Heal the Bay Aquarium Science Camp

Summer Science Camp 2024: An Ocean Safari

June 24– July 26; Grades: K-8, Price: $400/week, $85/day

Sea otters, reef sharks, polar bears – oh my! The ocean is as varied as it is vast, and we can explore it all together! Join us as we embark on an epic journey around the world, learning about several distinct ocean ecosystems and the animals that live there. From learning about breaching whales and tiny shrimp to comparing playful penguins to mysterious narwhals – your camper’s thirst for adventure will be satisfied. Finally, each week will end with discussions on the impacts humans have had on the chosen ecosystem of that week and the ways your camper can make a difference and protect our oceans. Discover the thrills and spills of life under the sea this summer. Join now – adventure awaits! 

**Daily activities are subject to timing and weather conditions 

Week 1 – Open Ocean: From Tiny Plankton to Giant Whales 

  • (K-2 GRADE) 
  • The Open Ocean is a huge, featureless body of water with a multitude of creatures, large and small, living in its depths. For a long time, the ocean and its creatures have been a mystery to scientists – until now! On the first leg of our adventure, we will investigate and discuss the creatures that call this place home. How do they travel such vast distances, and how do their bodies help them survive? Is every creature in the ocean a fish, or are there other animals occupying these communities? Join us at our first stop on our Ocean Safari, the Open Ocean! 

What To Expect: Daily Topics 

  • Show Some Backbone! – Invertebrate VS Vertebrate Movement 
  • The Food Chain – Energetic Building Blocks of the Sea 
  • Ocean Zones – A “Layered” Discussion on Habitats 
  • Watch Where You’re Squawking! – Marine Bird Migration  
  • Human Impacts – The Power to Create Change 

Activities: (included but not limited to)  

  • Marine Movers Workshop – Beach Yoga and Mindfulness in Nature 
  • Red Fish, Green Fish Game – (Red Light, Green Light) 
  • Jellyfish Craft 
  • VR Open Ocean Video Viewing 
  • And More! 


Week 2 – Frozen Ocean: Glacial Impacts  

  • (3-5 GRADE; SHORT WEEK) 
  • The weather outside is frightful, and things aren’t any better under the sea. Brr! – you’d better bundle up as we dive into a Frozen Ocean. The freezing seas located at our poles host a variety of tough, resourceful animals that we are more connected to than one would think! The preservation of our polar ice caps and the animals that live there is essential for human survival as well. Together, we investigate our connection to these frosty fish and learn just exactly how ocean animals survive in these icy waters without freezing their fins off!  

What To Expect: Daily Topics 

  • Iconic Animals of the Poles – Narwhals, Polar Bears & Penguins  
  • Glacial Impacts – Ice and its Effect on Weather Formation 
  • Human Impacts – Climate Change and Your Personal Power 

Activities: (included but not limited to) 

  • Animal Pelt Investigation 
  • Upwelling Experiment 
  • Cotton Ball Blubber Activity 
  • Wave Energy Demonstration 
  • And More! 


Week 3 – Coral Reefs: Symbiosis and Competition 

  • (6-8 GRADE) 
  • They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but why can’t we all just get along? On this leg of our safari, we will investigate the complex relationships between animals that call the Coral Reef ecosystem home. From strange hybrid creatures to unexpected besties and bitter rivals, this huge cast of unique characters plays out their epic dramas each day – and we get a front-row seat! Grab your popcorn and settle in, we’ve just gotten to the good part!

What To Expect: Daily Topics 

  • Corals – Are They an Animal or a Plant? 
  • Unexpected Besties – Exploring Symbiosis and its Benefits 
  • Bitter Rivals – Competition for Resources on the Reef 
  • Biodiversity – A Kaleidoscope of Plants & Animals 
  • Human Impacts – Bleach Laundry, Not Corals! 

Activities: (included but not limited to) 

  • Symbiosis Balloon Relay Race 
  • Water Quality Testing Activity 
  • Sun Paper Print Craft 
  • VR Coral Reef Visit 
  • And More! 


Week 4 – Kelp Forests: Productivity 

  • (K-2 GRADE) 
  • On the next leg of our safari, we visit our fun and fluffy sea otter friends who make their homes in Kelp Forests. Though they may seem carefree, sea otters and other residents of the Kelp Forest habitat have to deal with various challenges to survive here and do so in some unexpected ways. There is a rhythm to life in the kelp forest, you just have to listen to the call of the ocean to dance, and navigate, in these waters. Discover the majesty and treachery at work this week as we investigate the Kelp Forest habitat. 

What To Expect: Daily Topics 

  • Algae, Algae, Everywhere – Kelp Forest Productivity 
  • Don’t Tread on Me! – Defensive Adaptations in the Kelp Forest 
  • Name That Tune! – Navigating Our Ocean with Sound 
  • Grow, Baby, Grow! – The Productivity of Kelp 
  • Human Impacts – From Summit to Sea 

Activities: (included but not limited to) 

  • Algae Press Activity 
  • Sea Otter Puppet Craft 
  • Plankton Poetry Slam 
  • Sea Urchin Paint Craft 
  • And More! 


Week 5 – Deep Sea: Survival in the Dark 

  • (3-5 GRADE) 
  • What mysteries lie beneath the murky depths? How do the creatures that live in this darkness deal with the crushing pressures of everyday life? Stay close, and grab your flashlights as we are about to enter a place where barely any light can penetrate: the Deep Sea. From exaggerated physical mutations to internal light production, the creatures of the deep have developed the most bizarre ways to deal with the most extreme conditions and survive! Come join us on the dark side if you dare! 

