Family Guide 2023-2024

10 The Best of Monterey Bay® Family 2023-2024 Dionne Ybarra Wheat and a team of researchers started Seafloor Science ROV Summer Camp ( to provide learning experiences that mimic a research ship mission—but in a classroom. Hosted by Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science at Monterey High School, the program offers weeklong camps for students entering grades 3-5 or 6-9. Working in small groups, students explore at least four hands-on modules per day in the areas of robotics, sensor technology, programming, marine geology and ecology. Staff member Claudia Paul hopes students leave the program with the knowledge “that science and engineering are fun, that solving challenging problems is rewarding, that teamwork is essential, and that there is a lot to learn about the deep sea and the ocean floor.” Ventana Wildlife Society (4559514,, known for its work reintroducing California condors to their Central Coast habitats, also provides outdoor youth education. Summer camps for kids from preschool through high school include lots of ocean-themed fun. Wee Ones in the Woods takes campers ages 4-7 on coastal adventures at San Carlos Beach. Kids ages 8-12 dive deeper at Natural Science Discovery Camps, which include ocean activities like whale watching and kayaking. “Educating about the ocean is important to our work with endangered species, as well as fostering the next generation of environmental stewards,” says Education and Outreach Manager Alena Porte. “As outdoor educators, how could we not be motivated to teach about the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary?” The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (648-5716, provides a bright collection of youth programs that cultivate curiosity about science and the natural world, including the coast and ocean. Programs are designed to grow with children as they develop from preschoolers to teens, connecting with nature through games and adventures, and learning to become lifelong conservationists. “Children explore the coastal animals and ecosystems through several of our summer camps and other family Kids taking part in The Wahine Project programs splash in the surf—and it’s all about the surf, with adventures in body boarding to surfing available. “The program is welcoming to diverse youth who otherwise haven’t found a place to fit in,” explains Wahine founder Dionne Ybarra. The nonprofit offers lessons and fun all year long. By the Bay An Aquarium program puts students around— and in—the water. By Dave Faries When students and educators say they would like to dive deeper into a subject, the Monterey Bay Aquarium takes them at their word. The facility offers many programs throughout the year, but Ocean Learning Adventures put young learners in, on and around the water for an opportunity to understand the interdependence of land and sea. Ocean Learning Adventure is a day camp covering a week, during which middle school students (ages 11-13) explore the flow of water from land to sea. And that takes them through many environments. Activities could include boating, snorkeling and more, all under careful supervision. The goal is to encourage children to try new things, but also to give lessons on the connections between rivers, the shore, human activity and the ocean. What makes the program unique is that Ocean Learning Adventures is presented in both English and Spanish (the acronym OLA is the Spanish word for wave), is inclusive of all gender identities and provides transportation from Seaside, Marina and Watsonville. And the five-day-long camps are free. Students are encouraged to apply online and participants are selected by lottery. For more information, call 6484800 or visit montereybayaquarium. org/for-educators. Happy splashing.