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A marine facility located on the beautiful island of Catalina.



Gallons of sea water at our facility



Species of animals on display

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Visitors annually at our camp

What We Do



The Center supports this mission by using its exhibits, classrooms and proximity to the ocean to teach the Oceanography Merit Badge (OMB), BSA Aquarist (BSAA), and ROV classes. These courses are taught by the marine educators and teach fundamental concepts of oceanography, how to setup and care for an aquarium, conservation and stewardship of the ocean, and various other topics. 



We are constantly looking for ways to get involved in conservation efforts. In the past we have been partners with Seafood Watch and also worked alongside the MPA Collaborative using their ROV, the Trident, to survey for Giant Sea Bass and White Abalone. Post-pandemic, we are open to opportunities to join conservation efforts or to be a destination for your contributions to conservation.



We spend a lot of time in the ocean, whether it be for collection dives, training, or for leisure. Recently, we developed a ROV course for students and Scouts alike that promotes exploring our bay with a self-assembled ROV. In addition, we have a BlueROV that allows our staff to explore deeper depths than within our diving range.

Our Story

The Pennington Marine Science Center is a one-of-a-kind aquarium and marine science education facility located on Catalina Island, just 28 miles from greater Los Angeles. Situated on the rugged and relatively uninhabited West End of the island, the Pennington Marine Science Center offers visitors and students unparalleled opportunities to get up close and personal with the local marine life of Emerald Bay. The marine science center is a part of Camp Emerald Bay, which is owned and operated by the Western Los Angeles County Council of the Scouts BSA. The camp has been in operation since 1925 with the marine science center opening in 2004.


We operate a 6,000 gallon aquarium with over 10 exhibits housing local temperate marine fish and invertebrates. We use the center as a focal point of our education program, which teaches marine science, conservation and stewardship to children of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. The marine science team teaches classes and educates thousands of people every year, with our busiest season in the summer.

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