What To Expect: Daily Topics 

  • Whale Fall Paradise – Scavengers of the Deep 
  • A Light in the Darkness – Bioluminescence and Survival 
  • Chemosynthesis – Hydrothermal Vents and Early Life 
  • Extreme Bodies – Goblin Sharks & Gulper Eels 
  • Human Impacts – Touching the Deepest Ocean 

Activities: (included but not limited to) 

  • Biofluorescence Tour 
  • Hagfish Slime Craft 
  • Hydrothermal Vent Experiment 
  • Plankton Tow 
  • And More!  


Camp Registration Now Open!


Our Camp is designed for students entering grades K-8 in Fall 2024 (or aged 5-14), highlighting a different ocean environment each week. The weeks are also geared toward specific age ranges, which have been labeled beside each week below. For campers enrolled in several days and/or a full camp week, Camp Kits and T-shirts will be handed out on your camper’s final day of camp each week. Adventure awaits – sign up now!  


$400 per week

$85 per day

*SHORT WEEK*: $250

**Daily sessions are available à la carte for $85 per day, or the full 5-day week for the reduced price of $400. The week of July 4 will be a short week, and we offer a reduced price for this week of $250.


Week 1: June 24 – June 28 (Grades K-2)

Week 2: July 1 – July 3 (SHORT WEEK) (Grades 3-5)

Week 3: July 8 – July 12 (Grades 6-8)

Week 4: July 15 – July 19 (Grades K-2)

Week 5: July 22 – July 26 (Grades 3-5)


Heal the Bay’s Counselor-In-Training (CIT) Program, which will run simultaneously with our 2024 Summer Science Camp, is an opportunity for students who have aged out of camp to continue to participate while also gaining valuable experience in hands-on outdoor field education, working with children, and increasing their overall ocean literacy. Our CIT program will run from (June 17 – August 2, 2024). While at camp, CITs will experience and learn about marine life while executing some, but not all, responsibilities associated with a camp counselor position. If you would like your child to participate as a CIT for Heal the Bay’s 2024 Summer Science Camp, please click the link below to access the 2024 CIT Program Application.

Please read through and fill out the application in its entirety, and email to Robert Ramos at rramos@healthebay.org by May 31, 2024. Instructions on how to apply are also provided below. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed or accepted. This is a rolling acceptance opportunity.


Eligible Candidates Are:

· High School-level students (14-18 years old)

· Interested in Education or Marine Science

· Interested in earning volunteer hours

· Preferably someone with experience working with children (not required)

CIT Expectations:

1. Be committed to at least one week of camp, Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 2:30pm.

2. Respect and respond to instructions from Education Manager, Education Associates, Summer Camp Counselor Interns and other staff involved with the Heal the Bay Aquarium.

3. Participate fully in all camp activities including crafts, experiments, games, lessons, beach exploration, and cleanups. As a leader, we expect you to engage and encourage campers at all times.

4. Act as a leader and take initiative to complete all daily tasks, including asking for support when needed.

5. Work with Camp Staff daily helping with set-up, clean-up, and maintaining a safe learning environment within our Aquarium.

6. Be a positive role model for younger campers by being respectful, using appropriate language and modeling good behaviors.

7. If you need to leave camp early for any reason, notify the Education Staff as soon as possible, ideally prior to the day of. If you are sick, please call

in as soon as possible before your shift starts. If you have an emergency while working, notify the Education Staff immediately.

8. Socialization with other counselors should be limited to appropriate times, not during camp activities – text messaging or using a phone is not permitted during camp hours unless on a break or there is an emergency.

9. Attend a day-long training session with the Summer Camp team during the week of June 17-21, 2024, ideally on Monday, June 17, 2024.

10. Smile and have fun!

How to Apply:

If you would like to participate as a CIT for Heal the Bay’s 2024 Summer Science Camp, please read through and fill out the 2024 CIT Application in its entirety, and email to Robert Ramos at rramos@healthebay.org by May 31, 2024. This is a rolling acceptance opportunity.


For cancellations made prior to 2 weeks before the start of your registered camp session, the camp fee can be refunded, less a $50 administration fee. Cancellations made within 2 weeks before the start of your registered camp session are non-refundable. 


Please download and fill out all Camp Forms before arriving at Science Camp.


Thanks to the generosity of community partners, we have a limited number of camp scholarships available. If you need partial or full financial assistance for your child to attend camp, please fill out the application in the registration above after reading our Camp Scholarship and Eligibility Application. Applications will be accepted until May 31st, and Summer Camp runs from June 24 – August 2.


See our Camp FAQs. For any other questions, please contact Robert Ramos at rramos@healthebay.org


Learn More about Aquarium Camp Experiences!

WATCH our Spectrum 1 Heal the Bay Aquarium Science Camp SPOTLIGHT.

“A 2020 study published in the American Educational Research Journal found that 52% of students in first to sixth grade, over five summers, experienced learning loss and lost an average of 39% of subjects learned during the school year.” (Spectrum News 1)




Guests enjoying the touch tanks at Heal the Bay Aquarium READ about how Science Camp helps students become “burgeoning ecosystem stewards” (Santa Monica Daily Press). 

 “I try to speak to [the campers] in a way that inspires them, that makes them want to care about the environment … it’s about caring about the place we exist in and inspire them to want to take care of it.” – Robert Ramos, Heal the Bay Aquarium Education Manager

DSC_2109 IMG_0687 healthebay-aquarium-camp DSC_0439 explore-the-beach-2 DSC_1083 DSC_1022 DSC_1095 DSC_0940 5758C406-9866-441F-AAA8-A33214FF058C_1_105_c.jpeg