Visitor Center

IOVC Entrance Sign Wood Base Large

Your window to the largest seabird refuge in the world, with all of the wonders of Kachemak Bay right outside its doors!

Hours of Operation
Our visitor center will reopen on Monday, June 7. Please stop by the outside visitor information booth to learn about the refuge. You can also visit us virtually 

2021 Hours: 

  • June 7 - September 4, 2021 -- open 9 am - 5 pm Daily
  • Closed September 5 and 6
  • September 7 - September 11 -- open 9 am - 5 pm daily
  • Starting September 14: open Tues - Saturdays noon to 4 pm

Upcoming Events
  • Check out our  CALENDAR for a list of upcoming events at Islands & Ocean    
  • Daily Ranger Programs offered June 7- August 20 (2021 Summer Season).

News Release

May 31, 2021 Contact: Julia Pinnix, Temporary Visitor Services Manager, 509-393-6507,,

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, 95 Sterling Hwy #1, Homer, AK 99603


Islands and Ocean Visitor Center Partially Reopens


Like everyone else, the staff of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge have been waiting for the time when life can begin to resemble “normal.” This spring brings exciting change, like sending quarantined researchers out to far-flung islands to carry on with long-term studies of seabirds. Now, as of June 7, we welcome visitors and the community back to the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer.


There are some limitations, of course. The number of people allowed into the building at any one time must remain below 40, which allows family groups to keep their distance from other groups. The exhibits will be open, but the more confined theater will stay closed. A staff person will be available to answer questions and offer masks to unvaccinated visitors. The building will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Join our outdoor activities like guided tidepooling and interpretive walks, too. To find out what outdoor programs are being offered, visit: ; or call 907-235-6546 or 833-808-4796.


The Refuge, as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is following federal, state, and local public health authority guidance as we continue responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on this guidance, and in accordance with the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we will continue to safely and progressively open our building in stages.

Stay tuned for updates via our website: Facebook users can follow us, too: . For those unable to visit in person, a 3-D tour of the visitor center is available online:


 Volunteer Today!

Visitor our volunteer page to get involved! Travel in your RV and stay 3 months in Homer or volunteer locally.


The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (known locally as Islands & Ocean) takes you on a dramatic journey through the refuge's past and present . . . surrounds you with the sights, sounds - and even the smells of a seabird colony . . . and invites you to follow biologists as their research ship sails to remote islands each year. 

Guest Amenities & Accessibility

Restrooms, sitting areas and drinking fountains are conveniently located. A limited number of wheelchairs and strollers are available at no charge to loan to on-site guests. All exhibits are accessible by wheelchair. The Visitor Center offers ample parking, including bus and RV spots. No overnight parking is allowed.

Jr. Biologist - Kids Earn Your Badge!
Kids can earn their Jr. Biologist Badge.

Pets are not allowed inside the Visitor Center but are allowed on the trails while on a leash. To avoid disease being passed to wildlife, owners must pick up after their pets.

Located inside the Visitor Center, the Alaska Geographic bookstore offers an exciting selection of nature guides, children's items, and books. Alaska Geographic is a partner of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and other Refuges and Parks in Alaska. Their website offers membership and an online bookstore with many helpful items for travelers planning to visit Alaska. Purchases made at Islands & Ocean support educational programs at the Visitor Center. Members receive a 15% discount on most purchases.

Plan Ahead & Enjoy the Trails
Stroll through inside exhibits and explore interpretive trails on the Center's sixty-acre site. If you intend to enjoy the trails, consider bringing sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, gear for windy or rainy conditions and appropriate shoes or boots to explore the beach.

Birding & Wildlife Watching on Kachemak Bay

 Meetings and Partner Events
Is your government agency, non-profit, or professional looking for a place to host a meeting or event? From Labor Day through mid-April, we may be able to offer you a space. Check out our use policy for more information or to request use of the facility.