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 a few of these lessons, students will get an in-depth tour of our aquarium which includes touching a lot of our rocky intertidal species, and touching our sleeping sharks.
The Floating Laboratory is a unique marine sampling experience on San Luis Obispo Bay that successfully transforms your students into young marine scientists. The trip starts with an introduction into the rich cultural and natural history of the area. Next, students set and pull a bottom trawl net to capture the fish and invertebrates that live in the bay. The captured animals are then sorted, identified, and counted by students and the collected data becomes part of our monitoring dataset. After collecting all of the data, we release them back to their home.
To better understand the food web in the bay and the water quality conditions that the animals experience, students use various oceanographic sampling equipment to collect plankton and measure the water chemistry. Throughout the trip the students are able to take in the sights and sounds of marine mammals and birds in their natural environment.
The remainder of the program takes place at our aquarium facility, during which, the students will view and discuss the species of plankton caught on the boat with an emphasis on the role they play in the marine food web. The students also dissect squid and learn about the adaptations that make them a successful predator of the sea.
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
Tidepools on Tour is a new program offered by the Central Coast Aquarium. With our new mobile aquarium tanks, we can bring our live animals to you! We provide formal presentations and informal programs. During this hands-on lesson, participants learn about the tidepool habitat, the animals found there and how they survive in this ever-changing environment. The types of animals we typically bring are: hermit crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea anemones, gumboot chitons, keyhole limpets, sea snails, mussels, scallops, decorator crabs, and a variety of algae. All of these animals can be touched.
Typically we bring 1 or 2 lessons to accompany the Tidepool Discovery lesson. Other lessons we can provide are: Marine mammals, Sharks and Rays, Plankton, Hermit Crab Investigations, Water Chemistry, and others upon request.
There is a minimum of 1 Hour to purchase.
We recommend 1 hour per class or 30 participants.
If location is more than 10 miles away, travel fee is $0.54/mi.
1 Hour ($450)
2 Hours ($550)
3 Hours ($650)
1 Hour ($500)
2 Hours ($600)
3 Hours ($700)