Summer Marine Science Camp
Frequently Asked Questions
Our FAQ Page is under constant review as we update our program and procedures to reflect new guidelines and mandates.
Check back often as we continue to revise our plans.
If you have questions please email us at
What are your cleaning procedures?
All cleaning procedures are in compliance with San Mateo County Health and California state cleaning and sanitation guidelines. We have implemented more thorough cleaning and sanitizing measures to happen daily before, during, and after program. Those include:
- All staff will wear masks when cleaning.
- High contact surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized after each group of participants uses the area.
- Facilities will be cleaned daily.
- Hand washing or use of a hand sanitizer will be enforced before and after activities that involved shared materials and before and after eating (snack and lunch).
- Any item brought from home will be isolated and kept separated from other groups items.
- Bathroom and Break rooms are sanitized multiple times a day.
How will MSI encourage social distancing during program?
Students will be with their group for the entire session.
What are the preventive measures that have been implemented?
- Staff and participants are required to wear masks (unless medically not possible).
- Staff will check their temperature before arrival- if temperature is above 100 degrees staff will not come to work.
- Staff will check their temperature upon arrival to work. If temperature is above 100 degrees they will leave the facility.
- Participants will have their temperature taken upon arrival to the Marine Science Institute. This will be done with an infrared thermometer while they are still in their vehicles. If temperature is above 100 degrees they will not be allowed in the facility.
- Participants will be asked if they or any in their household are exhibiting any of the following symptom: Fever, coughing, shortness of breath, or new loss of sense of smell/taste. If they have the participant will not be allowed in the facility.
- If Staff or any in their household are exhibiting any of the following symptom: Fever, coughing, shortness of breath, or new loss of sense of smell/taste they will not be allowed in the facility.
- All Staff and Participants will wash hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival to facility.
- Everyone will be reminded and encouraged to not touch their face with their hands without cleaning their hands first .
- Everyone will be taught/reminded that coughing and sneezing should be done into a tissue which is thrown away. Hands should we washed or sanitized after using the tissue.
- Toys and stuffed animals are not allowed and should not be sent with students.
- All teaching spaces are outside or in well-ventilated areas.
Cancellation policy and refund policy
What is the cancellation and refund policy?
Pick up and drop off
How does drop off work?
All drop-off is at Marine Science Institute (500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94063). Due to our limited parking area we use a drive-through style drop-off and pick-up procedure. This is proven to be efficient and safe. To drop off your student follow the circle of traffic cones and pull as far forward as possible. Staff will be present to assist and direct.
Please wear a face mask or covering over nose and mouth when dropping off.
Please wait at the driveway entrance of MSI and a staff member will wave you through.
Staff will greet your vehicle and ask you several questions as part of a health check.
Students will have their temperature checked using a touchless thermometer while in vehicle.
How does pick up work?
What to bring
Does MSI provide food for my child?
MSI will not provide any food to students. Please pack snacks, a trash-free lunch, and refillable water bottle for your child(ren). Water stations are available on-site.
Should my child bring medication?
If your child needs to take medication during the day, please make sure that they have it with them including instructions. Please alert the staff that the child has these.
What should my child bring daily?
Small bag or backpack to carry belongings
Reusable water bottle (Refill station available; MSI will not provide any single use plastic water bottles)
Snack and lunch (MSI will not provide any food)
Light jacket or sweater, as it can get breezy in the afternoons
Sunscreen (MSI will have extra on site)
Medication, inhalers and/or EpiPens (if applicable), with instructions
Masks are required for all participants (MSI will not provide masks). Face covering exceptions will be made to those with sensory complications or other issues which make wearing masks or face coverings challenging. **Please note that in addition to snack, lunch, and drinking water, there may be other break times in which your camper can remove their mask (i.e. when the activity is outside and with 6-foot social distancing).
Please make sure that your child wears clothes and shoes that can get dirty. At MSI, children will be enjoying fun activities outside that may include water, mud, and fish slime. Please dress them in "play clothes" that they will feel comfortable in, and will not be worried about getting dirty.
What is the student to staff ratio?
What is the experience of your staff?
There are two types of staff at Marine Science Camp: Instructors and Counselors. The Instructors and Counselors work in pairs to lead each group of campers (maximum of 12 campers per 2 MSI staff), and each small group can have a volunteer.
What discounts are available?
Current Members at the Bay Steward and Ocean Advocate levels can use a $25 camp disount (discount code contained in the Membership confirmation e-mail).
Do you offer scholarships?
MSI is offering partial financial assistance to qualifying applicants. The Marine Science Camp Scholarship program is still under construction. Please check back soon.
How to register
How do I register?
