Beach Exploration

Explore the beach intertidal zone and discover some of the critters and the amazing ways they survive in a variety of habitats there! Available on low tide days in the Fall and Spring.  South Sound Estuary Association (SSEA) staff will meet you at Burfoot County Park, Tolmie State Park, or you may suggest one you have access to. Let us know what your goals and curriculum needs are, and we’ll discuss with you how to integrate them into a 1.5 hour session on the beach. Pre and post visits to your location or classroom are available as well.

Available to K-12 grade.

Wendy Eklund
South Sound Estuary Association (SSEA)


Ocean Plastics – Matter Out of Place

Recently updated to support the Properties of Matter middle school science standards, this lesson focuses on the history, chemical composition and structure of plastics; origin, transport and destination of ocean plastics; impacts on the environment; solutions and stewardship.  Hands-on labs include a Sink/Float Plastic Density Investigation and Albatross Bolus Dissection.  Students enrich their learning by participating in a debris cleanup at a school campus or nearby park.  Debris collected is recorded on International Coastal Cleanup data forms and submitted to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.  Teachers may also request Beach Sweeper Field Notebooks which allow students to map their site, ask investigative questions, collect data, reflect on findings and create an action plan.

50-60 minutes in the classroom, 50-60 minutes in the field
Designed for grades 6-9, but adaptable to all ages.

Pacific Shellfish Institute

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll Youth Education Program

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program partners with schools and community organizations to offer activities that educate and encourage youth to walk, bike, and use public transit. The Walk N Roll program strives to create a healthier, safer, and more active community.

Educational Programs

  • Walk N Roll to School Events encourage youth and their families to walk or bike to school. The Walk N Roll program provides schools with the tools and coordination to make their events successful. We also help schools celebrate National Bike and Walk to School Days.
  • Rolling Classroom field trips provide school groups the chance to ride an Intercity Transit bus, tour our maintenance facility, and ride through the bus wash. Prior to the field trip, a classroom presentation is provided to prepare students for their bus riding experience.
  • Bike Rodeos teach youth real-world skills to prepare them to ride a bike safely. Intercity Transit helps schools and community partners organize bike rodeo events.
  • Earn-A-Bike classes teach middle school students basic mechanical and bicycle safety skills in the classroom and on the road. Upon completion of the class, students in need get a bike refurbished by our bike shop volunteers.
  • Bike MVP classes teach middle and high school youth how to overhaul and maintain a bicycle. Classes are split between a daily lesson and hands-on practice. After completing Bike MVP, graduates volunteer in our bike shop. Volunteer hours can be used for community service requirements.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Volunteers can assist with bike education classes and events. They can also volunteer in the Walk N Roll Bike Shop repairing bikes used in our youth education programs. Bike mechanic skills are not required.

Field Trip Transportation with the Class Pass
Schools and youth groups can ride Intercity Transit’s regularly scheduled buses for field trip transportation. Let us know your group’s plans by requesting a Class Pass and we will help you plan your route. Intercity Transit buses are zero-fare, so you can ride for free!

Walk N Roll

Mount Rainier Institute

In partnership with Mount Rainier National Park, University of Washington created the Mount Rainier Institute. Located at Pack Forest, Mount Rainier Institute is a residential environmental learning center that uses the natural and cultural resources of Mount Rainier National Park and Pack Forest to achieve its mission. Mount Rainier Institute provides schools in our region with in-depth, multi-day programs focusing on science/STEM education. Mount Rainier Institute also helps connect students and teachers to Mount Rainier National park, and uses the park and Pack Forest as its “classroom.” We partner with schools to provide experiences that enhance curriculum, enrich science, and build community.

School Programs
Mount Rainier Institute provides outstanding nature-based education experiences that are rooted in science and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders. In partnership with the National Park Service, Mount Rainier Institute uses the natural and cultural resources of Mount Rainier National Park and University of Washington’s Pack Forest to help students learn and to develop their relationship with the environment through an educational adventure they will remember for a lifetime. Mount Rainier Institute programs provide a mix between interdisciplinary content with science process skills such as observation, inquiry, analysis, and supporting claims with evidence. Mount Rainier Institute educators will work with teachers to better integrate the Mount Rainier Institute experience into their classroom curriculum.

