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Learning in the Lab (classes + tours)


DIVE IN! Come explore with The Marine Mammal Center

The Marine Mammal Center is a wonderful field trip destination for students of all ages! Enhance your curriculum with an interactive program in our marine science classroom and/or a school tour of our hospital. Our classroom programs and guided tours focus on the Center's mission and work including topics such as what we feed our patients to how we diagnose diseases. All of our school programs align with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Available Days:

  • School Programs are offered Monday – Friday, typically from 10:00am until 5:00pm
  • The species and amount of patients we have on site change daily. Our busiest patient months are March - June and our slowest patient months are November - February. Please check the Current Patients page of our web site for the most up to date information about our patients.

Group size: 

  • 20 participants (including chaperones) for Preschool and Kindergarten age groups
  • 35 participants (including chaperones) for 1st grade through 12th grade groups 
  • 30 participants (including chaperones) for the Research Discovery Day program

Note around fees: Payment is due one month before your scheduled field trip date (All prices are subject to change without notice.)

Reservation Information:
Read the description of the classroom programs and guided school tours below.

Please note: Colleges interested in taking a program should contact Kristen Ku at or (415) 289-7330.

From fish milkshakes to ocean trash, students learn about how we care for patients at our hospital and how we can all help their ocean home. Simulated rescue and rehabilitation demonstrations bring the Center's animal care functions to life. Students will explore specimens to learn the difference between seals and sea lions. Observing our patients will evoke compassion in students and inspire them to help protect our ocean environment.
45 minutes • $160
Take a journey through the body systems of a marine mammal, while touring the hospital! Students focus on a variety of organs and analyzing actual veterinary test results from our patients. From blood slides to scope exams, student scientists get a real look at how we diagnose disease in these amazing animals.
45 minutes • $160
Learning in the Lab
Through short stories, puppets, animal sounds and dress-up, students learn about a variety of marine mammals (including sea otters, seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales). Observe how your students measure up to life-size rollouts of seals and sea lions! Students will examine specimens such as skulls, pelts and bones while they learn how the Center cares for these animals.
45 minutes • $160
An interactive program highlighting the care patients receive at our hospital. Students will role-play the experience of an animal care crew including: admitting a patient, creating fish milkshakes and participating in fish school! Through these activities, students will gain a better understanding of how similar we are to the patients we care for at the Center.
45 minutes • $160
Through an engaging combination of video clips, short activities, and specimen examination, students explore the behaviors and survival skills of Northern elephant seal pups. Special attention is paid to the relationship between mothers and pups in their wild habitats, as well as how we care for pups at the Center.
45 minutes • $160
What goes in must come out! During this lab, students will sift through dry scat to get an idea of the real science linked to the work we do when diagnosing patients at the Center. Scat from patients tells us what they're eating, where they're getting their food, and an overall look at ocean health. When we look at dried scat from past patients, your student scientists will help inform future patient health!
45 minutes • $160
Learn how you can protect the species that live in California waters. Students use maps and data to create their own marine sanctuary along our coast. Through the process of open discussion, students collaborate by learning about various marine mammal species and their needs, while advocating for best practices to keep them safe.
1 hour • $175
GOT GUTS (6-12)
Grab a pair of gloves and dive into the diet of wild seals and sea lions off the California coast! Through a hands-on dissection, students explore the external and internal anatomy of a fish that we typically feed our patients at the Center. Students will learn the importance of feeding ecology and will gain experience using dissecting tools to investigate.
1 hour • $225
This three-hour long program gives older students an in-depth look at the Center’s marine science research, veterinary care and animal husbandry practices. In a behind-the-scenes tour, students learn to diagnose animals based on blood values and water quality. In the lab, students rotate through five research stations which allow them to examine specimens and x-rays, and practice using tracking technology to gain a better understanding of the work of a marine biologist.
3 hours • $450

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