Registration opens for current MSI Members January 11. Current Members will receive an e-mail on January 11 with an exclusive link to register for Marine Science Camp.
What if the program is full?
If the program is full and you wish to be added to the waitlist, please continue with the normal registration process. There is no cost to join a waitlist, and no obligation to sign up once you’re on it. If a spot opens up for your child you will be notified via the e-mail and phone number provided in your ACTIVE account and given 24 hours to decided if you want to take the spot. Payment will be due at the time of acceptance. If you do not reply to us within 24 hours of being notified of the open spot, we will move down the waitlist and offer the spot to the next family.
What if my child misses a day?
Missed camp days cannot be made up. MSI operates at full capacity. Due to staff to student ratio, group size restictions and no mixing of cohorts, make up days cannot be accommodated.
What happens during a camp session?
Students will do hands-on projects and interact with live animals daily. Sudents will rotate through activity stations throughout each day, with breaks included for snack and lunch. They will utilize the entire MSI space including its outdoor amphitheater, docks, beach, lawns, Marine Science Center and aquarium. All activity spaces are marked off for social distancing.
What does a typical day at MSI look like?
Students will rotate through activity stations throughout the day, with breaks for snack and lunch. Activity stations include animal touching, using scientific collection gear to find animals off our beach and docks, and themed hands-on marine science lessons and games. The schedule for a typical day spent at MSI is below:
Fees and payment
How much is each camp?
Plankton Pioneers for entering K-1st grades is $553.41 ($550 tuition + $3.41 processing fee) per student for each one-week session.
Marine Explorers for entering 2nd-5th grades is $1203.41 ($1200 tuition + $3.41 processing fee) per student for each two-week session.
Underwater Investigators for entering 6th-8th grades is $703.41 ($700 tuition + $3.41 processing fee) per student for each one-week session.
A 40% deposit is required to register for any camp.
What are my options for paying?
All participants must register online through ACTIVE. If space is available in your desired camp session, you can choose between two options to pay with Visa or Mastercard and hold your camper's spot.
Option A: Pay 40% of program fees to check out. Remaining dues are auto-billed May 3, 2021.
Option B: Pay program fees in full. *Registrations made May 3 or later must pay in full to check out.
What is a transaction fee?
A $25 transaction fee is applied to camp session transfers within the same season.
What is a processing fee?
ACTIVE charges a $3.41 processing fee every time a credit card or eCheck is used for payment. This payment goes to ACTIVE, not MSI.
What is the best way to reach the Marine Camp Manager?
We use e-mail as our primary means of communication for confirmations of registration, receipts, and general correspondence. Please check your email provider’s spam protection to ensure that e-mail communications from ACTIVE and email@example.com are defined as safe so that e-mails from us will not be blocked.
What correspondence should I expect to receive for my child's camp session?
Upon completion of your registration the primary parent/guardian will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation containing details of your registration.
Two weeks prior to your child's camp start date you will receive an e-mail containing important information about Marine Science Camp and access to your Parent Handbook.
One week prior to your child's camp start date you will receive the above e-mail again.
If there are any large updates to Marine Science Camp or your program then you will be contacted via e-mail.
Discovery Voyage boat trip
Who goes on the Discovery Voyage boat trip aboard the R/V Robert G. Brownlee?
All campers! Plankton Pioneers will spend one day aboard the research vessel. Marine Explorers will spend two days aboard. Underwater Investigators will spend two days aboard. This is a highlight of the camp!
How large is the ship?
The Robert G. Brownlee is a 90' research vessel that was designed specifically for teaching programs to students in the San Francisco Bay. Its maximum capacity is 103 passengers and crew. In 2013, this ship received several upgrades, and the Brownlee now runs on the cleanest and most fuel-efficient marine diesel engines available today.
Due to safety precautions in response to COVID-19, the maximum capacity on the ship in summer 2021 is 24 students plus crew.
Is this trip safe?
Our vessel, the Robert G. Brownlee, was designed specifically with students in mind. This ship passes regular Coast Guard inspections of maintenance, safety, and rescue equipment. Our staff undergo rigorous training to become crew on this ship and must complete regular safety drills. In addition, all campers wear personal flotation devices provided by MSI at all times.
How long is the trip?
The "Discovery Voyage" on our ship will last for their full camp day. It is important that your camper arrives during the drop-off window in the morning, between 8 - 8:30 so that they do not miss out on this exciting adventure.
Campers will enjoy activities including fishing, sampling mud, and studying plankton, using equipment standard in the field. They will eat lunch on the water before returning in time for pick up.
The ship will return approximately 30 minutes before pick up--please plan to have your camper stay for the full day of camp.