The SEA, or Science, Education and Aquarium Discovery Center, was christened after Western acquired the Poulsbo Marine Center from the city on May 24.
The event marks a growing relationship between Western and the Poulsbo community, coupled with the introduction of the WWU Center at Olympic College in Poulsbo in 2013. The day camp, held every summer by the Parks Department, will move to the SEA Discovery Center.
The marine center is dedicated to educating the community. Inside the facility are classrooms and an arts and games room.
The SEA Discovery Center already hosts a wide variety of programs aimed at educating elementary education aged children in the local communities. Western plans to continue all the youth programs currently in place.
Western has expanded degree programs in youth and community degrees at Olympic College, said Lois Longwood, the Degree Programs Director for the Extended Education department at Western.
“The Marine center presented an opportunity to be entrenched in the community just a little bit more,” Longwood said. “It is just broadening Western’s commitment to bring educational opportunities to the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula.”
For over 20 years, Western has been offering teacher education programs from undergraduate to graduate, and human service programs at Olympic College.
“The Marine center presented an opportunity to be entrenched in the community just a little bit more.”
Western has been expanding the programs to include a wider range of degrees.
Western recently opened up two programs from Huxley College: environmental science and environmental policy and planning. Another degree offered is business administration, and next year, Western will be offering a program in cyber security, Longwood said.
It is free to enter, but donations are suggested.
The SEA Discovery Center comes with an aquarium; when first entering the building you’re greeted by a large touch tank. It takes up about the entire room, aquarium assistant Lauren Kemper said.
Nearly all of the center’s tanks house fish native to the Puget Sound, Kemper said.
The Discovery Center has a variety of aquatic life, with three tropical-water tanks, two saltwater and one freshwater.
SEA Discovery center is home to a wolf eel, a tiny octopus and a variety of other sea creatures.
The Center can be visited in downtown Poulsbo on the waterfront.