On-site Group Programs

SERC offers programs Saturday and summer programs for organized groups of all ages and interests. Currently, due to COVID we are offering a limited number of programs, but these include our Timed Entry station program called "Shorelines," canoe trips, SERC talks, marsh hikes, and virtual programs. 

Here is the information for our popular Timed Entry Shorelines Program


Grades Served

All of our stations are now designed to be adapted to serve grades 1st-12th. Our experienced educators can adapt materials, and information, but the hands-on components are similar. For 1st-2nd grade students we will adapt programs to be entirely on land, and not the docks.


How many people can SERC accommodate on field trips during COVID restrictions?

We are only allowed 60 program participants at a time.



To book a field trip,you can fill out this form or contact Karen McDonald to purchase a pass with a fixed price based on vehicle type/capacity for up to 60 students a day.  Entire payment required at time of booking for passes, and includes free chaperone passes. You must book at least two weeks before your trip.

  • Bus type A+B= 10-29 passengers ($250/per bus)
  • Bus type C= 30- 50 students ($450/per bus)
  • Bus type D= 51-60 passengers ($500/per bus)
  • Bus type CTL (multifunctional smaller bus)= 11-25 ($250/per bus)
  • Combination of Buses= up 66-80 ($750 total per combination of vehicles)
  • Vans 10-15 passengers= $150 per van

Cars and minivans are rated on the number of individuals, see scale above, depending on the total number of students.

**Visitors must have a bus or vehicle pass to participate in activities. Groups may drop in if there is room, but must call Karen to check first and space is not guaranteed.


**Maximum sub-group size is 12 students. We recommend pre-dividing students so that you can make the most of your time at SERC, 5 during COVID restrictions.


If the group has more than each number of students, they should round up. For example, if you have 12 students, round up to 2 chaperones instead of one.


# Chaperones Needed


1 to 5 Ratio Adults to children


1:10 ratio adults to children

Special Needs Students

1:5 Ratio


There will always be at least four activities per day. Seining and Oysters will always run weather permitting as will the Microscopes/Magnification Station. Although you can’t pick your stations, as in previous years, we’ll still be running teacher favorites.

It is up to you how you schedule your arrival/departure, which activities student groups participate in, and when to have lunch (though there is a break daily from 11:30 am-12 pm). Activity times are fixed and will not be adjusted to accommodate the schedules of individual groups. 


Timed activities and free-flow stations are at the following times.

Start Time

End Time


9:40 am

9:50 am


10:00 am

10:45 am

Rotation 1

10:55 am

11:40 am

Rotation 2

11:30 am

12:10 pm


12:15 pm

1:00 pm

Rotation 3

1:10 pm

1:55 pm

Rotation 4

1:55 pm



Groups may stay until 5:30 pm when SERC Closes


*With small groups of 10-19 students we reserve the right to consolidate stations and offer them only once or twice during the day. We will let the group know when they arrive.

In case of weather:

  • Thunder &  lightening= cancelation
  • Light Rain= still run
  • If wind is over “small craft advisory” or unsafe on the docks, then we will move activities accordingly.  
  • All cancellation at discretion of SERC, we will rebook if needed
  • If weather is inclement, we reserve the right to change station locations or to change station topics.



**NOTE: Not all of these activities will run every day. There will always be at least four of these activities per day. Seining and Oysters will be scheduled everyday weather permitting.

  • Seining- open only at specific time intervals, ticketed by group, 5 students per group max. Rotations run about 45 minutes.
  • Oysters-on floating docks. Visitors meet in groups at the gate. Lifejackets will be behind the gate, and visitors must wait to put them on. Volunteers pick up groups and take to tables during open time blocks. Rotations run every 45 minutes or until a group finishes.
  • Microscope & Magnification Lab-set up with a wide variety of bay organisms, macro algae, and plankton, short introduction on use and then allow students to explore. Free flow, after one group finishes another may start. Groups may spend no more than 40 minutes at the station.
  • Tank Talks- 5 students per talk at tanks or Dinky. We will announce tank talks on our website or the day of your arrival if we add them to the roster.
  • E-DNA & River Herring-, students learn about DNA and River Herring project and extract DNA from apple sauce. Rotations run every 45 minutes.
  • Marsh Hike-participants sign up on a white board at the pavilion. A volunteer will meet the group and take them to the Marsh Overlook that sits along the Rhode River. Accommodates up to 5 students at a time. Rotations run every 45 minutes.



Some programs may be seasonally available, and we will make your group aware of them when you arrive, these include:

  • Terrapin Tank Talks
  • River Otters
  • Blue Crabs

We will be adding new programs regularly, so check back.


  • LUNCH: You may eat lunch any time you like. We have a picnic pavilion and tables behind the Reed Center. SERC has the right to reserve either of these areas depending on need or weather.
  • FOOD: Please note that there is no food or beverages available onsite.
  • SUGGESTED LIST OF THINGS TO BRING: Once you register, we will send you a confirmation and a list of suggested things to bring to make your stay more enjoyable.
  • STUDENT MEDICATIONS AND FIRST AID- You are responsible for carrying and managing student medications, and for handling first aid needs.



  • Canoe Trips are designed for ages 8 and older
  • Trips last 2.5 hours
  • We can accommodate up to 18 individuals per trip
  • For students 13 and older there must be at least 2 adults
  • Children under 13 must be accompanied in a canoe with an adult
  • We can fit up to 3 people per canoe (two in seats and one in the middle)
  • All individuals must be able to swim 
  • The cost is $20/person, $300 minimum
  • We provide life jackets, paddles, and instruction as well as a guide
  • If there are high winds or thunder and lightening we reserve the right to reschedule
  • There is the possibility of adding two stations to your day, with canoeing in the morning and stations in the afternoon (this would include Seining, Microscopes, Marsh Hike, Oysters, or eDNA). There is an additional $5 fee per person. You can increase your group numbers to 36 by doing stations and canoe swaps am and pm
  • For more information, contact Karen McDonald (


  • Marsh hikes last 1.5-2 hours and go roughly 1.2 miles round trip
  • There is some uneven terrain and hills, the footing is gravel and steps
  • Guides will take you to our most beloved spot, Hog Island, which is an old growth forest surrounded by marsh
  • Along the way you'll learn about marshes, SERC research, and some plant and animal natural history
  • Suggested for ages 8 and older
  • Cost: $15/person, $300 minimum

Our educators offer a variety of talk and programs that we can tailor to your group. These can be virtual, for up to 60 people or in person for up to 30 people: 

  • Introduction to SERC research (1 hour, $8/person, $250 min.)-suggested for high school and adults
  • Introduction to Orchids (1 hour, $8/person, $250 min.)-suggested for high school and adults
  • River Otters of the Chesapeake Bay (1 hour, $8/person, $250 min.)-versions available for K-2nd, 3rd-8th, and mixed audiences/adults
  • Terrapins and Turtles, with our live ambassador turtle (1 hour, $8/person, $250 min)-suggested for K-2nd
  • Sharks of the Chesapeake Bay (1 hour, $8/person, $250 min)-suggested for 3rd-8th

For more information about the talks, please email Karen McDonald (