Museum open Wed–Mon, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM. Sea Center on Stearns Wharf open daily, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM.

Field Trips at the Museum

Registration for fall 2022 field trips is now open

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Booking for winter and spring 2023 will open on November 2, 2022.

We are delighted to offer a variety of options for school field trips, designed for grades K–12. Field trips at the Museum include:

  • A Museum Mystery Tour and 
  • A choice of one (1) natural science program:

(Our longer-format fifth-grade astronomy program is an exception. See below for details.)

All field trips include a break in our Prehistoric Forest, where students can stretch their legs and meet some dinosaurs.

Jump to Field Trip Health and Safety Information

See below for details of our field trips, contact us at bookings@sbnature2.org with questions. 

Field trips at the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf are also available.

Menu of Field Trip Programs

Note: All field trips are aligned with specific NGSS grade-specific standards, but can be adjusted to work for a range of grade levels. Please contact bookings@sbnature2.org for details or to have a program adjusted for your class.

Kindergarten

Museum Mystery Tour – Who Lives Where?

NGSS: K-ESS3-1
Students interact with their peers and our Museum educators as they explore our galleries to help solve the mystery of where animals make their homes in the ocean, in the forest, underground, and high up in the trees.

Museum Backyard Program – Home, Sweet Habitat

NGSS: K-LS1-1, K-ESS3-1
Students learn the basic needs of animals and how animals meet those needs in their habitats. They learn what animals can commonly be found in the Museum's oak woodland habitat where we have our Backyard area. They explore this habitat and make observations about how the animals there get what they need from their environments. Then they have the chance to test and apply what they’ve learned by taking the role of these plants and critters and making sure they find the right home for them!

Astronomy Program – Max Goes to the Moon

NGSS: 1-ESS1-1, 1-ESS1-2
Full-dome planetarium show followed by a presentation in the Space Sciences exhibits. Students learn about the motion of the Earth around the Sun, the relationship between Earth’s rotation and the cycles of day and night, and why we see the phases of the Moon. They also hear stories about how space scientists—astronomers and astronauts—work to learn the secrets of our planet and our Moon.

Book tie-in, Max Goes to the Moon by Jeffrey Bennett

First Grade

Museum Mystery Tour – How Do They Do That?

NGSS: 1-LS1-1
Students work with their teachers, peers and their Museum Educator guide to discover the variety of traits animals use to succeed where they live. They find out how these traits help animals be winners in a rough-and-tumble wild world, and what humans can learn from these amazing adaptations.

Lab – Meet the Teeth!

NGSS: 1-LS1-1
What do teeth tell us about what an animal can eat? In this interactive program, students get up close and personal with some familiar wild animals (safely stuffed), and hands-on with animal skulls. Students learn to distinguish between herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.

Museum Backyard Program – Powerful & Precious: Parents with Paws

NGSS: 1-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2
Students get to learn about animal families that make their homes in our Museum oak woodland habitat. They see how differences in babies’ bodies and behaviors from their animal grown-ups can help with their survival. They learn about helpful animal parent behavior as well, and then apply what they’ve learned from animal parents and their offspring to help keep animal families together, safe and sound!

Astronomy Program – Max Goes to the Moon

NGSS: 1-ESS1-1, 1-ESS1-2
Full-dome planetarium show followed by a presentation in the Space Sciences exhibits. Students learn about the motion of the Earth around the Sun, the relationship between Earth’s rotation and the cycles of day and night, and why we see the phases of the Moon. They also hear stories about how space scientists—astronomers and astronauts—work to learn the secrets of our planet and our Moon.

Book tie-in, Max Goes to the Moon by Jeffrey Bennett

Second Grade

Museum Mystery Tour – The Many, The Different, The Mighty: How Biodiversity Makes Ecosystems Strong

NGSS: 2-LS4-1
In each ecosystem, there are unique and sometimes surprising connections that plants and animals share that form a vibrant, living web. Students explore Museum galleries to find the mighty teams of plants and animals that live together, intertwined for the good of all.

Lab – GeOdyssey!

NGSS: 2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-2
Students travel way back in time, deep into the center of the Earth, and back home to the unique landforms of Central Coast California to explore the magnificent processes that shape our world. This program highlights the extraordinary geologic history of our Santa Barbara coast, watershed, and mountains, and how humans are making our mark on this precious part of the world.

Museum Backyard Program – Biodiversity: Everyone's Invited!

NGSS: 2-LS4-1
Students learn that there is great biodiversity across different habitats, and within single habitats, as well. They learn that biodiversity makes our world both stronger and more interesting, and explore our mulch pile to observe firsthand the great biodiversity to be found in smaller spheres. Then, students apply what they have learned in a strategic game, working to maintain a strong ecosystem when biodiversity is threatened.

Astronomy Program – Earth’s Wild Ride

NGSS: 2-ESS1-1
This program starts with a full-dome planetarium show where students discover what a solar eclipse is and how it would look from the Moon, as well as how the Earth’s features such as mountains, rivers, and oceans have changed in many ways over its long, long history. After the planetarium show, students will head to the Space Sciences exhibits to learn how space rocks—meteorites—can help tell the story of our solar system’s origins.

Third Grade

Museum Mystery Tour – Survivors: Awesome Animal Adaptations for a Wild World

NGSS: 3-LS4-2
Plants and animals have superpowers! When faced with environmental challenges, living things begin to make the most of the small changes in their bodies and behaviors that occur over many generations. Over time, these small changes can result in incredibly “smart” ways to be strong, healthy, and successful in a wide variety of environments. On this tour, students explore our galleries to discover the ways that unique animal traits help them survive and thrive in the habitats they call home.

