School programs are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment only (call 805-927-2145). Lessons focus on the understanding and protection of our natural resources by visiting the Coastal Discovery Center and exploring the beach, the sandy and rocky intertidal, collecting basic oceanography data and plankton, and/or viewing marine wildlife from the San Simeon pier. Programs are led by trained docents or teachers who want to share their passion and knowledge of coastal San Simeon.
Our location 4.5 miles from a major elephant seal rookery makes it possible to combine a visit to the Coastal Discovery Center with a trip to see the elephant seals.
The History of San Simeon Bay is rich in cultural heritage, from the time the native peoples inhabited the area almost 10,000 years ago to the current ownership by the Hearst family and the CA State Park. Join us on San Simeon Pier the first weekend of each month from 11 am to 1 pm to hear about the rich history of San Simeon Bay. Please call 805-927-6575 to make reservations.
Discovery Saturdays Summer Program
**children must be accompanied by an adult**
- Program hours: Saturdays from 11am-1pm
"Beach Exploration" scheduled during low tides, when possible.
- Meet at the Coastal Discovery Center at W.R Hearst State Beach across from Hearst Castle west of Hwy 1.
- To reserve space, call 805-927-6575
- Suggested donation: $2.00/person
PLANKTON CITIZEN SCIENCE PROGRAM (every Saturday of the month, 11a-12noon)
The most amazing creatures in the ocean are sometimes the smallest. Join us at the Coastal Discovery Center to collect oceanographic data from San Simeon Cove, including live plankton. You'll be astonished at the plant and animal community that live in a drop of seawater by using a video-monitor, and will contribute towards CA Department of Public Health's Biotoxin Monitoring Program by collecting valuable data!
Exploring Old San Simeon (1st Saturday of the month, 11a – 12:30p)
The History of San Simeon Bay is rich in cultural heritage, from the time the native peoples inhabited the area almost 10,000 years ago to the current ownership by the Hearst family and the CA State Park. Join us at the Coastal Discovery Center to travel through time as we explore the diverse history and uses of San Simeon Cove.. Presentation will include a short walk to the end of San Simeon pier and back (@ 2,000 feet).
BEACH EXPLORATION (call 805-927-6575 for the low tide Saturday schedule, allow 2 hrs for this activity)
Learn about the mysteries of San Simeon Cove by beachcombing with marine biologists at the Coastal Discovery Center. Scheduled during low tides, we will also explore invertebrate communities that live between the tides, discuss what causes high and low tides and what animals and algae cast on the beach can teach us. Buckets and gloves will be supplied for those who want to help clean up our beach on the way back!
The Coastal Discovery Fair, a popular family event with lots of activities for children of all ages, is held annually on the third Saturday of July. Attending agencies represent at least 20 of our partners in resource protection. Activities include creating and operating your own remote-controlled underwater robot, creating artwork, visiting with live animals and shaking fins with Sammy the Steelhead!
2013 Fair Flyer (188K PDF)