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 each. 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 also explore the Seymour Center exhibit hall and aquaria on their own, for as long as they’d like, after their program.

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 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 wet/cold weather, be sure to bring 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 now have two outdoor classrooms with picnic tables available on a first come, first served basis. These covered shelters provide 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.

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 often 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 Thursday, September 5, 2019, 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.

Days & Hours

Monday to Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM


July 21, 2019
1:30–2:30 PM
Join us for our upcoming Science Sunday, “Nest Watchers: Citizen Scientists Reveal New Information about Peregrine Falcons.”

July 28–August 3, 2018
For a full week, the Seymour Center will celebrate sharks by revealing fascinating facts about these cartilaginous fishes. Shark touching pool open every day!

Now–August 24, 2019
Saturdays, 12–3 PM
Learn more about Monterey Bay, from a vantage point a half-mile out to sea, without ever leaving land!

Booking Now–July 2020
With breathtaking views of Monterey Bay and access to the aquarium, the Seymour Center is the ideal spot for your Santa Cruz ocean view wedding. Inquire today!

Join our volunteer teamJOIN THE VOLUNTEER TEAM!
Interested in learning and sharing marine science and conservation with the next generation? Join the Seymour Center's School Programs volunteer team!

California Environmental Phenomena Summit October 3–4, 2019
Collaborate with local science experts and other educators to deepen your understanding of environmental phenomena.

Apply to be the Volunteer Coordinator / Education Associate. Initial review date for this carreer staff position is July 4.


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