Class – Connecting with the Chumash

History-Social Science Standards 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2
This class is an introduction to some of the important aspects of traditional Chumash culture, using Museum artifacts and replicas to bring students closer to features of customary daily life before the arrival of Europeans. This interactive, hands-on program allows students to see and touch representative items from Chumash traditional life such as baskets, a model tomol, and replica rock art. Students will learn about some of the natural resources found in the local area that are central to Chumash heritage practices, and they will hear the voice of a Chumash storyteller, remembering that the best way to “study” about other cultures is to listen to the people themselves.

Museum Backyard Program – Habitat Acrobats

NGSS: 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3
Animals have to look, move, and make their homes in very specific ways to live and thrive in different places. Students have the opportunity to explore a creek habitat and oak woodland habitat in our Backyard to see how animals make the most of their home territory. Students get up close and personal with plants and animals in and around Mission Creek, around our Backyard oak woodland, and in our lively mulch pile. They compare and contrast between the resources available in these habitats, and learn how living things can survive even in tough circumstances, such as drought.

Astronomy Program – Sky Tellers

NGSS: 3-ESS2-1, History-Social Science Standards: 3.2.1, 4.2.1
In a full-dome planetarium show, students see and hear several Native American myths and legends investigating the reasons for day and night, why we have seasons, the origin of the stars and other wondrous phenomena of our night sky. Each narrative is accompanied by the story that scientists tell today. Students explore these topics further in the Space Sciences exhibits.

Fourth Grade

Museum Mystery Tour – Beautiful Inside and Out

NGSS: 4-LS1-1
On this tour, students will search the Museum for evidence of the “hidden” aspects of plants and animals that help them live well in their habitats. Students work together to find and identify animal traits—some on the outside, some inside—that help them survive, eat well, and reproduce in their natural environments.

Lab – Dinosaur CSI (Crime Scene Investigation!)

NGSS: 4-ESS1-1
Students get their hands dirty as they examine the scene of a mystery preserved in ancient sand and stone. As junior paleontologists, they learn about how fossils are formed, discuss the evolutionary stories that fossils can tell, and participate in a hands-on mini-dig of their very own.

Museum Backyard Program – The Weight of Water

NGSS: 4-ESS2-1, 4-LS1-1
Erosion is a force that can flatten mountains and carve canyons, but does erosion affect Mission Creek and the living things that call it home? Students learn about erosion’s effects on the ancient creek bed behind the Museum, from thousands of years ago until today. They will connect the shape and history of the creek with the lives of plants and animals that live there, and how those living things might be affected by the action of water over time-- or drought. We will use models to understand causes and rates of erosion, and then head into the creek bed to explore firsthand how plants and animals face challenges to survive in unpredictable habitats.

Astronomy Program – Sky Tellers

NGSS: 3-ESS2-1, History-Social Science Standards: 3.2.1, 4.2.1
In a full-dome planetarium show, students see and hear several Native American myths and legends investigating the reasons for day and night, why we have seasons, the origin of the stars, and other wondrous phenomena of our night sky. Each narrative is accompanied by the story that scientists tell today. Students explore these topics further in the Space Sciences exhibits.

Fifth Grade

Museum Mystery Tour – Keeping It All in Balance: Forces Affecting the Food Webs

NGSS: 5-PS3-1
All living things are connected, and precious but fragile living communities are essential to the health of everything that lives within them—and across the planet. Students will explore the different animal groups and ecosystems in our Museum to find how energy connects the lives of plants and animals in various habitats, and they will learn how breaking these connections by losing a single member of an ecosystem can threaten the whole community.

Astronomy Program – AstronoMonday

NGSS: 5-ESS1-2

NOTE: This is a two-hour dedicated astronomy program held only on Mondays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon. This program does not include a Museum Mystery Tour.

This program includes a full-dome planetarium show about the Earth, Moon, Sun system and how it has influenced life on Earth. Learn about tides, the phases of the Moon, seasons, and eclipses. Use kinesthetic modeling to learn more about seasons and seasonal constellations, day and night, and the motions in the sky of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets. In our Palmer Observatory, students get an up-close-and-personal look at our powerful telescopes and, weather permitting, a (safe) live look at the surface of the Sun.

Museum Backyard Program – Small but Mighty: Dependable Decomposers in the Web of Life

NGSS: 5-LS2-1
Students learn about the essential function of all living organisms within an ecosystem by modeling a food web within an oak woodland. They get a chance to understand more about producers, consumers, and decomposers within this food web and discover what happens when a section of the food web is compromised. Students delve deeper into the important role of decomposers within an ecosystem in the past, present, and future—and meet these mighty miniatures in person where they live!

Field Trip Health and Safety Information

The health and safety of the children and adults who join us for field trips is extremely important to us. For the 2022–23 program year, we are continuing to take the following steps in response to the continuing presence of COVID-19 in our communities:

  • The Museum hosts no more than two (2) school groups at a time. These groups can be kept physically separate while they enjoy their field trip experience with us, which can be arranged with our bookings coordinator. 
  • Masks are required for all children and adults on school visits while indoors at the Museum. Masks are optional outdoors. 
  • All Museum staff and volunteers working with students are vaccinated against COVID-19. 
  • Labs, classes, and Backyard experiences are all held in outdoor areas, barring inclement weather. 
  • Only one class group will be in the Museum halls, the planetarium, or the observatory at a time. 

If you have any questions or concerns about safety while your group is here, please reach out anytime to School and Teacher Services Manager Charlotte Zeamer, Ph.D. (czeamer@sbnature2.org).