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We welcome and Encourage field trips to the Elephant Seal Rookery near Piedras Blancas


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elephant seals education

Guidelines | Schedule A School Group Visit | Contact School Group Coordinator



School Group elephant sealsThe Friends of the Elephant Seal welcomes thousands of children every year to participate in our school groups program at the Piedras Blancas Rookery.  Schools, scouts, community programs or other organizations serving children are eligible to schedule this program.   A group of specially trained School Group Docents will greet you and introduce your students to the extraordinary life on land, and at sea, of the northern elephant seal.  Our primary focus is to interpret for the students what they are observing in the rookery.  We strive to incorporate the California Next Generation Science Standards into our program.


Guidelines for planning your school visit:

  • The School Group Program is designed for children in grade 3 and above.

  • Please give us at least 5 weeks before your field trip so that we can coordinate your visit.

  • Plan for at least a one hour program.

  • The School Group Program is available Monday through Saturday, September to June.

  • When you submit your request for a visit (below), a docent will contact you to confirm the scheduled date and time.

  • Shortly before your visit a docent will contact you to update you on the conditions at the viewing areas, and confirm your arrival time and number of students.

  • We require that at a minimum you provide 1 chaperone for every 10 children in your group.

  • If possible, please have elementary students wear name tags.  

  • Unfortunately there are no restrooms at the viewing area. We recommend that on your way to the rookery, you visit the Washburn Day Use Area located a mile north of Cambria on the right just before the sign to San Simeon State Park. After visiting the elephant seals, we recommend stopping at the W. R. Hearst State Beach, located 4.7 miles south on Highway One, across from the Hearst Castle entrance. It has a large grassy area, restrooms, drinking fountain, and picnic tables. You may wish to arrange a visit to the Coastal Discovery Center (805 927-2145) which is located there.

  • The wind is usually calm in the morning and gusty in the afternoon; temperatures are often cool. You can check current weather conditions here.

  • Don't forget warm, layered clothing including hats and sunscreen.

  • Visit the LiveCam for a preview of your visit. Go to Locations for travel instructions.

  • Reservations cannot be taken over the phone.


If you have any questions please email our school group coordinator:   schoolgroups@elephantseal.org.

FESPlease read all guidelines before contacting the School Group Coordinator


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Photo contributions by Phil Adams, Joan Crowder, Peter Hemming, Brandt Kehoe, Tim Postiff & Nancy McKarney