Classes & Tours

To learn more about TOURS, visit our Exhibits page. 

For questions, further details, or to schedule a program, contact Gabriele Sanchez at gsanchez@ptmsc.org or 360-385-5582 ext 120

Prices are subject to change without notice.
Current rates are guaranteed for the 2017-2018 school year (September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2018) if booked by June 30, 2017.

Introduction to Marine Mammals

Whales, seals, sea lions, and more! The variety of marine mammals in the Salish Sea is extensive. Students define characteristics of mammals, and then further investigate marine mammal adaptations with the assistance of visuals such as photos, videos, bones, and pelts. Working in small groups, participants examine, make observations and sketch multiple marine mammal skulls.

 

Class length: 90 minutes
Grades: 4th to adult
Maximum Group Size: 26 students, 4 chaperones
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Plankton Lab 

This eye-opening class never ceases to please! Plankton, the basis of the marine food web, is explored in this hands-on class. Students collect plankton, use their own microscope to discover the life teeming in a drop of water, identify different types of plankton, and sketch several of the organisms in their sample. Discussions touch on the role of plankton in the marine food web, adaptations, distribution worldwide, and the chemistry of plankton growth in the Salish Sea.

Class length: 90 minutes
Maximum Group Size: 26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones
Grades: 4th to adult
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Introduction to Invertebrates

Often considered the most interesting and colorful creatures in the Salish Sea, invertebrates are the focus in this class. Students explore touch tanks filled with local invertebrates, observing and asking questions about the adaptations and strategies these organisms use for feeding, movement, and protection. Using their observations, students define the basic characteristics of the four major phyla. Creating a detailed scientific drawing is the wrap-up activity for this popular, interactive class.

Class length: 90 minutes
Grades: Kindergarten to adult
Maximum Group Size: 26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Gray Whale

This quiet, beautiful creature, commonly found in the waters of the Salish Sea, is the focus of this fun, interactive class! Students learn about the biology of the gray whale and its adaptations to live in the water as they assemble the complete skeleton of a juvenile gray whale. Students learn about the gray whale’s life cycle, natural history, feeding behavior and migration route north and south along our coast. Older students reflect on functional anatomy and relate the skeletal structure to the animal’s muscular attachments and movements, and if time permits, compare it to an adult, female orca skeleton in our Natural History Exhibit.

Class length: 90 minutes 
Grades: 4th to adult
Maximum Group Size:  26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones  
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Beach Investigation

Explore the wonders of the beach! During this guided exploration, students walk to a nearby beach to investigate the rocky shore at low tide. By turning over rocks or lifting algae, students discover the complicated web of life and compare organisms found low and high on the beach. Making observations of the needs and challenges plants and animals face in this environment and learning why marine creatures live in distinct zones are central in this experience. Students are able to hone their identification skills, and walk away with a greater appreciation for the Salish Sea coastal environment and its inhabitants. This class is dependent on and scheduled to coincide with low tides (call for optimal dates and times).

 

Class length: 90 minutes 
Grades: Kindergarten to adult
Maximum Group Size:  26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones  
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Tails to Scales

You got it! This class is about fish – from tails to scales! Fish in the Salish Sea come in all shapes and sizes, each with specific adaptations for living in different habitats. After learning the basics of fish anatomy, students identify fish in our aquariums using field guides. Differences and similarities between fish species and how adaptations help fish live in varied habitats are considered. Lastly, students create a detailed scientific drawing, labeling the basic anatomy and specific habitat needs of their fish.

 

 

Class length: 90 minutes 
Grades: 3rd to adult
Maximum Group Size:  26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones  
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Crab Lab

While so many of us enjoy consuming crab, few of us know much about this common marine invertebrate! Students observe a variety of local crabs, comparing and contrasting the different characteristics. Using PTMSC touch tanks and aquariums, students embark on a scavenger hunt to find multiple crab species. Students share observations and brainstorm a list of their own questions about crabs. These questions form the basis of a discussion about the biology of crabs. Drawing detailed sketches of a living crab and describing its traits is the final part of this class. 

Class length: 90 minutes 
Grade: 3rd to adult
Maximum Group Size: 26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Birds of Shore and Sea

Fly, walk, swim! They do it all! In this class, students participate in an entertaining simulation of bird adaptations and work with prepared study skins including a glaucous-winged gull, tufted puffin, rhinoceros auklet, and more. Students discover ways these birds are modified to living in the marine environment, both in body design and behavior. Weather permitting, students use binoculars to observe marine birds in the wild.

 
Class length: 90 minutes 
Grade: 4th to adult
Maximum Group Size:  26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones  
Regular Season Cost: $230 (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost: $300 (April 1 - August 31)

Limited availability:

Inquiry into Barnacles

Who would have imagined how interesting this small critter could be? Students observe and describe the behavior of a common, but little-known marine animal, the acorn barnacle. Observations and questions lead to an investigation and experiment of behavioral changes in response to stimuli. Students predict how changing variables will affect barnacle behavior, and test their predictions. Learning about variables, scientific methods, and processes are a part of this class. Students discuss possible explanations for results they see, while learning about the fascinating life of this mysterious animal.

Class length: 90 minutes 
Grades: 3rd to adult
Maximum Group Size:  26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones  
Regular Season Cost: $260* (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost:  $330* (April 1 - August 31)
*lab fee included

Herring Dissection

Look at a fish eye under the microscope, or follow the path from a fish’s mouth to its exit route! Students learn the role and importance of forage fish in the marine food web, specifically the Pacific Herring. The bodily functions of herring are discussed while students examine and make detailed drawings of both the external and internal anatomy. Important internal organs are discussed and located. Microscopes are utilized to observe the fish’s gills, scales, and eyes. Students are encouraged to think about how the organs of this animal work together to meet the needs of this ecologically significant fish.

 

Class length: 90 minutes 
Grade: 4th to adult
Maximum Group Size:  26 students, 4 teachers/chaperones  
Regular Season Cost: $260* (September 1 - March 31) 
Peak Season Cost:  $330* (April 1 - August 31)
*lab fee included