School Groups

The Friends of the Elephant Seal volunteers, in collaboration with California State Parks, welcome thousands of children every year to participate in our school groups program at the Piedras Blancas Rookery. Schools, scouts, community programs and other organizations serving children are eligible to schedule this program. A group of specially- trained School Group docents (guides) will greet you and introduce your students to the extraordinary life of the northern elephant seal on land and at sea. Our primary focus is to interpret what the students are observing in the rookery.

Guidelines for planning your school visit:

  • The School Group Program is designed for children in grade 3 and above.
  • Please request your scheduled visit at least 5 weeks before your field trip to allow for planning.
  • Plan for at least a one-hour program.
  • The School Group Program is available Monday through Saturday, year-round.
  • When you submit your request for a visit, a program coordinator from California State Parks will contact you to confirm the scheduled date and time.
  • Shortly before your visit we will contact you again 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.
  • 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.
  • You can find Maps and Directions here.
  • Reservations cannot be taken over the phone.

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Friends of the Elephant Seal is a 501(c) (3) non- profit corporation, relying on grants, sponsorships, memberships and your donations. Your charitable contribution supports our programs.

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Friends of the Elephant Seal is a cooperating association with California State Parks.

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