We acknowledge that we are on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Suquamish Tribe and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.


To be an exceptional regional marine science resource for all.


Inspiring stewardship of the Salish Sea.

SEA fulfills its mission by connecting the community to the animals, habitats, people and cultures of the region. This is done through experiential aquarium experiences, school visits, online information and community collaborations.

History of SEA Discovery Center

Volunteer talking to a woman and a child at the SEA Discovery Center, black and white historical photo

SEA Discovery Center has had a long history as an educational resource built by the community to serve the community. Originally conceived in the 1960s as the Poulsbo Marine Science Center and located on the shores of Liberty Bay, the center began its history as a marine education resource for the Kitsap community and school districts. In the 1990s, it moved to its present location in downtown Poulsbo, where it continued to serve the community with programming for all ages, until its temporary closure in 2005. 

Children from the past looking in the SEA Discovery Center touch tanks then and now, split image

In 2006, long-time Poulsbo entrepreneur and marine science advocate, Bill Austin, along with local resident Bruce Harlow and others reopened the center with the City of Poulsbo’s partnership and community support and contributions. Working tirelessly, they reopened the center with new seawater systems and aquarium exhibits that are still present today, and eventually added a floating boathouse laboratory for elementary students.

In May 2016, the Poulsbo Marine Science Center was formally gifted to Western Washington University to continue stewardship of the community’s marine center. As a self-sustaining entity of WWU, the center reopened under a new name, SEA Discovery Center and once again served the community as a public aquarium and marine environmental education resource for the school districts, families, and learners of all ages until the current COVID-19 pandemic once again forced its closure. 

During the 2020-2022 closure, Western worked with city and community partners to create a reopening plan to meet the needs of local communities and other institutional and regional marine science centers. Updates were made to the physical building, new staff were hired to oversee the aquarium marine life, operations, outreach, education and fundraising.

In May 2022, SEA welcomed the community back to discover the joy of the marine environment and cultivate the next generation of marine stewards once again.

Meet our Team

  • Bridget Anderson, Director of Operations and Outreach, SEA
  • Tom Record, Building Assistant, SEA
  • Kenna R. Visitor Services Staff, SEA
  • MacKenzie Schaefer, Aquarium Curator, SEA
  • Holly Hill, Senior Director Western Locations, Outreach and Continuing Education    


Please contact SEA staff at SEA@wwu.edu or 360-650-4905.

Mailing address

PO Box 2318, Poulsbo, WA 98370

Street address

18743 Front Street, NE Poulsbo, WA 98370

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Instagram @seadiscoverycenter