Programs are 4 days and 3 nights (Monday-Thursday), or 3 days and 2 nights (Monday-Wednesday & Wednesday-Friday). 4-day programs are given scheduling priority. 5-day and 1-day programs will be considered based on availability.

Fall season begins mid-September through mid-November. Spring season begins mid-March through mid-June.

Programs can be tailored to meet the needs of upper elementary, middle school, and high school.


John Hayes

(253) 692-4161


Olympia Waterfront Tour

The Waterfront Tour offers students an opportunity to learn about Puget Sound – right here in our own backyard!  The tour begins at Port Plaza where students rotate through 3 stations: 1) Water Quality Equipment and Sampling; 2) Plankton and Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring; and 3) Tower Trivia!  Students then proceed on a shoreline tour that covers topics such as King tides and sea level rise, Budd Inlet history, the Lake/Estuary debate, and a presentation on New Zealand mud snails at Capitol Lake led by a Washington Invasive Species Council staff member or WDFW biologist.

2-hr field trip designed for grades 5-8

4-hr field trip option available for 6th grade students in partnership with the LOTT Clean Water Alliance.

Pacific Shellfish Institute

Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI)

Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with an office and laboratory in Olympia, WA. Our education mission is to provide the community with science based, hands on learning opportunities related to shellfish, water quality and Puget Sound stewardship. We are available for classroom presentations, field trips, teacher trainings, workshops, and community events. Our range encompasses Lewis, Mason, Thurston, and Mason Counties.

Education Programs:
PSI offers an assortment of K-12 classroom presentation and field trips related to locally relevant water quality issues such as ocean acidification, nutrient and bacteria pollution, and ocean plastics. Our programs are unique in that they are provided by research scientists working right here in Puget Sound. Our presentations and field trips target NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, field sampling techniques, water quality equipment, invertebrate/plankton identification, engineering solutions and personal actions. Our most popular offerings include:

  • Ocean Plastics – Matter out of Place
  • Eutrophi…what? – Nutrients and Phytoplankton in South Puget Sound
  • Acids, Bases, and Calcification Races – The ABCs of Ocean Acidification
  • The Olympia Waterfront Tour (in partnership with LOTT)

PSI will work with you to tailor presentations and field trips to meet your individual needs.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
PSI offers volunteer and internship opportunities by request and as needed. We also host citizen monitoring events and local cleanups throughout the year.

Pacific Shellfish Institute
Aimee Christy

Thurston County Stream Team

If you enjoy rushing streams, clean air, the smell of rich soil on your hands and the camaraderie of other people who like to make a difference, then get involved with Stream Team!

Stream Team offers a fun and rewarding way to protect and improve local streams, rivers and Puget Sound. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds can get involved. Love the outdoors? Join us at tree plantings or stream-bug monitoring sessions. Are you a bird watcher? Build a bird nest box, attend a shorebird field trip or help monitor purple martin nest boxes. If you enjoy talking with other people, you might want to become a Salmon Steward. Or perhaps you’d just like to attend workshops and learn more about what you can do to protect our water resources. Stream Team welcomes any level of involvement you choose to take.

Stream Team events are free and open to everyone. You can participate individually, or bring your family, friends or members of your community group.

Stream Team Website
Facebook Page


In Lacey Contact:
Emily Watts or (360) 438-2687


In Olympia Contact:
Michelle Stevie or (360) 753-8336


In Tumwater Contact:
Meridith Greer or (360) 754-4148


In Thurston County Contact:
Anne Marie Pearce or (360)754-3355 ext. 6857

Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

The Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail is the south Sound’s premiere salmon viewing experience. It is only open for the month of November, because that is when the chum salmon return from the ocean!

