Your support and contributions will fund our mission to create a marine environmental education center in Pacifica. PODC is a project of Pacifica's Environmental Family.

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We Envision


A center to study and teach about our relationship with the coast,

including coastal plants and animals, ocean responses to climate change, adaptation strategies for coastal communities, fishing and other recreation, and watershed connections to the sea.

A resource for citizens, cities, and teachers,

where individuals and cities can find useful information and where teachers can bring their students, access curriculum for their classes, and earn new ways to 

teach about the coastal environment.

An educational approach that utilizes engagement more than show-and-tell,

rich in program offerings that get people out onto the beach and pier to learn first-hand via inquiry and projects, and that help them solve problems and engage personally.

A facility with aquarium tanks and other exhibits focused on the local coastal environment,

for orientation to educational programs utilizing the coast and watershed as a 


A research program that leverages citizen involvement,

building on the enthusiasm evident in existing volunteerprograms, to run long-term monitoring programs, habitat restoration, and other efforts.

Deep connections with related organizations in the community,

such as local schools, the Pacifica Beach Coalition, Marine Mammal Center, Surfrider, the Historical Society, and arts organizations, to serve a diverse audience.


Dr. Sylvia Earle

“A strong grassroots group of volunteers, combined with community support, a vital mission and a great location can accomplish the important task of helping people understand their own connection and relationship with the ocean. The Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center has the necessary components needed to attract and entertain visitors while providing the educational value to make a difference."


Our History and Technical Documentation

Dedicated to preserving the ocean environment of the San Mateo County Coast through conservation, marine biology research and education.


The Pacifica Ocean Discovery Center (PODC) is a project of Pacifica's Environmental Family, a 501(c)3 non-profit. We seek to establish a marine science education and visitor serving facility in the City of Pacifica, CA. The PODC will help protect our coast by providing a hands-on learning environment that will help protect marine mammals and other coastal wildlife.  Any donations should be made to PEF with a notation in the memo section of your check saying PODC. 

Hands on visitor experience.


Our marine biology instructors will teach busloads of bay area students how to "tread lightly" on a tide pool, then give them a certificate which they can then use to gain entrance to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in nearby Moss Beach. The Fitz gets 150,000+ untrained visitors a year which has trampled their tide pools. This will be our way to help save those pools--the rangers can close sections off to regrow instead of closing the whole reserve for 10 years. 

 The public/students will be able see the biologists working in the labs--tending to injured animals, checking the water for contaminents, reintroducing cured species back into the sea, etc.

The proposed site for the PODC is on this decommissioned waste water treatment plant property.


The Pacifica Pier was built to lay the outflow pipe. We will slip-line this $1.5 million pipe (in purple) to bring fresh sea water into the aquariums and tide pools. The blue line shows the perimeter of the PODC site. The rest will be available for a new hotel. The first floor will be aquariums and exhibits, the second floor will be a large conference center, available for rent for meetings, weddings, etc. The roof top will have a Whale/Dolphin Observation Deck & solar panels.

PODC Overview 2018

2018 Project Description Submitted To Pacifica City Council