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.

New in the Lab

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 we'll be happy to show you the aquarium. See if you can "find Nemo," see our live corals or spot a blue 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 10:30 am weekdays and 2:30 pm weekends (subject to change without advance notice). Play aquarium Bingo or complete a scavenger hunt to learn more about the inhabitants of the aquarium and earn a prize.

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 is divided into four areas:

The Atrium

This area is open to visitors of all ages. It provides an introduction to various life science concepts through the use of biological specimens and simple science tools available for you to use.

Activity Benches

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

  • Guidelines & Hours of Operation
    • Monday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 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 planaria 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
  • Click here for more information on our Scout Patches.
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 going on 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 and invertebrates. At each visit, you might see something different!
  • Axolotls in the Classroom - Did you love seeing our axolotls, or Mexican salamanders, in the Life Science Lab? Do you want to extend your learning experience about these amazing endangered animals and their ability to regenerate limbs? We are currently looking for 3rd to 5th grade teachers interested in keeping an axolotl in their classroom for Spring 2013. Your axolotl will come complete with care instructions and accompanying lesson plans. If interested, please e-mail A participation fee applies.
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.