The Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center is the marine biology and aquarium facility of Highline College, located less than 20 miles south of Seattle in Des Moines, WA. It serves as both an educational institution and a community resource.
The MaST Center works to preserve the Puget Sound ecosystem through its research and educational programs, as well as public events that exhibit the beauty, complexity, and importance of our cherished marine environment.
MaST is located at Redondo Beach, four miles south of the Highline College campus. The 2,500 square-foot facility includes classrooms, laboratories, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a 3,000-gallon seawater aquarium. The aquarium’s 15 tanks with flow-through seawater include two large touch tanks, two octopus tanks, several life-stage jellyfish tanks, a schooling fish tank, and more. Together, they display over 250 native Puget Sound marine species.
Some of the free public events at the MaST center include public viewing days, live dives, expert speakers, summer camps, and volunteer opportunities.
MaST Center aquarium public events
These are some of the free public events at the MaST Center aquarium. Scroll down to our calendar a schedule of upcoming events.
Discover Day happens every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. when the MaST Center is open for public viewing. During summers (June-August), the center also opens Thursdays from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. You can see the 3,000 gallon seawater aquarium with access to 250+ native Puget Sound species. Interactive exhibits include two large touch tanks, using microscopes in the plankton station, and learning about current issues in the marine ecosystem of Puget Sound. Discover Day is FREE.
Live Dive takes place on the FOURTH Saturday of each month. Each dive lasts 30-45 minutes. Two sessions are available: 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. During Live Dive, the diver is equipped with a full face mask for two way communication and an HD camera with recording equipment. Visitors watch the dive on large screen monitors at the MaST Center pier and are able to see and hear everything as the team of divers explores what’s beneath the water’s surface. Unlike in large indoor aquariums, each dive is unique and unpredictable. They might find fish, jellyfish, worms, sponges, shrimp, crabs, barnacles, seastars, urchins, an octopus, shark, or sea lion, or any of the dozens of potential species that inhabit these waters. It’s a very unique opportunity for attendees to become a virtual SCUBA diver for a day. Live Dive is FREE.
Science on the Sound speaker series at the MaST Center features a local, regional, or national expert who shares their knowledge with the local community. Speakers give 45 minute presentations, followed by a discussion period. There are a variety of topics to appeal to people with different interests. Topics are planned a year in advance, but of course are subject to change. So, check their website before you go. MaST speaker series is FREE. More info: https://mast.highline.edu/visit/science-on-the-sound/
2019-2020 Science on the Sound Schedule
- October 5: Return of the River – A Documentary Film about the Elwha River. Woody Moses, Highline Biology Instructor.
- November 2: Ocean pH in and Around the Port of Prince Rupert. Paul Covert, Physical Scientist Department, Fisheries Oceans Canada.
- December 7: Filling a Critical Need in the Pacific Northwest for Marine Wildlife. Casey McClean, Executive Director , Sealife Response, Rehab, and Research (SR3).
- January 4: Race to Alaska. Daniel Evans, Race Boss, Race to Alaska.
- February 1: Floating to the Surface: Jellyfish and Their Emerging Ecological Roles in Puget Sound. Correigh Greene, NOAA Researcher and Haila Schultz, University of Washington, PhD Student.
- March 7: Annual MaST Center Writers Workshop. Susan Landgraf, Poet and Porfessor Emeritus Highline College.
- April 4: Educator Motivations for Applying and Working at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Joanne Park, Education and Volunteer Program Coordinator, MaST Center.
- May 2: Voices for the Sea Turtles: Marine Turtle Conservation in Pacific Mexico. Vanessa Hunt, Associate Professor, Central Washington University.
- June 6: From Climate Science to Climate Justice. Heather Price, North Seattle College Chemistry Instructor.
Discover Sound Science MaST Summer Camps are available to students entering the 4th, 5th, or 6th grade. These weeklong, half-day summer camp appeal to children who are passionate about science and the marine environment. Campers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on educational experiences, including intertidal exploration, aquarium animal identification and collection, conservation and environmental preservation, skill development with microscopes and other scientific equipment, creative writing, and more. Camp instructors come from local colleges with backgrounds in environmental fields and related disciplines. Each camper will be given a reflection journal to record daily thoughts prompted by questions from their activities and instructors. For cost and other information, visit MaST Summer Camps.
Learn more about these and other MaST Center aquarium programs and activities at: https://mast.highline.edu/visit/
MaST Volunteer Opportunities
MaST Volunteer Opportunities can include work behind the scenes on maintenance tasks and research activities, with the public during MaST public events, and in the field on a response team caring for stranded marine mammals on the shore between Tacoma and West Seattle. For more information, visit: https://mast.highline.edu/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/
Upcoming events at MaST Center aquarium
If nothing is listed below, there are no MaST Center events on our calendar. Theoretically, this shouldn’t happen. We review and update the public events calendar for MaST about once a year.