Whether you’re an educator looking to make class more interesting or a parent seeking to spark imagination, find inspiration in the Central Coast California.
From museums and aquariums to national and state parks – docents, guides and rangers are blazing the trail to provide educational content for our youth, with authentic experiences found nowhere else.
CENTRAL COAST MARINE PROTECTED AREAS
Dive into Central Coast Marine Protected Areas, LIVE! MPAs are much like underwater parks. These fascinating underwater worlds are full of surprises and wonder…so let the adventure begin! Students will become community scientists as they explore MPAs with California State Park Interpreter Robin Hazard. Discover how scientists learn about the ocean and marine life through research and monitoring.
Ready for a history lesson? Experience a virtual tour of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley. The tour takes you through the period of history under President Reagan’s presidency via a full video tour online and 360-degree photos. The virtual tour takes you through the outdoor grounds, inside the Reagan Museum, and through the Air Force One Pavilion.
Practicing for a school play? The Young Actor’s Studio at Santa Paula Theater Center is a limited enrollment Zoom acting class for teenagers, ages 13-19. It provides a safe, nurturing, creative space for young actors to explore their craft with authenticity and confidence.
The Santa Paula Art Museum in Ventura County has dubbed its growing collection of free, online resources “Art to the Rescue.” The website includes virtual art exhibitions, virtual school tours, video art project tutorials, and curated links to fun, at-home art activities. Most of the projects incorporate supplies you probably already have on-hand.
While you plan for your in-person visit to Camarillo, whet your palate by engaging in virtual classrooms and recreation. Take a virtual educational art class with Studio Channel Islands, where you’ll tour various rooms of the art gallery from home and see a rotation of exhibitions from worldwide artists.
Science and biology classes just got more interesting with virtual tutoring from Camarillo’s Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Sign up for the program available weekdays.
Enrich your day with a virtual recreational activity from Pleasant Valley Recreation & Park District. Classes include painting fundamentals, painting from photographs, free health classes, on demand sports camps and more. Youth enrichment classes available include SteamLab: Architecture Academy, TechKidz: App Inventor, Marine Biology and more.
Since Oxnard is conveniently located off Highway 101, Visit Oxnard put together an “Oxnard 101” lesson plan, a list of fun and educational travel ideas that everyone in your family will love. Keep yourself from getting rusty in auto shop by taking a tour of Mullin Automotive Museum via their docent series on YouTube.
Join Channel Islands Maritime Museum Kids Crew and download activity sheets including coloring pages, fish drawing tutorials, paper ship models, knot tying lessons and more. Or, major in fine art and see the Amazing Street Murals, Sculptures + Art Galleries in Oxnard.
Aspiring toward a degree in architectural design? California Cool: Midcentury Modern on the Central Coast might serve as the perfect inspiration for a career in the trade. More interested in digging up stories of the past? Explore the 3D space of Albinger Archaeological Museum.
Missing the sea? Ventura Harbor has a variety of ways to keep you connected to the coast. Live stream a sunset overlooking the glistening ocean, tune into a sea-inspired playlist curated for Ventura Harbor visitors, or get creative with a custom coloring sheet of the Harbor promenade. You can also recap live concerts from 2020 and take a digital dive with tours + behind the scenes footage of Ventura Harbor Village businesses.
CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Dive into the sciences with a virtual excursion to the “Galapagos of North America,” Channel Islands National Park. Once there, step it up a notch with an adrenaline rush through a cathedral of kelp forests – the largest in the State of California. Follow a scuba diver live on an underwater adventure.
Channel Islands National Park’s Live Dive program is broadcast from the waters off Anacapa Island. Using two-way communication, the divers describe to students what they are seeing, with a Q&A follow-up.
CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
On a visit to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, students will explore the plants and animals that live and thrive in the cold-water marine environment in this 360° virtual dive. Encounter sea lions and learn about specific adaptations necessary for survival in this habitat.