Schedule a visit for your class or interest group, and get a rich Pacific Northwest experience. Groups are lead by trained volunteer docents that cover a wide range of salmon and ecological topics including life cycle, spawning behaviors, survival rates, predator/prey relationships, forestry and human influences. Available for all ages!

Visit our website for more information, to schedule a field trip, or become a docent.

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group
Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail Coordinator
Jerilyn Walley
(360) 412-0808 ext. 107

Wolf Haven International for Students

Wolf Haven International, located in Tenino, Washington, offers a variety of presentations for groups of all ages. Groups may schedule a private guided walking visit of the wolf sanctuary and learn more about this often misunderstood animal. Presentations are also available and span a variety of topics depending on the age of the group. Presentations meet several Next Generation Science Standards – more information available upon request. For information on pricing, programs, or scheduling, please call or e-mail. Advanced reservations are required.

Onsite experiences appropriate for grades 3 – post secondary. Offsite experiences available for all ages.

To schedule, contact:
Education Department
Wolf Haven International
(360) 264-4695 ext. 223

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge – Education Programs

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge provides recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. Shorebirds migrating from as far south as Argentina stop to rest and feed in Grays Harbor Estuary every spring. The estuary’s open mudflats provide ample food for the migrants and great wildlife viewing opportunities for the public. Whether birding, practicing photography, or participating in educational programs, visitors enjoy viewing the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allows for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats. Each spring, the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival offers field trips, shorebird viewing, lectures, Fun Fair, poster contest, and more.

The mission of Grays Harbor NWR education program is to work collaboratively with local schools, the community and other educational groups to teach the value of our local ecosystems to students, both young and old.

Visit the Grays Harbor NWR Education Page for more information on:

  • Classroom Presentations
  • Field Trips
  • Education Guide
  • Teacher Training
  • Shorebird Festival Poster Contest

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge

1131 Airport Way, Hoquiam, WA 98550

100 Brown Farm Road, Olympia, WA 98516 (mailing address)

(360) 753-9467

Nisqually NWR Website
Education Page
Shorebird Festival Website
Facebook – Shorebird Festival


Nisqually Reach Nature Center – Education

Nisqually Reach Nature Center provides:

  • Field trip opportunities
  • Supplemental classroom activities
  • and Summer camps

Aimed at sharing the beauty and uniqueness of the Nisqually Estuary and learning the values of conservation, particularly with regard to South Puget Sound. The Nature Center contains study mounts of local birds and mammals, four tidally active salt water aquariums with over 50 species of local marine fauna, and equipment for use. The equipment includes binoculars, spotting scopes, Quadrates, Seine net, compound microscopes, and dissecting microscopes. Outdoor classes can study estuarine ecology through beach quadrate studies, beach seining, plankton tows and more.

Classes may visit any time with advance arrangement. Appropriate for all ages.

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

Nature Center Website

Nature Center Facebook


Nisqually Stream Stewards

Although the Nisqually River Watershed is blessed with a significant amount of good salmon habitat, there are still some areas in need of restoration. The Nisqually Tribe and the Nisqually River Council recognize that true long-lasting restoration and protection of salmon habitat will come about only through a community-based effort.

The Nisqually Stream Stewards are people who want to help protect and improve the health of our streams. The Stream Stewards are trained as citizen scientists, and provide invaluable information for natural resources professionals.

Nisqually Stream Stewards meet community members and natural resources professionals; monitor the health of their local streams; and assist with projects that improve stream health, such as removing invasive grass from stream channels or planting trees along stream banks.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Stream Stewards Class
  • Salmon Watcher Training
  • Planting Projects
  • Salmon Carcass Tossing

Nisqually Stream Stewards
(360) 438-8715
Stream Stewards Website

Puget Sound Shellfish – Keeping It Clean

This program will introduce students to shellfish as a keystone species in maintaining healthy estuaries and as an important indicator of water quality. Identify South Puget Sound bivalves, view live plankton under microscopes, feed mussels a plankton smoothie, and discover how the 3 “P”s – poop, pH, and plastics – can impact the environment! Become empowered as we highlight every day actions you can take to protect and enjoy Puget Sound.

