Ocean Heroes

Calling all future marine biologists, conservationists, and ocean stewards!

Ocean Heroes is an after school science program designed for children ages 8-12. Children are engaged in marine science and conservation topics, and this school year we have a lot of exciting new activities planned including: hands-on lab activities, STEM professional guest speakers, and offsite excursions!  Monthly activities correspond with different and intriguing conservation themes designed to educate, build awareness, and interest about the environment and marine life. This program meets once a month from October to May. Outside of the program, opportunities will be highlighted to participate in local community efforts that help protect our planet, such as beach cleanups, and environmental restoration events.

Cost: $250 per child. Full payment is required at registration.

Time: 4-6 pm one Friday per month. For a list of our upcoming program dates please see the Ocean Heroes 2019-2020 Tentative Schedule below.

Ocean Heroes 2019-2020 Tentative Schedule:

  • Friday, October 4, 2019

  • Friday, November 1, 2019

  • Friday, December 6, 2019

  • Friday, January 10, 2020

  • Friday, February 7, 2020

  • Friday, March 6, 2020

  • Friday, April 3, 2020 * (Field Trip to the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy)

  • Friday, May 1, 2020

  • Friday, May 8, 2020* (Whale Watching)

    NOTE: All activities and topics are subject to change.


2019-2020 Ocean Heroes Curriculum:

Throughout the program, newly appointed ocean stewards will learn an incredible array of information, including:

PMMC to the rescue! We will learn about the common marine mammal patients we care for at our hospital. Ocean Heroes take a tour of our critical care area with PMMC’s own Animal Care Coordinator. We will explore the process our animal care team goes through to rescue marine mammals and how we can help protect these animals in the wild. Hear exciting stories of the wildest rescues our team has taken on! After observing marine mammal patients, we will explore our artistic side by drawing, and creating songs about seals/sea lions.

70 percent of our planet is covered with water. Water is one of the main building blocks of life. How do marine mammals obtain freshwater when they live in a marine desert that they cannot drink? We will investigate marine mammal adaptations for living in the ocean. We will also examine freshwater macroinvertebrates and marine plankton species under a microscope and discuss how the presence of different species can be used to determine the health of the environment.

Salt Marshes are teaming with life! We will discover why salt marshes are important for marine mammals, as nurseries for the food marine mammals eat, their function as natural filters, and how they serve as protective barriers to harmful storm surges.  A guest presenter will come and lead a chat about the unique wildlife species that call these beautiful habitats home. We will also create a hands salt marsh themed craft to take home.  

Marine Mammal Rehabilitation: Often when our marine mammal patients first come in to the hospital they are underweight, and dehydrated. We will learn how our animal care team cares for these patients while talking with one of PMMC’s Animal Care Supervisors. We will have the chance to hear some marine mammal rehabilitation stories and see videos of how we nurse sick animals back to health. Afterward, we will test our new found skills with a “mock” tube feeding activity. We will then work in small groups to complete a marine mammal themed scavenger hunt.


Most marine mammals rely upon sound for communication, foraging, navigation and predator avoidance. Scientists at the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) explore the sounds marine mammals make, the sounds they hear, and the effect of human-made sound has on them. The NMMF has developed instrumentation that tests the hearing of stranded wild marine mammals. NMMF personnel will join Ocean Heroes and show how they record and then ‘view’ the sounds marine mammals produce on a spectrogram. Students will record their own voices and see how they differ from the signature whistles of dolphins!


Ocean Health Begins at home! Discover how our everyday activities impact the ocean. We will chat with a youth conservation activist to learn about the project they are currently working on and how we can help. Ocean Heroes will work in small groups to develop conservation message pages which will be compiled into a conservation action booklet they can take home with them at the end of the program.

The National Marine Mammal Foundation joins Ocean Heroes again to share their marine mammal conservation efforts, with endangered and threatened species such as bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, California Sea Lions, and the critically endangered Vaquita porpoise. Children will discover the exciting field of marine mammal biology, ecology, and marine mammal research. Most importantly, kids will engage with real STEM professionals in Marine Mammal Science and learn what THEY can do to help!

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May Offsite Excursions:

In May, we take offsite excursions to explore the wonders of the ocean! Ocean Heroes will have the chance to participate in a free optional field trip to the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy where we will have the chance to tour the interpretive center and the beautiful Magnolia Marsh. Ocean Heroes will have the opportunity to attend a whale watching trip and use knowledge gained throughout the program to aid in PMMC’s citizen science (additional fees apply).

*Photo Credit: Mark Girardeau & Roxy Grant

Junior Counselor Volunteer Program:

If you are 14-17 years old, you may apply for our Junior Camp Counselor Volunteer Program. As a Junior Counselor you will gain experience setting up hands on labs and activities, mentoring young children, and much more. This a fun way to earn community service hours, learn more about our marine mammals and the marine environment. To apply please complete the following application and email it to: Education@pacificmmc.org.

What people are saying about our afterschool program

100% of evaluation respondents felt the program activities were highly engaging

We love you guys!! Ram is the best!! Keep up the great work and lead us in to the future! We need you now more than ever. Thank you for everything!!
— 5/12/2017 8:29 PM
My daughter has loved being a part of Kids Club, she especially loved learning facts about the marine mammals.
— 5/8/2017 10:37 AM