SANTA BARBARA REGION
Get your little ones into horticulture. The whole family will enjoy learning how to create a succulent pumpkin at home with the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden, located at the west end of Buellton’s beautiful River View Park. Materials needed include: a pumpkin, gourd or squash; an array of succulent cuttings; moss of your choosing; accent pieces; clippers or scissors and fabric (or hot) glue.
SANTA MARIA VALLEY
Bring the incredible world of science and history into your home with daily educational activities. Every day, the Dunes Center posts a new activity that focuses on the world around us, highlighting local biodiversity, history and science experiments. Each of these activities is designed to encourage children to think scientifically and use their imaginations at home. Follow their Facebook and Instagram for updates.
SAN LUIS OBISPO REGION
SAN LUIS OBISPO
“The Search For Santa’s Mouse” is a free activity book, available at Santa’s House in Mission Plaza and at shops around downtown features a charming story and a scavenger hunt with eight clues for kids and families to find together in store fronts as they stroll downtown San Luis Obispo. Each activity book features the opportunity to win an annual membership to the SLO Children’s Museum.
Many different animals and plants call Morro Bay home, including a very special marine mammal, the Southern Sea Otter. Register for an On-Demand PORTS Program geared toward K-6 with Morro Bay State Park Park Interpreters. Learn about marine mammal adaptations and what humans can do to help protect endangered species.
California State Parks, in collaboration with the Central Coast State Parks Association, bring a new type of learning right to your living room called Virtual MindWalks. These free, online presentations feature a variety of subject matter experts covering topics aimed to stretch the minds of the most curious lifelong learner. Follow the Morro Bay State Parks Facebook page to learn about upcoming events: Facebook.com/MorroBayStateParks.
The Foundation at Hearst Castle collaborated with Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument and State Park to expand the STEAM Program at the Castle to a virtual format. Students explore both Hearst Castle and the nearby coast during a multi-day experience. Designed to inspire middle school students from underserved communities, the program includes a STEAM Kit with hands-on activities to accompany the livestream content.
Hearst San Simeon State Park offers a fun and engaging virtual tour all about the northern elephant seal! Join Park Interpreter Monica to learn about this marine mammal’s adaptations and life cycle and discover how humans can have a great impact on them. Depending on the grade level, programs last between 45 minutes to an hour. Suitable for K-6 audiences.
MONTEREY BAY REGION
Music class is in session. Monterey Symphony is bringing live music to your home through its new virtual concert format “Balcony Sessions.” The series features Monterey Symphony musicians performing live 30-minute recitals from its Carmel-by-the-Sea location, iconic theaters, galleries, and beyond. These are online events streamed on the Monterey Symphony Facebook page, YouTube Channel and IGTV and will be available on Roku, Amazon Prime, and IGTV after the live event.
Dates: Live concert on December 24, 2020 at 1 p.m., January 29, 2021 at 4 p.m., February 26, 2021 at 4 p.m., March 26, 2021 at 4 p.m., April 20, 2021 at 4 p.m., May 28, 2021 at 4 p.m., June 25, 2021 at 4 p.m., available for streaming afterwards.
MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM
Educators will love this resource for at-home learning. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering free online courses and family-friendly science activities that encourage a sense of wonder and connection to the natural world while teaching important science concepts. The Aquarium’s education team developed materials to facilitate the exploration of different scientific concepts for students in grades K-12.
Families can also take a virtual field trip and experience the wonder of the ocean no matter where they are by tuning into ten live cams – be delighted by the antics of sea otters or mellow out to the hypnotic drifting of jellies.
Looking for something educational AND entertaining? Check out a virtual “paint party” hosted live on social media by Ignacio “Nacho” Moya, owner of Moya Art Gallery and Studio in downtown Gilroy. He shows viewers of all ages how to create vibrant paintings with subjects ranging from snowmen to Star Wars characters. The classes are free, but donations/tips are appreciated. You can order supplies online or provide your own.
Download or Request a Central Coast Visitors Map here.
To help plan your Central Coast road trip, check out Itineraries here.
Discover all Central Coast Regions here.