Crystal Cove Alliance offers a variety of exciting programs for K-12 students at Crystal Cove State Park.  Our Citizen Science programs are supported by a suite of 8-10 NGSS-aligned lesson plans that teachers can use in their classroom to immerse students in the full scientific process.  We intentionally keep our programs affordable, and scholarships and financial aid opportunities are available for teachers who join our Teacher Learning Community.

For more information about our approach to STEM education and what makes our school programs different, click here.

On the Water

Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise


MPA Cruise Plankton Net

  • Grade Level: 7-12
  • Class Size: 36 students
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $750/cruise (scholarships available for Teacher Learning Community members)

Immerse your class in real research during Crystal Cove Alliance’s Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise!  Now in its third year, this nationally recognized program invites junior high and high school students out on the water to help park managers learn about Crystal Cove State Park’s offshore Marine Conservation Area.  Classes partner with real scientists as they survey underwater fish populations, study water quality, and search for extraordinary plankton on board Western Pride.

For more information or to book a trip, please contact Newport Landing’s Marine Science Educator, Jessica Roame by calling (949) 675-0551 ex. 118 or emailing

Enhanced Whale Watch Cruise 


Whale Watch

  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Class Size: 70 students
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: $11/student

The Enhanced Whale Watch Cruise with Newport Landing brings added value to your classroom’s whale watching excursion.  Take to the seas under the guidance of a trained marine educator, who will facilitate as students help collect data for five different at-sea studies.  Monitor bird populations, examine tiny plankton, and keep your eyes peeled for any sign of fascinating marine mammals!

For more information or to book a trip, please contact Newport Landing’s Marine Science Educator, Jessica Roame by calling (949) 675-0551 ex. 118 or emailing

At Crystal Cove State Park

Coastal Field Science Program at the Berns Environmental Study Loop


  • Grade Level: 5th and 7th
  • Class Size: Up to 60
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price:  $500/program (scholarships available for Teacher Learning Community members)

There is much that we don’t know about the process of restoration, but your students are about to dive in head first to help us tackle this land management challenge at Crystal Cove State Park.  With the help of a CCA Research Coordinator, students will collect data for different ongoing research projects, such as experimenting with restoration strategies by measuring water availability for plants, weighing leaf litter bags to study decomposition rates, and using trap cameras to monitor large mammals in the Park.

If you are interested in joining our teacher development team, please contact Sara Ludovise at

California State Parks Interpretive Program

Crystal Cove State Park Interpretive School Programs

  • Grade Level: Any
  • Class Size: Up to 60 students
  • Price: $2.50/student

Crystal Cove State Park invites students to participate in a variety of interpretive educational programs!  These programs are available for school and other organized groups throughout the year in the park.   All programs are curriculum-based, fun, and interactive and can be adapted to any grade level by Ranger Winter, one of Crystal Cove’s most beloved interpreters.  Possible areas of focus cover everything from Tidepools and Ecology to Unhuggables.  New topics for 2014-2015 include Animal Evidence and Birds.

For more information, visit the Crystal Cove State Park website or contact the Park Interpretation and Education Office at (949) 497-7647 or by emailing

In the Classroom


California State Parks Interpretive ProgramPORTS Distance Learning Program

PORTS Program

  • Grade Level: K-12
  • Class Size: Up to 40
  • Duration: 45-50 minutes
  • Price: Free
  • Availability on demand — please inquire!

Crystal Cove Alliance is a proud supporter of the Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) Distance Learning Program. PORTS delivers live videoconferences from California State Parks directly into K-12 classrooms. Crystal Cove PORTS programs use cutting-edge technology to help students learn about tidepool ecology and the science of habitat restoration during an engaging and interactive presentation with a park interpreter. Programs are aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards and are free of charge.

For more information, visit the PORTS website or contact Francesca Henderson by emailing