S.E.A. Lab

Sanibel Sea School’s Science Experiments & Activities (S.E.A.) Lab is a mobile learning laboratory that teaches the joys of marine science on-the-go. The goal of this program, which launched in summer 2022, is to expose students to marine science and technology, independent of their location. With microscopes, a smart TV, touch tank, and various lab equipment, it provides fun, hands-on experiments for all ages.

The S.E.A Lab helps facilitate education in two ways: Outdoor education in the field, and on-the-go, hands-on education at schools, libraries, and community centers. There's no limit to where it can go.

How It Works

We offer five pre-designed labs. Each lab can be tailored for specific age ranges and modified to fit different time frames.


While microplastics are small and often invisible to the naked eye, their impact on marine ecosystems is the opposite. Microplastics can enter the ocean as small particles, like microbeads in cosmetics, fibers from polyester clothing, and eventually through the breakdown of larger plastics.

In this lab, we use sieves and microscopes to search for the presence of microplastics in local sediment samples. Students learn how to distinguish between natural and non-natural materials, identify types of microplastics, and draw conclusions about the impact that they have on the environment.

Squid Dissection

Close relatives to snails and clams, squids are named for their 'head-foot' arrangement. Some squids are shelled, some are shell-less, and all are unusual and seemingly otherworldly! Along with octopuses, squid are perhaps the most intelligent invertebrate animals. These creatures also display  features that make them great study subjects for convergent evolution.

Through dissecting a sustainably harvested squid, young scientists observe how form fits function in cephalopod anatomy and learn about adaptations that help squids act as both predator and prey.


Plankton is made up of both plants and animals, large and small, that cannot move against the stronger oceanic currents — though many have some form of locomotion to move up and down in the water column.

In this lab, students use microscopes to discover the life within a single drop of water. Water samples are collected from local marine environments the day of the lab for a current view into Southwest Florida’s plankton communities. By the end of the session, students gain an understanding of how these often microscopic creatures have a larger-than-life impact on the ocean and what can happen if the ecosystem becomes unbalanced.

Water Quality

Water quality refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water. Depending on the source and use of the water being tested, different variables and requirements are necessary to determine the “health” of the water.

This lab tests both freshwater and saltwater samples. Students use equipment to determine temperature, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, nitrite and nitrates, calcium carbonate, and total dissolved solids in both samples. Based on our results, we determine if the freshwater sample is suitable for drinking and if the saltwater sample is suitable for marine life.

Creature Feature

Physiology and ecology are the focus areas for this lab. Thanks to a custom touch tank in the S.E.A. Lab, we can safely transport live creatures to your facility. The creatures we bring vary seasonally and are released after each visit.

Students use their senses to make observations about an animal’s anatomy and draw conclusions about a creature’s habitat and diet based on these structures. Observations in the lab are combined with what we know about the animals wild habits so that students can answer questions about how each creature interacts with its physical surroundings.

Each S.E.A. Lab session is set up by the hour, with a recommended length per lab of 1 hour. 

Group Size Rate per Hour (up to 3 hours)
  • 10-25: $75
  • 25-50: $100

If you are located outside of Lee County, there is an additional $50 charge included for transportation fees.

If there are more than 50 students, we can break the visit up into multiple 3-hour blocks or different days.

We never want financial barriers to be a reason to prevent students from experiencing our programs, so if the price prohibits you from booking, please let us know. Sanibel Sea School is proud to have a scholarship fund that can be used to offset the cost of the visit. Anything you can contribute, however, will go directly towards helping us explore the ocean with more students in the future.

Request a Visit

S.E.A. Lab visits are typically scheduled Monday through Friday based on our availability. To set up a session, please email sanibelseaschool@sccf.org with answers to the following questions:

  • How many students? Please include grade/age.

  • Which labs are of interest?

  • Desired length of the visit?

  • Potential dates and/or what time of year were you looking for the lab to visit?

  • Where are you located?

In the Field

The S.E.A. Lab can also be utilized beach-side during our field trips. View more information on school group trips here.

Follow the S.E.A. Lab's Journey