Standards-based, hands-on science education.
The best education on Earth.


We offer three programs to study science in the real world: a Monday through Friday residential outdoor science school at either Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains or at the shore in Malibu, and a one to two day, on-the-water program aboard the world-famous Marine Science Floating Laboratory which is often copied but never duplicated.

The Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School is a unique educational program that has been providing science enrichment experiences to fifth and sixth grade students since 1960.

Outdoor Science School is coordinated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education and is conducted as a California public school. We are a school, not a camp and, as such, our primary focus is science education, not recreation.

This year we expect to serve approximately 12,000 fifth and sixth grade students from schools and districts throughout Los Angeles County. For most students, attendance at Outdoor Science School is often the highlight of their school year.

 

At the Shore

The Malibu Outdoor Science School is operated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education. We provide environmental science education for 5th and 6th graders in a residential camp setting.  Visiting schools come for a 4-5 day program where the students explore an outdoor classroom on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. The science content is taught by experienced naturalists and students stay in cabins overnight. 

We focus on teaching state science standards through hands-on learning while exposing students to new social settings, exploring different environments, and providing them with new experiences. Students leave the program with a new sense of personal responsibility, independence and understanding of the natural world around them.

To serve more students in our community, the Los Angeles County Office of Education runs school-year programs from two locations – Malibu and in the mountains at Wrightwood.

 

In the Mountains

The Wrightwood Outdoor Science School is operated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education. We provide environmental science education for 5th and 6th graders in a residential camp setting.  Visiting schools come for a 4-5 day program where the students explore an outdoor classroom in the mighty San Gabriel Mountains. The science content is taught by experienced naturalists and students stay in cabins overnight. 

We focus on teaching state science standards through hands-on learning while exposing students to new social settings, exploring different environments, and providing them with new experiences. Students leave the program with a new sense of personal responsibility, independence and understanding of the natural world around them.

To serve more students in our community, the Los Angeles County Office of Education runs school-year programs from two locations – Malibu and in the mountains at Wrightwood.

On the Water

The Marine Science Floating Lab (MSFL) is an excellent opportunity for students to explore the amazing biodiversity of what is often a hidden habitat. 

On a typical 3-hour cruise through the Long Beach or Los Angeles Harbor, with either a morning or an afternoon departure, students participate in hands-on, marine-science learning activities including:

  • collecting a bottom sediment sample to observe and record invertebrates,
  • an otter trawl net which collects a wide range of fish, and invertebrates from on and near the bottom,
  • a plankton tow and plankton observation with a microscope,
  • water quality studies, and
  • other activities that may be requested to meet the needs of the specific grade level and curriculum.

Students will also observe birds, sea lions, and other marine mammals that may be in the area. While underway to the collection areas, students observe and discuss Los Angeles Harbor, shipping vessels, breakwater function, and a variety of ecosystem and environmental engineering topics.

Students see first-hand how human behavior affects the quality of water, air, habitat, animal life, plant life, and human life in the marine environment specifically as well as in the students’ communities.

 

 
“Students come back at 16, 18, or even 20 years of age and tell me how much they enjoyed coming to Outdoor Science School.”
 

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