Why a lottery for Discovery Labs?
During spring months, more teachers request Discovery Labs than we can provide. A lottery is the most fair and efficient way to make Discovery Lab reservations. After the lottery, some openings are usually available for winter months, filled first come, first served.
Do I need to apply for the lottery?
It depends on the type of visit. If applying for a Discovery Lab & Tour, turn in your application by the lottery deadline (Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by 5 p.m.) to improve your chances for premium dates. After the lottery, space is filled first come, first serve. Check our Field Trip Calendar for available dates. To schedule a Reserved School Tour or Self-guided Exhibit Exploration, no need to apply for the lottery as they are scheduled by phone.
Can I do anything to improve our chances for the lottery?
While preparing your application, be sure to:
- Print neatly in black or blue ink. No pencil, please.
- Carefully follow all instructions and complete all portions of the application.
- Include payment information with each application. Do NOT send cash.
- If applying for more than one program, you MUST provide a separate application and separate payment information for each program.
- Request a wide variety of dates and times. Dates in May, April, and March are most frequently requested. If you can plan your field trip for December, January, or February, your chances greatly improve. Also, because 10:50 time slots are most requested, applying for 8:50 start times improves your chances.
- Double check that all dates you request DEFINITELY work with your school calendar and transportation arrangements. It is usually NOT possible to change your field trip date after lottery assignments.
- Mail in your application ASAP. We must RECEIVE applications no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 for inclusion in the lottery. After the lottery, space is filled first come, first serve. Please remember we do not accept applications by fax, phone, or e-mail.
When will I find out the results of the lottery and receive a receipt?
Applicants receive confirmation packets and receipts in late September. Teachers scheduled for October Discovery Labs will be notified by phone in mid-September to allow adequate planning time. If you have not received a confirmation letter by October 4, 2013 please call (831) 459-3800.
What if the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is unable to schedule a Discovery Lab & Tour on any of the dates I requested?
We will contact you, giving you first choice for any dates and times still available. Be sure to respond immediately, as remaining slots fill quickly on a first come, first served basis.
Will I be charged the $100 fee if none of the dates work for me?
No. If we are unable to schedule you for your submitted dates and times, you will not be charged.
What if more than one class from my school wants to schedule a Discovery Lab & Tour? Do we need to fill out separate applications for each class?
Yes. We need separate applications and payment information for each program. If two classes would like to visit on the same day, staple the two applications together and write a note indicating you must attend on the same day. Realize that this provides less flexibility in our scheduling and may reduce your chances of receiving your preferred date. We remind you that no more than 32 students may attend each program, and that we hold one program at 8:50 and one at 10:50.
If two classes are coming on the same day in one bus, what can the 10:50 class do while the 8:50 class is in session?
The exhibit hall does not open until 10 a.m., so we recommend that the class scheduled for the 10:50 program make arrangements to enjoy the beach at Natural Bridges State Beach, a short drive up the road. You must call Natural Bridges a minimum of two weeks in advance at (831) 423-4609, to make reservations (for picnic tables, tidepool tours, monarch grove tours) and obtain free parking passes. Be advised that Natural Bridges has no sheltered areas. In the event of poor weather, be sure to bring games/activities for students to do in cars/on the bus. Be sure the class is back at the Seymour Center by 10:45.
If my class is scheduled for a 10:50 Discovery Lab, may we arrive at 10:00 a.m. and explore the exhibit hall prior to our program?
Yes, you are welcome to arrive at 10 a.m. for exploration time, however please call to let us know you are coming early. Upon arrival, a staff member will greet your class and collect your signed Behavior Contract (included in your confirmation packet). After the greeting we ask that you divide your students into small groups, accompanied by a chaperone, to explore the exhibit hall and aquaria.
Can we eat lunch and snacks at the Seymour Center?
We have several outdoor picnic tables for school groups to enjoy on a first come, first served basis. Your group may re-enter the Seymour Center to view the exhibits after eating. No sheltered eating areas are available in the event of poor weather, so please make a back-up plan.
What if the lottery has already happened? Am I too late to book a Discovery Lab for this year?
After processing all lottery applications in September, we reopen the application process for Discovery Labs. Please see Discovery Labs Scheduling for more information.
Is there a way to bring my students to the Seymour Center if my class has more than 32 students or the remaining dates/times for Discovery Labs do not work with my schedule?
Yes! Teachers can schedule Reserved School Tours or bring groups on Self-guided Exhibit Explorations of the Seymour Center’s exhibit hall, aquarium, blue whale skeleton, elephant seal sculptures, and gray whale skeleton.