Discovery Lab programs take place at or near our facility and allow teachers to choose from a variety of fun and informative marine science lessons (see list below). Along with rotating through lessons, students get an in-depth tour of our aquarium, which includes touching a selection of our rocky intertidal species and sleeping sharks.
All aboard as we take a boat on the seas to survey and study marine life, collecting samples in tow along the way. The Floating Laboratory is a unique and memorable experience in which students embark on an exhibition in the harbor fishing for knowledge and studying their catch.
Following an introduction to the rich cultural and natural history of the area, our students help to drop a trawl net then sort, identify, and count the collected creatures which become a part of our ongoing monitoring dataset. Throughout the trip our students are encouraged to take in the sights and sounds of marine mammals and birds in their natural environment, as well as help to release the catch after the data count. To better understand this marine food web we also collect plankton samples and engage our students in water quality and chemistry testing using oceanographic sampling equipment.
The remainder of this program takes place in the labs and classrooms at the aquarium where students view and discuss the species of plankton caught from the boat, emphasizing the role these organisms play in the marine food web. Floating lab is commonly paired with the Squid Dissection, Sink or Float, and Rocky Intertidal labs, which further discuss the interconnections between the adaptations creatures make in the seas and the interdependence of life between species.
4 Hour Program ($1000)
Up to 30 students
2 Classes Same Day ($1500)
Up to 30 students per class
Floating Labs are available September through May, Tuesday - Thursdays only. Inquire for summer Floating Lab availability.
Join the Central Coast Aquarium as we take part in biological monitoring studies at various habitats along the central coast. This program's goal is to actively engage students in real-life scientific investigations and the scientific process, while also collecting data that will be used to better understand the marine communities found along our coast.
There are several habitat options for this program including:
Sandy Beach - held at the beach & Central Coast Aquarium: up to 30 students, $500
Rocky Intertidal - held at Shell Beach: up to 30 students, $500
Students participating in these programs will learn the sampling methodologies used by scientists to study the habitat of interest and the species found there. The data collected during each monitoring program will be added to our databases and will be made available to the participating classes, so that they can explore the patterns in catch. Local scientists also use this data for their own research.
Come and join us for one of our exciting marine life monitoring programs and take science to a whole new level.
Our Pre-School programs introduce your little explorers to the exciting world of marine life. This program is created for three and four-year-olds and groups are kept small to maximize the benefit and experience of our hands on learning environment. We focus on learning through the senses, as we explore slippery sea stars, spiny sea urchins and more! During this 1 hour program, students will have the opportunity to learn through different hands-on lessons, including marine mammals, sharks, and tidepools.
Programs last 1hr. Cost: $200 for a class of 20 students
The Central Coast Aquarium is excited to share this alternative program with you - near and far! Made possible through the development of our mobile aquarium tanks, we bring our live animals to you along with informational presentations and programs. Our travelling creatures include hermit crabs, Spiny California King Crabs, graceful crabs, decorator crabs, kelp crabs, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea anemones, gumboot chitons, keyhole limpets, sea snails, flatfish, mussels, scallops, and a variety of algae. And the best news is, all of these animals can be touched!
Typically packaging 1 - 2 lessons to accompany the Tidepool Discovery lesson, other popular classes include: Marine Mammals, Sharks and Rays, Hermit Crab Investigations, Water Chemistry, and others upon request.
There is a minimum of 1 hour to schedule.
We recommend 1 hour per class or 30 participants.
If location is more than 10 miles away, travel fee is $0.545/mi.
1 Hour ($450)
2 Hours ($550)
3 Hours ($650)
1 Hour ($500)
2 Hours ($600)
3 Hours ($700)