Can be adapted to any age level. 50-60 minutes in length.

Pacific Shellfish Institute

Sound Experience for Schools & Youth Groups

Sound Experience is a Puget Sound-based environmental and youth leadership organization that uniquely delivers its programs aboard the 133′ historic wooden schooner Adventuress. we reach more than 4,000 young people and adults each year, inspiring in them a greater understanding of the complexity of our marine ecological systems and stronger commitment to the stewardship of our waters. Aboard Adventuress, on day or overnight programs, participants experience the majesty and vulnerability of Puget Sound – and why the future of our marine environment matters to all of us.

Sound Studies and Sound Explorations
Sound Studies and Sound Explorations are programs designed to spark the imagination and foster an interest in science, leadership and the environment. As Adventuress sets out on the waters of Puget Sound, students work as a team to help raise the sails. They learn about Puget Sound ecology and history by participating in five hands-on discovery stations which can include:

  • Plankton
  • Marine Life
  • Watersheds
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Nautical Skills
  • Life Aboard Ship.

Program Details

  • Sound Studies: 3-5 hour shipboard education programs
  • Sound Explorations: 2- to 7-day journeys of exploration and self-discovery
  • Group Size: Adventuress’ 101-foot deck easily accommodates 45 participants for day sails.
  • Overnight programs include sleeping accommodations and meals for 24 participants.


Sound Experience

(360) 379-0439

Schools & Youth Groups Webpage

Get Outside Olympia

Perri Rae Davis, founder and program director of Get Outside Olympia, has a mission to make nature in Olympia, WA easily accessible for youth in her community. With a passion for working outdoors and over a decade of working with youth, she created Olympia Youth Explorers and Natural Young Leaders Club. These two programs utilize local parks, environmental community organizations, and focus on practicing core routines that foster habits and behaviors that increase observation, curiosity, and connection with the natural world!

Perri Rae Davis

Director of Get Outside Olympia

South Sound GREEN

South Sound GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) has over 20 years experience providing comprehensive watershed education for teachers and students. The program works with grades 4-12 in the Olympia, North Thurston, Tumwater, Griffin, and Rainier school districts, as well as students in private schools, home schools, and local colleges and universities.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, students monitor water quality and benthic macroinvertebrates while learning about historical and current land use to evaluate the health of their watershed. Students conduct action projects, including invasive species removal, native planting projects, and more. Students chosen as delegates take their findings to the annual Student GREEN Congress.

South Sound GREEN provides field trips to local South Puget Sound shorelines for participating students to explore marine creatures, food webs, habitats, and how humans impact water quality and local industries such as shellfish farming. Participating teachers receive water quality testing supplies, field trip funding, and ongoing support in integrating watershed education into their curriculum.  We offer teacher professional development through our annual Summer Institute for Teachers in late June, and ongoing climate science education throughout the school year.

Stephanie Bishop
Program Coordinator
360-754-3588 ext. 108

OlyWATER Schools Program

The OlyWAter Schools Program provides free classroom presentations to 4th and 5th students in the Olympia School District. The OlyWAter Schools Program activities focus on connecting students with a sense of place and stewardship through science exploration, creative arts, and field trips.

Each grade has a classroom presentation and related field trip that compliments the Water and Land Formations FOSS science units and EALRs from the Science Standards, as well as other activities and field trips.

For more information on our activities and field trips see our website.


Andy Haub

(360) 753-8475

Schools Program Website

Beach Jobs! Managing Tasty Clams

How do the tribes, research scientists and resource managers conduct shellfish population surveys? Why are they important and who is involved? Turn the classroom into a tideland as we act out the players, identify shellfish species, survey the beach, crunch population numbers, and divvy up our tasty harvestable catch (Swedish Fish).

60 minutes in the classroom or as a field trip.

Designed for grades 6-12.

