Living Coast Discovery Center

Living Coast Discover Center

Coastal Education Program at the Living Coast Discovery Center

Karen Quirós
[email protected], (619) 476-7836


The Chula Vista Elementary School District funds a full-time Science Resource Teacher, Karen Quirós, who works closely with the Living Coast Discovery Center staff to provide K-8 Coastal Education Programs at the Living Coast Discovery Center. This partnership was established to provide standards-based, hands-on science classes to schools throughout the district since the Center opened in 1987!

Coastal Education Program Descriptions

All programs offered are standards- based for Kindergarten- Eighth graders. They are aligned with the Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and the previous CA State Science Standards. Programs for Preschoolers and Kindergartners are either 1.5-3 hours long, programs for 1st-3rd graders can be 2-4 hours long and programs for 4th- 8th graders are 4 hours long. The Coastal Education Program can take up to 38 students per program. The primary grades may bring up to 3 classes on one day and secondary classes can bring one class per day. There are 24+ different programs available for grades Kindergarten- 8th. For programs and descriptions please click here.

Program Structure:diverse group of kids on hiking  trail

A study trip to the Living Coast involves a focused instructional time with the Science Resource teacher and a guided tour with a Discovery Center Docent. The tour of the Living Coast includes Turtle Lagoon, Raptor Row, Eagle Mesa, the Shorebird Aviary and time to touch animals in the Shark and Ray Experience.

Registration Procedure:

NEW convenient online registration now available!! You can go to or click REGISTER.

Your login is your school name as all one word with the first letter capitalized. For detailed instructions on how to register online, please click here.

There are two Registration Sessions each year; one in the beginning of the school year for classes wanting to attend during the Fall Session and one in November for classes wanting to attend during the Winter/Spring Session.

Reservation Sessions 2019-2020 School Year

Fall Coastal Education Programs: August 1st - January 24th

Registration Session 1: July 19th – July 31st    

Lottery: All Classes that register during session, Cut off is 11:59pm July 31st


Winter/Spring Coastal Education Programs: January 27th - June 3rd   

Registration Session: November 4th -13th  

Lottery: All Classes that register during session, Cut off is 11:59pm November 13th

Admission Costs:
$4/student, $12/adults (Teachers are free!)

 Thank You Port of San Diego!                


The Chula Vista Elementary School District was awarded $68,800 by the Port of San Diego for its Coastal Education Program, located at the Living Coast Discovery Center. Following very successful periods of funding the Port's Environmental Advisory Committee has a awarded another 5 years of funding that will allow students to have access to a Coastal Education Program. The largest obstacle for teachers planning a study trip is the high cost of transportation. The funding from the Port eliminates this obstacle and allows equal access for all students in the CVESD to participate in this highly valuable experience. Thank you Port of San Diego!

Since January 2010, funding from the Port of San Diego has made it possible for more than 22,000 students from almost 800 classes to attend a Coastal Education Program at the Living Coast Discovery Center.  A major obstacle for teachers is the cost of transportation.  The funding from the Port eliminates this barrier, which makes the program more accessible to all Chula Vista Elementary students.  During the next five years, the funding from the Port will allow about 20,800 more local students and about 2,400 chaperoning adults access to environmental education that focuses on storm water and watershed awareness, pollution prevention, and waste reduction.

“The total population of students served has increased every year that the Port has provided funding.  By the end of this five-year funding period, the Port will have played a direct role for more than 40,000 students learning what they can do to keep the San Diego Bay and surrounding watersheds free from pollution,” noted Quirós.                                                                    
                                                                                            Port of San Diego       
To view the October 2017 Press Release in its entirety please click here.


About the Living Coast Discovery Center

The Living Coast Discovery Center, a 501(c) 3 educational zoo and aquarium located within the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Sweetwater Marsh, began operating as a non-profit in 2010 after assuming operations of the Chula Vista Nature Center. The Living Coast Discovery Center offers hands-on exhibits and up-close encounters with plant and animal species native to Southern California coastal habitats, including endangered sea turtles, sting rays, leopard sharks, jellies, shorebirds, reptiles and a large collection of raptors such as hawks, falcons, owls, American bald eagle, golden eagle, and more. More information about the Living Coast Discovery Center is available at or (619) 409-5900.

What's New at the Living Coast Discovery Center?

Seasonal Day Camps! Time to go wild at the Discovery Center for kids ages 4-12! Enroll now at

Overnight Adventures! After a full evening of fun activities, we will snuggle down in our sleeping bags for a movie and cozy indoor camping in the Discovery Center's auditorium. Don't miss an evening of discovery and fun! For information on Overnight Camps, click here.

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