SEEK! Study, Experience, Explore, Know

At The Riviera Ridge School, we SEEK out authentic opportunities for experiential learning to serve as a vital part of our vigorous academic programming.

Travel and Field Study Educational Tours

An RRS Education takes full advantage of the wealth of learning opportunities that fill the city of Santa Barbara. Off-campus excursions ensure our students are immersed in the local community as much as possible and inspired to continually make it better.

Field trips include outings to local cultural and historical sites, such as symphony concerts, art, and natural history museums, the Presidio and Casa de la Guerra, the botanic gardens, the Santa Barbara Mission, the UCSB Chemistry Lab, and the Reagan Library, or Lotusland.

See below for more information about overnight trips beginning in 4th grade to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and culminating in 5th grade with Astro Camp, an exciting science camp that explores the mysteries of our universe.

The sky’s the limit at The Riviera Ridge School!

Middle school students jump right in with our beginning of the year signature school trips.RRS study tours These week-long grade level excursions ensure that both the students and teachers create a vital bond right from the start by creating amazing new memories together. In 4th and 5th grades students participate in trips ranging from 1-3 nights in the spring, working up to the week-long adventure in middle school.

Through the lens of our Signature co-curricular programs, Kaleidoscope  & STEAM2, our overnight school trips allow our 4th-8th graders to take a deep dive into a unique course of study that not only bonds them but also pushes themselves outside of their comfort zones while learning about the world around them. Students build lasting friendships, cultivate a sense of perseverance and wonder, and often surprise themselves with what they’re capable of.

Over the years our students have explored Catalina Island, backpacked in the Sierras, navigated the urban landscape of downtown Los Angeles, ziplined over vineyards on the Central Coast, hiked on glaciers in Iceland, toured Denali National Park in Alaska, and we will now return to Costa Rica! We also ensure that students are taking advantage of all of the beauty and adventure in our own backyard by enjoying full-day field trips to explore Santa Barbara County, such as kayaking at Refugio Beach, hiking in our local mountains, and checking out local museums, and more.

Grade Level Overnight Experiences

4th grade: Overnight Santa Barbara Zoo

Our 4th graders will get to sleep under the stars and wake up at the Zoo! The Safari Sleepovers include after-hours tours, giraffe feedings, an evening snack, and animal encounters our scholars will not forget. They will learn about animals and California history and sleep under the stars during this program tailor-made for California fourth graders.

5th grade: AstroCamp

AstroCamp is located in the San Jacinto Mountains near the town of Idyllwild. AstroCamp’s expert instructors guide students through an exploration of the universe with astronomy labs, physical science labs, field exercises, and team-building activities. AstroCamp is designed to stimulate minds, build character, develop social skills, and most importantly, create excitement about science.

6th grade: CIMI - Southern California Marine Life

Students will explore Toyon Bay, Catalina at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI). The Toyon Bay campus features state-of-the-art science labs, classrooms, aquariums, and recreational facilities for fascinating marine science, as well as adventure activities including snorkeling, ocean kayaking, hiking, climbing wall, and more!

7th grade: Northern California (Northern CA & Holocaust Museum) - STEAM Study Tour

Our 7th grade Fall trip is designed to incorporate all elements of STEM learning. Our students will be exploring Northern California. Our students will get to explore the California Academy of the Sciences: One of the 10 largest natural history museums in the world, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, sites in San Francisco including Alcatraz and Chinatown and finish up rock climbing in Yosemite!

8th grade: Costa Rica - Cultural Immersion & Environmental Studies

Students will explore the lush rainforests and incredible wildlife of Costa Rica! Students will return home to tell you all about the Sarapiqui rainforests, the Arenal Volcano hot springs, and ziplining over the Monteverde canopies. Our students will learn STEAM concepts and experience field ecology firsthand.

Grade Level Field Experiences

  • History Study Tours
  • Kaleidoscope Ethics Study Tour
  • Kaleidoscope & Capstone Study Tour

Optional School Break Trips

As part of our Honor and Elective Programs, during our Winter and Spring Breaks, our students have participated in the Junior Theater Festival, explored the US Virgin Islands, and visited our nation's capital Washington DC. These biennial trips allow for our Middle School students to participate in multiple opportunities during their time at Riviera Ridge.

Stay Wild Middle School Elective & Field Study Tour

RRS study toursFor this elective field trip, students will travel to Virgin Islands National Park (VINP) and participate in a variety of field sampling, citizen science, and service projects. Before departure for the Islands, the “Stay Wild” elective teaches STEAM2 skills through the integration of ecology, natural resource management, conservation ethics, and computer mapping technology. Students learn ecological sampling, ArcGIS mapping, the societal benefits of biodiversity, and how to work with indigenous people groups to better protect wildlands.

Students learn about and monitor endangered species, participate in a citizen science project on how shoreline changes affect sea turtle nesting, learn how to monitor coral reefs for biodiversity and kayak through an endangered mangrove forest while learning how the coral reef and the mangroves are adapting to climatic changes. Lastly, they will participate in trail work for Virgin Islands National Park and learn how national parks contribute to the global economy while preserving local culture and traditions.

Junior Theater Festival 

Students in our Honors Theater program have the opportunity to participate in the West Coast Junior Theater Festival, The Junior Theater Festival is sponsored by Playbill, Disney Musicals, and Music Theatre International and brings together student musical theater troupes from all over the world. 

While attending the festival, students present a required fifteen-minute excerpt from a Broadway show for adjudication by a panel of musical theater experts. The weekend also features professional development for teachers, workshops for students, a New Works Showcase featuring new musical adaptations soon to be released, and concludes with a grand finale concert headlined by Broadway’s best! 

In 2023, with 38 schools representing 1500+ students from around the United States and South Korea, our very own Riviera Ridge cast was one of 5 schools honored with the Excellence in Ensemble Performance Award, and three RRS 7th students were recognized for excellence in individual performance opportunities.

Democracy Elective 

Our Middle School Democracy elective uses our nation's founding principles to research, discuss, and understand our past and present, as well as hopes for the future.  We will look at pivotal points in history and reflect on their legacies. The culmination of this course is a study tour to Washington, D.C. 

Washington, D.C. is a vibrant city with a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience the history and culture of our country and the demographics of our nation’s capital. There are so many reasons to visit the USA’s capital city, but here are a few standouts -- The Smithsonian Museums, Arlington National Cemetery, the Mall memorials, and Mount Vernon. In addition, Springtime in DC is fantastic: sunny days, no humidity, blue skies, and burgeoning cherry blossoms.