Pacific Shellfish Institute

Taylor Shellfish Farms – Education Programs

Shellfish farming has a long history in Puget Sound; in Washington it pre-dates statehood. Learn how shellfish are farmed in Puget Sound, and what happens to them once they are harvested. Field trips and tours can take place at the main headquarters/processing plant in Shelton, shellfish hatchery in Quilcene (Hood Canal), or a variety of farms throughout South Puget Sound.

Tours are customized based on the needs of different groups and can include topics such as: biology, history, environment, economy, water quality, current events, culinary uses, habitat, etc. Programs can be adapted to any grade level. 

Taylor Shellfish is a 5th generation family company based out of Shelton, WA with farms throughout the state. Shellfish produced in Puget Sound include manila clams, a variety of oyster species, geoduck and mussels. Tours, field trips and classroom visits are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis.

Jennifer Whipple
(360) 481-2417


Junior Ranger Adventures

The City of Olympia Park Stewardship Program offers many opportunities for youth of all ages to become involved outdoors. Junior Ranger Adventures is offered during the summer and allows children 6-11 years of age to earn their Junior Ranger badge in one day on an exciting adventure through three City of Olympia parks.

Participants learn to appreciate nature through responsible and fun recreation while learning about stewardship, local ecosystems, habitats, and wildlife. The adventure includes a nature walk, wildlife observation, fun activities, and a picnic. For fee and registration information, visit our website and search for “junior ranger”.

Additional stewardship related recreational activities include the Kids Canopy Climb and Great American Backyard Campout.

The Park Stewardship Program also works with classrooms on a regular basis, teaching youth about environmental sustainability, animal habitat, and how they can play a role in their local park system.

Available for grades K-12.

To schedule, contact:
Park Stewardship Program
City of Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation
(360) 753-8365

Junior Ranger Activity Guide

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. Whether boating, walking the trails, or participating in educational programs, visitors enjoy viewing the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allows for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats. The Nisqually estuary was restored in 2009 by removing dikes and reconnecting 762 acres with the tides of Puget Sound. This is the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest and an important step in the recovery of Puget Sound. Many visitors, especially birders and boaters, have found that it is best to plan a visit to the Refuge according to the tides. The highest concentrations of the estuarine bird species will be most visible within two hours of high tide. The Visitor Center includes The Nature Shop, an information desk, a view of the freshwater marsh, and interpretive exhibits.

Visit Us
Educational Facilities include the Refuge’s Environmental Education Center and four miles of flat boardwalk & gravel trails. The Environmental Education Center is open by appointment only. Educational groups Pre-K through college may request use of the Environmental Education Center and assistance from Refuge Educators.

Educational Programs
The Refuge’s Environmental Education Programming is designed to meet the needs of visiting groups. Please contact our education coordinator to plan your trip. Indoor activities cover a wide range of wildlife-related topics including:

  • Habitat
  • Animal Adaptations
  • Animal Tracks & Signs
  • Bird Identification
  • Developing Observation Skills
  • Citizen Science

Educator Training
Four field trip orientation workshops are conducted each year. We encourage all educators planning a trip to the Refuge to attend to get all the tools you need to confidently guide your students on a meaningful outdoor learning experience. You will be introduced to our hands-on indoor activities in our Environmental Education Center, hike the Twin Barns Loop Trail, and learn about one of the largest restoration projects in the Puget Sound! Refreshments will be provided. Dates can be found on the Refuge’s website.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Volunteer & Internship Opportunities exist with the Refuge’s Environmental Education program as well as other programs at the Refuge. More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center, or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century. Become a volunteer to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources.

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516
(360) 753-9467

The Nisqually River Education Project

Nisqually River Education Project offers hands-on environmental service-learning to students grades 4-12. Schools in Thurston County, North Thurston Public Schools, Wa He Lut Indian School, and Yelm Community Schools may be eligible for participation.

