Book An Aquarium Field Trip

Remember: We will only accept reservations from school and organization officials. If you are a parent or an unofficial coordinator, please have an official representative reach out to book your appointment.

Heal the Bay’s in-person, educational experiences are back! Join us for a 1-hour summer program or our 2-hour full field trip program.

Heal the Bay Aquarium offers one-of-a-kind field trips, and they can be booked online easily.

Our 1-hour summer programs are engaging, in-house lessons which educate students on local Southern California species. The 2-hour program also offers an hour long lesson with an additional hour-long beach component upon request. Additionally, our newly renovated Shark Exhibit has allowed us to convert the Exhibit into a Shark Touch Tank which is a feature of both programs! Of course, Heal the Bay will continue to offer our Virtual Field Trips for distance learners and hybrid schedules through engaging, live-streamed programs and science activities. These STEM-based, 1-hour long sessions align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and maintain a student and nature-centered, interactive, educational experience. Schools and organizations interested in grant funding must have a minimum of 40 students attending their field trip. 

Heal the Bay's education team hosts a virtual event

As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, Heal the Bay is prioritizing the health and safety of our patrons and staff. In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are asking all students, teachers, and chaperones to wear a mask while in the aquarium. While outside on the beach, mask wearing is at your own discretion. Our newest COVID-19 protocol is to follow the mandates for youth settings: 

  • All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a face mask covering both mouth and nose at all times.   
  • Guests will maintain a 6ft distance from others when able and feasible. 
  • Guests will not attend if they are sick with a fever and/or respiratory symptoms. 
  • No food or drink is allowed.   
  • Our staff will wear masks at all times.   
  • Hand sanitizer is available at our exit, and we have restrooms on site for guest convenience and use.   

Teachers, please view our available dates and times, book a field trip reservation, and cancel/reschedule your trip up to 3 weeks in advance of your booked date. If you cannot find a date or time that works, or you have a larger group that needs to be accommodated with multiple reservations, please let us know. You can also now pay online by credit card, or mail a check (made out to Heal the Bay). We also have Title 1 grant stipends available for those groups/classes that need assistance. 

Field Trip Components:

  1. Tank Exploration: interact with local species including those at the touch tanks
  2. Engaging lesson: supports Next Generation Science Standards
  3. Reflection: helps to internalize science concepts discussed during the field trip
  4. (Optional) Beach Exploration: students will gain experience making hands-on, scientific observations right here on Santa Monica Beach. Exclusively offered as a part of our 2-hour in-person programming 

Topics Include:

Habitats: Discover the natural diversity of local marine ecosystems! Together, we will explore four unique ecosystems that exist off the coast of Southern California, while highlighting the adaptations some creatures have developed in order to live there. We also take a look into how humans are connected to the natural spaces around them.

Plants vs Algae:  What’s the difference between plants on land and algae at sea? Join us as we learn how to make scientific observations in order to accurately compare and contrast these organisms. We will also discuss the chemical process of photosynthesis and the major components necessary to carry it out.

Food Webs:  What did you have for breakfast this morning? The answer is probably much different than that of your favorite ocean animal! Join us as we learn about the cycling of matter and energy throughout an ecosystem.

Human Impacts:  Humans are as much a part of nature as nature is a part of them. In this lesson, students discover major impacts humans have had on natural spaces. We will also discuss potential solutions to environmental problems such as pollution, and the steps humans are taking to make these solutions a reality.

Careers in Science:   Have you ever wondered how to turn your passion for science into a career opportunity? Join Heal the Bay educators and staff as we challenge the idea of a “scientist” while illuminating various career paths in STEM.

Coastal Cleanup Education:  How is the trash on your street making it all the way to the ocean? Together, we discuss how watersheds connect your homes with several different ecosystems, including the ocean.

Key to the Sea

Looking for an even deeper dive into environmental education? Consider joining our Key to the Sea program.

In partnership with Cabrillo Teaching Aquarium, USC Sea Grant, and Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center, Heal the Bay is proud to provide our Key to the Sea program! This interactive environmental education program covers a wide range of topics, including our local watersheds, pollution prevention, and marine conservation. This 2-hour program takes place almost entirely outside on the beach, providing the perfect setting for students to explore the sandy beach ecosystem.

Participation in this program requires teachers to attend two FREE professional development workshops over two years, teaching them background knowledge and collaborating on how to use provided classroom activities and curriculum through the lens of environmental stewardship and preservation. Interested in watershed and environmental stewardship curriculum?


Limited grant funding is available for Title 1 schools. If interested, be sure to select “Yes” when prompted as you book your trip. 

Please contact Robert Ramos with any questions or concerns at With advance notice, many of our programs can be customized for your class.