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 close on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 (read below for info). Please stop by the outside visitor information booth to learn about the refuge. You can also visit us virtually 

We are committed to doing our part to ensure public safety and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we continue to follow public health authority guidance and monitor local conditions.  

As of July 27, 2021, our current status is:  CLOSED

Open: outdoor contact station at the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center, staffed daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Check below for a schedule of outdoor ranger programs, or stop by any time to enjoy our outdoor interpretive exhibits and wildlife observation trails. 

Closed: our interior exhibit space is temporarily closed due to increased local cases of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the situation and will post updates here as we are able to safely increase public access. 

2021 Outside Staff Hours: 

  • June 7 - September 4, 2021 -- Outside desk open 9 am - 5 pm Daily (inside closed)
  • 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

July 27, 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 Closes Temporarily

Out of concern for the health of our visitors, employees, and volunteers, the visitor center for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Islands and Ocean, will temporarily close to indoor public access on July 27. Staff will continue to share information and greet visitors daily from 9 am to 5 pm at an outdoor station located near the center’s front doors. Outdoor activities and ranger-led programs will also continue. 


"This decision is painful, but necessary,” said Refuge Manager Steve Delehanty. "Keeping people safe is non-negotiable. That includes our staff, volunteers, and the visiting public. We’ve adjusted our operations accordingly in response to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases on the Southern Kenai Peninsula.  According to the data collected by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, the current spike of cases in the area is higher than at any other time during the pandemic except for the period of Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2020.


The refuge will continue to monitor local conditions and evaluate how best to safely increase public access to the visitor center if the number of cases declines. Said Delehanty, “We will resume indoor operations as soon as it is safe to do so.  Meanwhile, we have great outdoor experiences for people to enjoy here at the headquarters for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and of course the refuge lands themselves all remain open for public use and enjoyment, as they have throughout the pandemic."


To learn more about outdoor programs 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 respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Please check the Alaska Maritime Refuge websites for updates:

Facebook users can follow at: Virtual visitors can experience a 3-D interactive tour of the visitor center online: .


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit


 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.