We offer:

  • Bi-annual water quality monitoring field trips.
  • Eye on Nature field trips to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Habitat restoration work-revegetation, invasive species removal, salmon carcass tossing, etc.
  • Annual Student Congress with 400 students from 40+ schools around South Puget Sound to analyze watershed health and learn new skills.
  • Annual Summer Teachers Institute with clock hours, stipends, curriculum resources and networking with community professionals.
  • Logistical support for community service and education outreach projects.
  • Ongoing teacher training and resource sharing.
  • Funding for field trips and water quality monitoring equipment.


Sheila Wilson
360-561 0203

Facebook Page

Garden of the Salish Sea

Looking for a way to dive deeper into Puget Sound issues? This program, centered around hands-on learning through classroom labs and local field experiences, uses shellfish as a vehicle to teach pollution prevention. The curriculum is offered as a 4-week course (1-2 hours per week), which includes an overview of shellfish and water quality, interactive hands-on laboratory, field experience, and post field trip reflection. During the month, teachers may supplement the curriculum through additional games, readings and art. Students are empowered to take actions to minimize pollution by taking the Salish Sea Challenge.

For more information, click on

60-120 minutes per week over a 4-week period. Adaptable as needed.

Designed for students in grades 4-8.

Pacific Shellfish Institute

Capitol Land Trust

Capitol Land Trust
Capitol Land Trust’s mission is to conserve essential natural areas and working farms in southwest Washington. Since 1987, we have grown from a volunteer organization to a professional and accredited land trust. With the help of our supporters and partners, we have successfully conserved over 6,000 acres of land on nearly 80 properties in Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, and Lewis counties. The land we conserve is protected forever.

Visit us
We have a small working office in Lacey, WA. We don’t offer any programs or exhibits at our office location. As of 2020, we have four preserves that are open for public use. If you plan a visit to one of our nature preserves, be sure to visit our website for the most current information. In general, our walking trails are mulched or dirt trails and vary in elevation and length. Walking on our trails, you’ll pass many Pacific Northwest ecosystems including wetlands, forests of varying ages, marine shoreline, open oak woodland, and fish-bearing streams. Please contact us if you plan to park a vehicle larger than a 12-passenger van on a property because some sites have space restrictions.

Educational Programs

  • Guided nature walks
  • Land Stewardship and Restoration – Learn how to identify native and invasive plant species and keep our ecosystems healthy. These activities include removing invasive species, planting native plant species, and addressing other needs the land may have.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
Volunteers are essential to our mission, and we strive to create a volunteer experience that is both meaningful and enjoyable. As a Capitol Land Trust volunteer, you further our mission by stewarding natural landscapes, educating the next generation, and connecting people with our conserved lands. With your help, our area continues to have thriving natural habitats and green spaces to enjoy.

  • Stewardship Work Parties – Weekly stewardship work parties occur year-round between October and July, and typically include activities like planting native plants, mulching, removing invasive species or debris, and maintaining trails.
  • Environmental Education – We work with several schools and youth-serving organizations to provide field experiences for youth on our conservation properties. Most of the activities that take place during these experiences are run by volunteers. We provide a volunteer training for our 7th grade field experience and our 3rd grade field experience.
  • Trail and Land Stewards – Trail Stewards and Land Stewards make sure our properties are safe and healthy!


Capitol Land Trust
Mary Birchem
Facebook Page

Puget Sound Estuarium

The Estuarium is a marine life discovery center featuring aquariums and interpretive exhibits. Outside our facility, we can be found on local docks and beaches connecting people of all ages to our delicate and vibrant estuarine ecosystem. The Estuarium also provides K-12 education resources and field trips to local schools. Our volunteer program offers unique hands-on opportunities to explore intertidal life and inspire community members to take better care of our shared natural resources.

