetlands and bays.
  • Provide student-focused education through STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
  • Increase knowledge of coastal environments, climate change adaptation, and human coexistence with the natural resources of San Diego Bay.

Our Team

We are a small community of staff, over 200 volunteers, more than 1000 animals and plants, and a nationwide base of partners.  Learn more about our Board of Directors.

Formerly operated by the City of Chula Vista, the Center transitioned in 2010 from a public, taxpayer-funded institution to an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  We rely on donations, memberships, and scientific and educational grants to offset costs of operations.

The Living Coast combines first class zoo and aquarium exhibits with the birds, marine life and other living organisms that the bay front refuge naturally supports. Check out San Diego Bay’s wildlife center today.

To view a PDF of our 2015-2016 Annual Report
please click here or the image below.