In conjunction with Phase II of the Coastal Trail construction, plans are starting to move forward for the permanent home of the Noyo Center for Marine Science at the south end of the Georgia Pacific mill site. The map linked here provides the site plan for both the recently constructed and opened Phase I at the north end of the property, and the areas currently under construction in Phase II.
The planned campus will include a 5600 square foot Community Learning Center, The Whale House, which will be the new home of the Blue Whale skeleton, currently under restoration, and a proposed marine science research facility.
The Discovery Center is envisioned as the main public exhibit space accommodating up to an estimated 150,000 visitors per year. The main features will include:
- Aquaria, interactive exhibits, and touch pools
- Interpretation of sustainable design features
- Discovery Cafe
- Auditorium and small outdoor amphitheater
- Gift Shop
- Interactive courtyard and restored gardens
- Living Roof
Upon entering the Discovery Center, the visitor will be immediately surrounded by images and symbols of life on the Mendocino coast. Natural light will fill the building. Living organisms will entice the curious. Interactive exhibits will encourage exploration of resource connections to the environment, economy and culture. The general atmosphere will be designed to encourage the excitement of discovery. The exhibit areas will focus on the dynamic land-sea interactions of the coastal ocean, as well as life under the sea.
Our plans for the Whale Hall are still being developed. Currently, we envision a mainly glass building, with connectivity to the Discovery Center, and allowing the casual visitor – perhaps walking the coastal trail- the opportunity to view this community treasure. This building will house the feature exhibit at Noyo, drawing visitors to the coast and into the Discovery Centre.
Once inside the building, visitors will be able to proceed downstairs for multiple viewing perspectives of the massive skeleton and to experience related interpretive displays. Because the blue whale has inspired so much passion from the community, the possibility of expanding this building into a natural history museum is also being explored.
Read the story of the Blue Whale Project here