Birthday Parties

Celebrate your child’s special day with a birthday on the bay! Outdoor and indoor spaces are available for games, presents, cakes, and more. Activities are led by our knowledgeable and fun Marine Educators. Birthday Party Programs are available Monday through Saturday throughout the year. We offer several birthday party themes that give your child and their guests a chance to interact with live animals.

On Site Parties

Rocky Shore Birthday Party. Your child and their friends will interact with and touch animals from our local tide pools, including favorites like sea stars, hermit crabs, and fish.

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: $490

Fish and Shark Birthday Party*. Party participants will learn about fish and sharks, seeing and touching our own San Francisco Bay fish and baby leopard sharks. 

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: $490

*A beach seine activity can be added to this party, where students use a large net to collect fish and invertebrates from the Bay. The beach seine is an additional $60 and 30-minutes.

Shoreside Birthday Party. Students will explore the San Francisco Bay like true marine scientists. They will use a mud grab to collect mud and invertebrates from the Bay while joining the ‘mud club’. They will then use a large seine net to try and catch fish right out of the Bay, which they will then interact with.

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $550

Each of these parties can accommodate up to 30 participating children, ages 5 and up.

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Off Site Parties

Rocky Shore Birthday Party. Transform your home into a Pacific Ocean tide pool! We will bring 8-12 different species of Rocky Shore animals for your birthday party guests to interact with, including favorites like sea stars, hermit crabs, and fish.

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: $500 plus $1.25/mile roundtrip to destinations outside of Redwood City


Fish and Shark Birthday Party. We can bring the San Francisco Bay straight to you with live fish and sharks from the Bay. Students will interact with and touch the animals, including a baby leopard shark.

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: $500 plus $1.25/mile roundtrip to destinations outside of Redwood City


Each of these parties can accommodate up to 30 participating children, ages 5 and up.


Important information about hosting an MSI party in your home:

We are fully insured

Live marine animals come with water - make sure you have a space that can handle spills and splashes!

We can meet you at another location for your party, like a local park

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Ship Parties

Birthday EcoTours. You and your guests are welcome to celebrate aboard the R/V Robert G. Brownlee. Voyages can be scheduled between 8am and sunset Monday-Saturday. 

Activity highlights include:

Deploy a net to catch a sample of fish from the Bay.

See and touch a leopard shark and dozens of other species from the bay such as a bat ray, jellies, starry flounder and more while they swim in our on-board tanks.

Bring up a sample of mud from the bottom of the Bay, and examine what interesting invertebrates inhabit the bay floor.

Peek into the world of plankton, made large with our shipboard microscopes hooked up to large flat screens.

Meet our captain and even steer the ship! 

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $2,000


Most voyages depart from Marine Science Institute’s home port in Redwood City. Upon Request, space is available on land to continue the party. Birthday EcoTours may also depart from San Francisco, Richmond, Antioch, or other Bay Area locations by special arrangement and at an additional cost. 


This party can accomodate up to 60 participants (this includes parents and chaperones) ages 5 and up. 

Birthday Party General Information

The child celebrating his/her birthday gets an MSI T-Shirt.

Members receive a 10% discount on the price of the Birthday Party program.

Two staff members will be on site to greet you and lead the birthday party program.

Rustic indoor and outdoor space is available to set up the birthday cake, presents, games and other birthday activities. All activities outside of the specified program are the sole responsibility of the booking party.

Adult assistance is needed for any program to help focus the children on the program.

Schedule a Program

For more information or to schedule a program, contact our office at: 650-364-2760 ext. 10 or

Birthday Party FAQ's

How early can I set up at MSI's site?

Host families may arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of the birthday party for set up.

With our proximity to water, no balloons please. 

How long is the space available after our time with staff at MSI's site?

Families and guests are welcome to use the party space for 1 hour after the scheduled program ends for food and gifts.

Does the time at MSI include clean up time?

The party space is reserved for only 1 hour after the teaching portion of the programs ends. Please plan your party accordingly to include time for cleanup. 

What kind of food can we bring?

MSI does not work with specific vendors or have an approved vendors list. 

Limited refrigerator space is available upon request. 

MSI does not have a kitchen for meal preparation. Many families choose: pizza, cake, sandwiches, veggies, etc.

When is the deposit due?

Full payment is due upon booking. 

Cancellations within 2 weeks of the party are non-refundable.