Field Trips on the Marine Science Floating Lab

For schools in Southern California, field trips are offered to 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students on the Marine Science Floating Lab, which has been operating since 1974 through the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) in both Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors.

Each year, we strive to fund as many field trips as possible, especially to disadvantaged schools and students who otherwise may not have this opportunity.

Floating Lab

Floating Lab Boat Trip

The Floating Lab is a unique on-the-water experience that allows all students to get “up close and personal” with the environment and ecosystems along the coast and in the water. During a 3-hour trip through the Los Angeles or Long Beach Harbor, students rotate from station to station to participate in hands-on activities, record data, and analyze their findings—like real scientists.

Activities include:

  • pull in a trawl net and examine and learn about the fish, invertebrates, and other life beneath the surface of the water
  • collect and examine plankton using a plankton net and an optical microscope
  • “grab” and inspect bottom sediment using an Ekman dredge
  • test water for clarity, color, and temperature
  • observe and record wildlife – pelagic birds, harbor seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales

Bus Transportation

For those classes that receive funding for the field trip, reimbursement can be provided for bus transportation to the Floating Lab site.


To find out about booking a field trip on the Floating Lab, contact:

Los Angeles County Office of Education
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Prior to the field trip, teachers will receive:

  • general trip information
  • pre-trip preparation for teachers and students
  • overview of onboard activities