Oceanographic Teaching Stations - Roundhouse Aquarium



Oceanographic Teaching Stations (O.T.S.) was founded in 1979 with the mission to foster and promote the public study of, and interest in, the oceans, tidelands and beaches of Southern California, the marine life therein, and the impact of human populations on that environment. Located over the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Manhattan Beach pier, the Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center serves as O.T.S.'s educational facility. The Roundhouse is small in size, but large in impact. The Roundhouse is home to over 100 species of marine life, most of it native to the Santa Monica Bay. Viewing and touching tanks, as well as interactive displays, books, puzzles, and a children's area allow people of all ages to learn about and experience the ocean environment. In 2018 the facility underwent a complete renovation funded by the Harrison Greenberg Foundation. This renovation allowed us to greatly improve the quality of our tanks, educational displays, visitors’ experiences, and students’ experiences. The renovation included state of the art life support equipment to ensure the health and safety of the animals. The equipment is now behind the scenes, keeping the noise and equipment away from visitors. Educational opportunities were built into every area of the facility, including life-sized marine animals imprinted on the floor and ceiling décor showcasing coastal and open ocean habitats.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to connect visitors and students to the oceans, provide hands-on and interactive experiences with marine life and habitats of Southern California, and inspire people to have positive impacts on the environment.

Program Details

1. Volunteer Program: The Roundhouse relies heavily on support from volunteers to assist the small number of staff. They assist with tank maintenance, facility care, animal care, and public education. Volunteers gain public speaking skills, animal husbandry skills, marine biology knowledge, environmental knowledge, leadership experience, time management skills, communication skills, team building skills, social skills, work ethics, and life skills through their experiences at the Roundhouse. This year the volunteer program includes over 80 dedicated individuals, most of whom are high school or college students. Last year, volunteers donated over 6,000 hours of their time to the aquarium. Over 40% of our high school volunteers plan to go to college to study marine science or other STEM fields.
2. Public Education Program: The Roundhouse is open to the public free of charge every day. This allows a socio economically diverse population to visit the Roundhouse. Annually, the Aquarium receives approximately 300,000 visits. Many visitors have not previously been educated about the oceans, marine life, the environment, or human impacts on the ocean and environment. Through our tanks, hands-on displays, educational materials, volunteers, and staff we strive to educate each visitor and provide them with the opportunity to interact with marine life in ways they would not be able to otherwise. These experiences with the natural world are critical to increasing awareness, building compassion, and desiring to protect nature.
3. Student Education Program: Each year, approximately 15,000 students from across Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas take part in the Roundhouse’s educational programs. Students learn about the ocean, marine life, the environment, science, and human impacts in a hands-on, experiential atmosphere. The Roundhouse offers a variety of classes to meet any need, including on-site, tidepool, and outreach classes of varying lengths and topics. The Roundhouse education program is set apart from similar programs by the qualifications of the Roundhouse staff. All classes are taught by staff members who are specialists in the field of marine and environmental science.
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PO Box 1
Manhattan Beach, CA 90267
United States
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