The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center on Pacific Avenue near the Santa Cruz Wharf held its grand opening ceremonies yesterday afternoon, and brought in more than 1,000 new visitors. The 12,400 square foot, $16.7 million dollar facility will serve as a community resource to educate the public about the nation’s largest marine sanctuary. Representative Sam Farr and Santa Cruz mayor Don Lane, as well as other local representatives attended the opening ceremonies, which included a kelp ribbon cutting. The exploration center has 7,000 square feet of exhibits, including a 14,000 gallon tank replica of the sea floor. It is now open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm, and admission is free.