The Life Science Lab is a space dedicated to educational programming, offering up unique and scientifically authentic experiences in the areas of genetics, biotechnology, agriculture, medicine and health. You can explore the life sciences using artifacts and tools, and engage in experiments and hands-on, inquiry-based explorations.

Become a Life Science Lab expert!
Receive a punch card and collect a punch for each activity bench you complete. Complete all seven to become an expert! Ask staff in tie dye lab coats in the lab for more information. 

Vital Science
Have you ever wondered what life is like for the creatures that live in the ocean?  Find out about Life at Depth at our updated Vital Science exhibit.

The Life Science Lab includes:

Activity Benches

Here you’ll find self-guided and self-paced hands-on activities where visitors get to wear lab coats, safety glasses and gloves to work with the real tools of scientists.

  • Guidelines & Hours of Operation
  • Monday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Last entrance to the activity benches will be 15 minutes before closing).
  • Visitors must be 5 years old to enter the activity bench area.
  • Visitors 5-9 years old must work with an adult (3 children per 1 adult).
  • Visitors 10 and up may work by themselves.
  • All visitors must wear a lab coat and safety glasses. Gloves may also be required depending on activity.
  • Some of the activities you can do are:
  • See DNA Without a Microscope – isolate and observe DNA from wheat
  • Put Your Finger On It – examine your fingerprints and discover details in fingerprints that investigators use in forensics science while you solve a mystery
  • Seeing Cells – see your very own cheek cells under a microscope
  • Be a Crime Scene Investigator – solve a crime using paper chromatography
  • Life in the Lab – meet isopod and other model organisms that scientists use in their studies of biology
  • Moving Microliters - learn how to use an important scientific tool, the micropipet
  • NEW! Transfusion Confusion - determine the blood type of a patient undergoing surgery

The Pacific Coral Reef aquarium is now open in the Life Science Lab Classroom. Visitors are welcome to step into the Classroom any time it's not in use and take a look at our Pacific reef ecosystem. If you're not sure where to look, just ask a staff member and they’ll be happy to show you the aquarium. See if you can "find Nemo," see our live corals or spot a brittle sea star. Use our new touch screen exhibit to identify our reef organisms and learn about the many symbiotic relationships they form. Fish feeding time is posted daily near the Life Science Workroom window.  Life Science staff facilitate two daily feedings while answering questions about the reef and ocean ecology. 

The Staff Workroom

Through the large glass window, you can get a behind-the-scenes look into the workings of a real laboratory. This area is open only to staff and volunteers. Some of the exciting things on display in the Staff Workroom are:

Model Organisms - Model organisms are any type of organism that scientists use in the lab to help them understand more about life on Earth. At the Life Science Lab we have several examples of model organisms! Stop by to check out our birds, fish, salamanders, frogs  and invertebrates. At each visit, you might see something different!

Microbiology- Living organisms can be so small that you can only see them under a microscope!  In the workroom window, you can find agar streak plates, where bacterial colonies are regularly grown on a gelatin called agar.  Other microscopic life can be found in the phytoplankton and copepod reactor, where photosynthetic algae and microscopic crustaceans abound in a lighted aquatic chamber.

The Lab Classroom

This area is for visitors of all ages and offers many educational programs. Find more information about Family Med School. Check the calendar for free events that may be happening in the Lab Classroom. Looking for on-site Life Science programs? We offer hands-on, activity based paid programs for groups. Click here to learn more.