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Living Coast Discovery Center is Looking for Historical Photos for 30th Anniversary Celebration!

Jan 20, 2018 11:24PM ● By Paul Spear


30 Years and Counting! 

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It feels like yesterday we opened our doors as the Chula Vista Nature Center. Three decades later, we’re so grateful to still be spreading the message of wildlife conservation and environmental education thanks to support from this great community. We hope you’ll join us as we host special events throughout the year and explore some new exhibits opening this year, like the Native Pollinator Garden and Back to Nature.

You can sign up for our emails or keep in touch on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram to make sure you don’t miss our new exhibit and events throughout the year!


30th Anniversary Celebration

Show your support for the Living Coast in honor of our 30th year. Learn More.

30th Anniversary Masthead


Submit Your Photos!

pelicans in roundaboutWe’re looking for your photos to bring back the nostalgic feeling from 30 years ago all the way up to today! Send us your photos from The Living Coast, Chula Vista Nature Center, or Sweetwater Marsh and we might display them in our upcoming exhibit! Plus, we’ll publish the photos on our social, email, and other channels throughout the year.

Please include your name, an approximate date (or year) the photo was taken, and a brief description (optional). We will publish your first name and last initial in conjunction with your photo unless you state you wish otherwise in your email. Email photos to

*By emailing us your photo(s), you grant Living Coast Discovery Center the rights and permissions to use your photo(s) in perpetuity for any and all purposes pertaining to the Living Coast Discovery Center and its partners. You waive the right to any fee or control of the photo now or in the future. You grant Living Coast Discovery Center permission to use your name and any other context you provide in conjunction with the photo(s). *


Refuge History

It’s hard to believe the diverse history of these grounds over the past century. From kelp factory to tomato farm, and now as a National Wildlife Refuge, it’s a relief to know this diverse and beautiful habitat will be preserved for years to come.

1916-1920: Hercules Powder Company kelp-processing plant built on Gunpowder Point to extract materials used in the production of explosives used in World War I.  Remnants of the buildings can still be seen out on the trails.

center-trail1978: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes filmed at Sweetwater Marsh.

July 4, 1987: Doors open at the Chula Vista Nature Center.

1988: Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge established. 

1991: Burrowing Owl Aviary constructed.

2000: Raptor Enclosures constructed.

2003: David A. Wergeland Shark & Ray Experience and Eagle Mesa constructed.

2006: Opening of the Wergeland Family Galleria, including Turtle LagoonIMG_5215


2010: The Nature Center became an autonomous nonprofit organization. 

2012: The Chula Vista Nature Center changes its name to the Living Coast Discovery Center.

2016: Turtle Lagoon is remodeled and becomes the first capital improvement project for The Living Coast in 10 years!

2017: Living Coast Discovery Center celebrates 30 years!


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