What times do Discovery Lab & Tour programs start and finish?

Discovery Lab & Tour programs start at 9:00 AM and 10:50 AM and last approximately 100 minutes (Discovery Lab investigations last 60 minutes, followed by 40-minute guided tour and wrap up discussion).

  • Our 9:00 AM program, including the guided tour, concludes by 10:45 AM.
  • The 10:50 AM program, including the tour, concludes by 12:40 PM.

School groups may stay as long as they’d like to explore the Seymour Center exhibit hall and aquaria on their own after their program and tour concludes.

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 9:00 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 9:00 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 enjoy outdoor activities exploring the pathways and interpretive signs around the Seymour Center until 10 a.m., or make arrangements to enjoy the beach at Natural Bridges State Beach, a short drive up the road. You must call Natural Bridges at least two weeks in advance at (831) 423-4609 for information about how to make reservations and obtain free parking passes. Be advised that Natural Bridges has no sheltered areas for eating, etc. Be sure the class is back at the Seymour Center by 10:45 to begin their Discovery Lab.

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?

Two outdoor classrooms with picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These covered, open-air shelters provide some protection from wind, rain, and sun for your class. Your group is welcome to re-enter the visitor hall and aquarium after eating your lunch or snack. Some uncovered picnic tables are also available. In the event of wet/cold weather, be sure to bring activities for students to do in cars/on the bus.

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 and are 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 to improve your chances for premium dates. After the lottery, space is usually available and filled first-come, first-served. Check our list of remaining dates available. 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:

  • Type or 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 spring and fall are most frequently requested. If you can plan your field trip for October, December, January, or February, your chances greatly improve. Also, because 10:50 programs are most requested, applying for 9:00 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 the date of the lottery deadline for inclusion in the lottery. After the lottery, space is filled first-come, first-served. 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 will be emailed 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 1, please call (831) 459-3800.

What if the Seymour 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 $150 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 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.


Visit us during our new hours, Friday–Sunday, 10 AM–4 PM. Members are invited back first during special member days, October 1–3 and 8–10. Plan your visit.

September 19–25, 2021
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