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Live Virtual Field Trips

Is your K–12 class fully virtual? Hybrid? In person? Our virtual visits will work for you!

Please contact us at prior to booking to discuss how our virtual programs can accommodate your current class structure.

This year, we're offering live, interactive online field trip programs for students grades K–12. Our expert and inspired museum educators join your classes for journeys that start in the halls of our own Museum and then magically transport you and your students in space and time to explore the wonders and secrets just beyond our exhibits. What can you and your students expect with these new experiences?

  • We will sail with you out into the Santa Barbara Channel and visit the animals on the islands we see from our shores;
  • We will listen carefully to Chumash stories and songs to learn about Chumash history, traditional ways of life, and how those traditions continue to this day; and
  • We will travel far, far back in time to learn how our lives are intertwined with the long life of Earth.

These are just a few of the journeys that we have prepared for you and your students. We have programs for grade levels K–12, all aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and accessible to a broad range of student backgrounds.

Each program runs for approximately 60 minutes (shorter with kindergarten and first grade programs). The virtual field trips bring students on two unique adventures: a Magical Museum Tour and a Deeper Dive interactive demonstration and class activity (both delivered via Zoom). Each of these two segments is typically 30 minutes long, with a five-minute break. We offer these live online experiences together with specially designed pre- and post-field trip activities to enrich and complement the content and conversations we’ll be having with your class.

Learn more about specific programs by grade level:

» Kindergarten
» 1st grade
» 2nd grade
» 3rd grade
» 4th grade
» 5th grade
» Upper middle and high school


Kindergarten-aligned, grades K–2 appropriate

Waterbear Don’t Care! How animals adapt to live in your backyard and in some of the wildest places on Earth

We’ll visit some familiar and beloved animals to learn how they are adapted to their environments, the foods they eat, and the challenges they face in their daily lives. Then we’ll visit some amazing animals that live in the strangest places on Earth, to see how they have grown and changed to fit just right where they belong.

This field trip is aligned with NGSS standards 2-LS4-1 (Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity) and K (Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Animals, Plants, and Their Environment).

Click here to register >>

Mammal Animals Museum

1st grade-aligned, grades K–2 appropriate

Cuteness Overload! Baby Animals and Their Parents

We look at the life cycles of different animals, observing the traits they may share with their parents and the traits that make them unique. Students learn about the different ways animals grow and survive, with or without their parents’ help.

This field trip is aligned with NGSS standards 1-LS1-2 (Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive) and 1-LS3-1 (Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents).

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Mission Creek Santa Barbara

2nd grade-aligned, grades 2–8 appropriate

The Living Earth, Fast and Slow

We’ll take your class on a trip to the center of the Earth, back in “deep time” to the birth of our home planet, and—after a couple of stops and stories along the way—home again to our own beautiful California shores. Our journey will show us how our Earth and the life that it supports are deeply connected. We’ll talk about ways we can work to keep life and planet in sync for the good of our natural world and our shared future.

This field trip is aligned with NGSS standard 2-ESS1-1 (Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly).

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Chumash Life

3rd grade-aligned, grades 3–8 appropriate

Connecting with the Chumash

Students will be introduced to the stories of the Indigenous people of Central California and learn how they creatively adapted to their environments and used the plentiful natural resources available to survive and thrive thousands of years ago. Students learn about the science of anthropology and become junior anthropologists themselves by inspecting real historical documents and wax cylinder recordings to understand the process of learning about and appreciating the Indigenous people who still live on this land today.

This field trip is aligned with NGSS standard 3-5-ETS1-1 (Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost) as well as History-Social Science Standard 3.2 (Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past. Discuss the ways in which physical geography, including climate, influenced how the local Indian nations adapted to their natural environment, e.g., how they obtained food, clothing, tools).

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4th grade-aligned, grades 4–8 appropriate

Harnessing the Power of the Earth

How do we get from here to there? How do we power this and that? What’s the deal with renewable vs. non-renewable resources? Students will discover the vast number of ways humans utilize raw materials formed by the Earth over many millennia, and how their choices can affect the health of the planet that gives us astonishing amounts of power.

This field trip is aligned with NGSS standard 4-PS3-2 (Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, electric currents) and 4-ESS3-1 (Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment).

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Santa Cruz Island

5th grade-aligned, grades 3–8 appropriate

Biodiversity: It’s Our World to Protect

Take a virtual adventure to Santa Cruz Island, exploring the rich history and unique wildlife found nowhere else on Earth. Trek the island and delve deep underwater to learn how protected areas transform and improve ecosystems.

This field trip is aligned with NGSS standard 5-ESS3-1 (Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.) and 3-5-ETS1-2 (Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem).

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Astronomy Nebula

Upper middle and high school-aligned, grades 7–12 appropriate

The Invisible Universe: Revealing the secret wonders of space with multiwavelength astronomy

Our Astronomy Department will deliver this audio-visual virtual field trip, in which we will discuss and even experience parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Students will remotely tour our Palmer Observatory, learning the main concepts around the electromagnetism spectrum, and get a firsthand look at how different types of radiation are used by astronomers to uncover the secrets of a vast and distant universe.

MS-PS4-1, 2, and 3 and HS-PS4-3, 4 and 5 (Waves and their applications in technologies for information transfer)

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