I often enjoy driving Redondo Beach. It is intriguing to see a group of scuba divers, and wonder what they are doing. Answers came when our family visited the new Marine Science and Technology Center, located on Redondo Beach. This recently built facility is the marine laboratory for Highline Community College. It holds the third largest aquarium in Seattle. Starting June 28th, the MaST center opened to the public every Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Admission is complimentary. Donations are always welcome. On our visit we met a very enthusiastic volunteer who explained some of the fish and let the children feed starfish. Hands on activities always attract people–especially little ones.

Highline Community College began training undersea diving classes back in the 1960s. Graduates of this program became commercial divers. However, the program closed towards the end of the decade, and the old facility became a research center. The facility was used for checking water quality in the Puget Sound, and for classrooms. Today’s new structure provides not only a pleasant classroom environment, but also research opportunities that benefit general public science education, as well as large institutions like the University of Washington. This college-owned facility has five aquariums and three touch tanks, showcasing more than 80 species of local marine life. It also offers easy access to a great diversity of nearby habitats.

The center plays an important role by enhancing science literacy for all ages in the Puget Sound region. It also addresses urban water quality by monitoring and researching land conservation. Perhaps most exciting to area parents is that the MaST envisions offering marine science education for all ages, through summer and holiday camps. Public schools also find the center a worthwhile field trip option.

Our region is blessed with many natural wonders. The MaST pays tribute to that truth through its small, but valuable facility, just around the corner, on Redondo Beach, in Des Moines.

For more information, visit https://mast.highline.edu/.