The Back Bay Science Center (BBSC) is a 13,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility built through a partnership of the California Department of Fish and Game, the City of Newport Beach, the Orange County Health Care Agency, and the University of California Irvine. It is uniquely situated adjacent to Upper Newport Bay, the largest remaining natural estuary in southern California, with waterfront access to this important Ecological Reserve.

The mission of the BBSC is to provide a hands-on facility where students and the public can study and enjoy the estuarine ecology of Newport Bay and the marine ecology of the ocean; and to promote natural resource conservation and stewardship throughout the watershed. The facility includes the Health Care Agency water quality lab responsible for bacterial analysis of water samples collected at the local beaches, and a teaching lab equipped for research-based science education for Grades 7 through college. Here junior- and high-school students will be able to work side-by-side with some of the region’s top scientists.

The facility, which is on Shellmaker Island, is normally only open to registered participants in published school and other programs and attendees at special events such as Estuary Awareness Day. Those interested in learning more about the Bay are encouraged to visit the OC Parks Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center on the north side of the Bay. 

For latest BBSC program and other information visit