Key to the Sea is a revolutionary marine environmental education program designed for teachers and elementary school children (K-5) throughout Los Angeles County.  Heal the Bay and our Partners educate teachers and students in watershed science and stewardship, stormwater pollution prevention and marine conservation—through free teacher professional development workshops, hands-on classroom activities and beach field trips (fees may apply).

Completing the Key to the Sea Program is as easy as 1-2-3. 




Contact one of the partnering aquariums to book a date and time for a Key to the Sea Field Trip to the beach.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731
For reservations call: 310-548-7562

Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center
P.O. Box 1 Manhattan Beach, CA 90267
For reservations call: 310-379-8117

Heal the Bay Aquarium
1600 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401
For reservations visit:

For more information, please download this PDF.


View a complete list of available 2023-2024 Key to the Sea Workshop dates and times

If you need to take Workshop 2, but the Virtual session on Tuesday, Sept 26, 2023 @ 4pm does not work for you, please fill out this interest form.

Registration for teachers that have completed Workshop 1 and Workshop 2: Veteran Registration


Completing the Evaluation Form is a required part of the Key to the Sea program. Please take a moment to tell us what you thought of the Field Trip experience and using the Curriculum in your classroom.  Select the evaluation link below that matches your last completed workshop. 

2023-2024 program feedback:

  1. Workshop 1 Evaluation Form
  2. Workshop 2 and Veteran Evaluation Form

If you still haven’t completed 2022-2023 feedback: 

If you have questions, ideas or thoughts about Key to the Sea, call 310-393-6149 x200, or contact us below. 


What will we learn? What will students learn? 

Teacher Professional Development: The Key to the Sea program begins with teachers attending a hands-on and engaging workshop designed to familiarize them with the content, activities and logistics of the program. The workshops are a wonderful way to inform the teacher on current environmental issues and provide activities to use in the classroom.

During Workshop 1 (6 hours) for first-year program participants, teachers receive the tools they need to conduct both pre- and post-field trip educational activities in their classrooms and to prepare their students to get the most out of their field trip. This includes a multidisciplinary standards-based curriculum guide and a complete ready-to-use curriculum materials kit.

Second year teachers participate in Workshop 2 (6 hours), which provides more in-depth instruction on organisms, specific adaptations to the sandy beach environment, waves and tides, seafood sustainability, and additional activities.  It includes “make-and-take” teaching tools, like the trash timeline, which teachers make during the workshop and take with them to use back in the classroom.  It also includes a curriculum guide.

Classroom Enrichment: At the Professional Development workshop, teachers receive pre- and post-field trip activities with standards-aligned lesson plans and accompanying materials.  The activities provide classroom enrichment connected to topics addressed within the curriculum units and the California State Science Standards.  Topics include: the Los Angeles area watershed, marine pollution and debris, storm drain and sewer systems, urban runoff, permeability, connections to the sea in everyday living and the ecology of the sandy beach environment. Classroom enrichment reinforces and extends the experience, resulting in meaningful learning for students as well as the teacher.

Field Trip for Kindergarten-5th Grade Classes: The students visit a local marine science center for our outdoor Beach Exploration environmental education program. Led by naturalists trained by Heal the Bay and partnering facilities, children use scientific equipment to explore the beach through fun, hands-on, educational activities. Sites include Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (San Pedro), Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center (Manhattan Beach), and Heal the Bay Aquarium. The Beach Exploration activities are designed to encourage students to use their senses, increase their observation skills and develop their sense of wonder. Children smell the salty air, hear the roaring surf, use binoculars to observe bird behavior, and often see dolphins! They survey the organisms of the “wet zone” and “dry zone” of the beach, dig for sand crabs and bean clams, and examine beach wrack with magnifying lenses. The children see first-hand the marine pollution and debris, learn how it impacts marine life, and make the connections to pollution prevention behaviors.