Oceans-to-Classrooms | REEF

An Ocean View of the World

Oceans-to-Classrooms | The REEF

Nothing is more exciting and educational than a hands-on experience with the natural environment right in our own front Yard: the Santa Barbara Channel!

children in the reef aquarium


Oceans-to-Classrooms (O2C) and the REEF endeavour to provide “An Ocean View of the World” to people of all ages to increase science literacy and inspire environmental stewardship of our Ocean resources through education. Oceans-to-Classrooms is dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of our Ocean planet.

The Research Experience & Education Facility, better known as The REEF, is UCSB’s teaching aquarium. Located at Campus Point Beach, the REEF is part of the Marine Science Institute’s (MSI) Oceans-to-Classrooms (O2C) education and outreach program. Equipped with state-of-the-art touch tanks and aquaria, The REEF provides an “Ocean View of the World” for students in Southern California including Santa Barbara, Ventura, Kern, Los Angeles, San Diego, and beyond! The REEF’s unique method of instruction and science communication utilizes current and on-going research at UCSB and aligns it with Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Combined with strategic on-campus partnerships with the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and the Office of Education Partnerships, as well as other environmental and science departments, MSI produces high level science, literacy and pedagogical programs for K-12 students, teachers, college courses and the community-at-large. 

Please consider donating to The REEF. Anything helps.



Find what works for you

Through off-campus collaborations with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the Santa Barbara County Education Office, MSI creates very meaningful place-based curricula for K12 students and professional development opportunities for teachers. Through our web-based content, MSI has the capacity to bring our “Ocean View of the World” to students all around this Ocean Planet.

For scheduling requests, please email inquiries to our REEF Program Coordinator at outreach@msi.ucsb.edu or call us at 805.893.8765.

kids at ucsb's the reef
UCSB undergrad student showing a sea urchin to SBHS student
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to meet your classroom’s needs
UCSB REEF Scott Simon shows Magic Globe to Harding School students
Teachers + Educators
Year-round, professional development opportunities
Large aquarium at The REEF UCSB
College Labs
Support of any of your curricular needs through interactive outreach
Grade school girl holds a big crab at The REEF beach
After school programs, youth camps, adult groups, and more

Working at The REEF

Find the opportunity that best fits you

Oceans-To-Classrooms (O2C) provides volunteer, and paid internships for

  • UCSB undergraduate
  • Graduate Students
  • College Prep Internship Program (for HS Students)

For more information, please email our REEF Program Coordinator at outreach@msi.ucsb.edu or call us at 805.893.8765.



The REEF at MSI trains qualified volunteer marine science guides. REEF guides are responsible for leading programs, and also work with REEF Aquarists to care for the REEF facility.


The REEF offers opportunities for graduate students in educational outreach for science literacy and teaching.

High School

The REEF College Prep Internship provides an opportunity for high school students to gain practical experience related to marine biology, science communication/education aquarium facilities by working with REEF staff and interns.

Public Hours

Have you ever wanted to hold a sea hare or lobster?
Come down to The REEF for Open Door!
We are open to the public every Friday/Saturday (except for major holidays) during our Open Door hours. The REEF is always FREE of charge.
For more information, please email our REEF Program Coordinator at outreach@msi.ucsb.edu or call us at 805.893.8765.


Friday 4:00pm–5:00pm
Saturday 11:00am–2:00pm

Winter 2024 Open Door Dates:*

January 26th–March 16th
The REEF will be closed this Saturday, February 17th.

*Subject to change. Please email our REEF Program Coordinator at outreach@msi.ucsb.edu for the latest dates/hours.

The VirtualREEF

Spend your Day @ The REEF watching our YouTube Channel