Our facility is home to saltwater aquariums and a diverse specimen collection featuring amazing intertidal and subtidal estuary plants and animals. Our hands-on interactive exhibits include a video screening station, microscopes, rotating arts and crafts projects and more. The Estuarium highlights topics during our rotating exhibits complete with special activities! Rotating exhibits often feature special guest speakers, dissections, and demonstrations led by our lead interpreters. Exhibits include:

  • Ways to Make a Difference Exhibit
  • Plastic Pollution Exhibit
  • Cultural Exhibit
  • Rough Skinned Newt Tank
  • Shellfish Tank and Exhibit
  • Eelgrass Tank
  • Asteroidea Tank
  • Estuary Predator Tank
  • Microscope Station
  • Movie Station
  • Estuary Inspired Arts and Crafts


  • Meet the Beach – During our Meet the Beach program our dedicated team of volunteers, called Beach Naturalists, connect beachgoers with our unique estuarine ecosystem by identifying intertidal life during summer low tides.
  • Pier Peer – Year-round our trained staff and volunteers run our popular Pier Peer program on local docks after dark in Thurston and Mason Counties. Our trained team provides underwater lights that attract spectacular estuary creatures for you to scoop up and observe.
  • K-12 Education: The Estuarium offers extensive educational programming and a variety of estuary and marine ecology topics for Pre-K through 12th grade students. Our programs offer students unique hands-on activities and are linked to the STEM standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and Ocean Literacy Frameworks.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
The Estuarium relies on our dedicated volunteers to help run our programs and facility. Estuarium volunteers are encouraged to participate during field trips, Pier Peer and Meet the Beach events, assisting in animal husbandry, and serving as interpreters during our weekend open hours. Internships are periodically offered at the Estuarium. Interns are invited to learn a wide range of skills from nonprofit management, animal husbandry, K-12 education and more. Please contact our Program Coordinator to learn about our current internship opportunities.

Teacher Resources
The Estuarium offers School Estuary Kits for local K-12 teachers with 3rd – 12th grade students. All kits include enough materials for a group of 30 students and the content is designed for age-appropriate learning. The School Estuary Kits support current NGSS educational standards.

Do you have a group you think would enjoy a private Meet the Beach, Pier Peer, or Estuarium tour? Please email us to inquire about private programs, rentals, and Estuarium birthday party packages.

Puget Sound Estuarium
(360) 915-0773

Hands On Children’s Museum – School Programs

The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups. Our programs provide a unique combination of interactive learning experiences, expressive materials and dramatic play that is unparalleled in our community. Students will create, explore and discover in the rich Museum learning environment.

We offer:

Top reasons to choose a Hands On Field Trip:

  • Hands On is consistently voted “Best Place to Take Kids” in South Puget Sound.
  • Our interactive exhibits make learning exciting, engaging and fun!
  • Our Field Trip Workshops support State Learning Standards including Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs), Core Content, Content Standards, and FOSS Science Curriculum.
  • Our Arts & Parts Studio gives every student an opportunity to take home a unique work of art.
  • Hands On 2U brings the Museum Field Trip Experience to your school or organization.
  • At the Hands On Children’s Museum, we believe that students learn through experiences as well as experiments.


Reservations Coordinator
(360) 956-0818  ext 103

Education Page

WET Science Center

The WET Science Center is a fun, hands-on place to learn all about water. It is a part of LOTT Clean Water Alliance, a nonprofit corporation providing wastewater management services for the urban areas of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater. It’s free to visit and features interactive exhibits, family-friendly Saturday programs, wastewater treatment plant tours, and educational programs.

There are a variety of games and activities for all ages. Try an optional scavenger hunt to navigate through the science center. Information includes:

  • Water conservation.
  • Wastewater treatment, including the role of bacteria in the nitrogen removal process.
  • What not to flush or put down the drain.
  • Production and use of Class A Reclaimed Water.
  • Clean water careers.

Educational Programs
Programs are designed for students 5th grade and older. Programs are typically two hours long, and feature a presentation, a tour of the wastewater treatment plant or green-designed building, and time to explore the science center. All presentations align with Next Generation Science Standards.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
We offer volunteer opportunities assisting with our Saturday and community education programs. The positions can be designed to fit individual needs.

WET Science Center

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