Our Coastal Institute science camp program is built around the simple, yet powerful idea that by getting kids away from their devices and into nature, we can spark their natural curiosity.  Curiosity is the basis of science - it is what drives research, exploration, and discovery!  

We’ve designed our program with the goals of awakening curiosity, exploring nature, and creating connections between ideas and between the students themselves.  We encourage students to ask questions and help them find their own answers through hands-on exploration - but we don’t just teach science!  Here at the Coastal Institute, we take a whole child approach.  We facilitate social learning, we require students to keep their electronic devices at home, we offer traditional camp activities such as archery and campfire, and we integrate teambuilding into everything that we do.

Our facility sits on 13 acres of Monterey pine forest surrounded by protected land with fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean.  This unique location, with access to both the forest and the ocean, has allowed us to develop a comprehensive curriculum and set of exciting excursions based around the fascinating ecosystems that make up California’s coastline.  Our lessons are immersive and hands-on and were designed around concepts that are integral to the new Next Generation Science Standards.  During the day, we can take your students kayaking in a local estuary, tide pooling along the coast, or for a hike to the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery.  In the evenings, we will return to camp, where students can explore our 100-gallon marine invertebrate touch tank, meet our live great horned owl and peregrine falcon, or dissect their own squid! 

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  • AWAKENING CURIOSITY - Curiosity is the foundation of science and is a powerful driving force. We believe that all children are naturally curious but that sometimes, that curiosity is stifled. Here at The Coastal Institute, we encourage students to observe, wonder, and ask questions.

  • EXPLORING NATURE - Exploration leads to knowledge. We want students to get their hands dirty, turn over rocks at the tide pools, and use their senses to explore the world around them as they seek answers to the questions that they’ve asked.

  • CREATING CONNECTIONS - When students work together to answer their own questions, powerful connections are formed. We want them to connect what they discover at science camp to the concepts that they learn in school but equally important are the connections that they’ll form with each other along the way.


Our program is customizable to fit the needs of each unique school group.  The program director will work with your school's teachers/principal to create a camp program that will enhance what students are learning in the classroom and provide the most valuable learning experience.


Listed below are some of our lesson and activity offerings.  We are constantly improving our lessons/activities and adding new ones so this list changes often!  

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Daytime Lesson Blocks

These lesson blocks are 3 or 1.5 hours each and cover topics in marine science, forest/earth science, and skill building.   

3 hr Activity Block Options: Tide Pool Exploration, Fiscalini Ranch Nature Hike
1.5 hr Activity Block Options: Marine Lab, Animal Adaptations, Life of Water, Team Building, Target Sports, Forest Ecology, Compass 101, and Nature Art

Student Choice Activity Options (1.5hr): Arts and Crafts, Outdoor Living Skills, Reading in Hammocks, and Rec Sports


Evening Activities

Evening activities are 1.5 hours long and take place after dinner.  Each group will have one evening activity per day.

Options: Squid Dissection, Owl Pellet Dissection (with Earl the Owl!), Night Adaptations, Astronomy, Native Cultures, Crepuscular Avengers Game & Campfire

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Offsite Trips

Offsite trips are free of charge.  Your school must provide transportation there and back. We will provide a full day of exploration, learning, and fun!

Options: Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery & San Simeon Beach Ecology, Morro Bay Estuary Kayaking (additional charge of $15 per person) & Morro Bay Fouling Community Dissection