While all aquariums have the potential to be fantastic educational field trips, there are some that go above and beyond in their education programs. The list below covers eight great educational aquariums in the United States. If you are lucky enough to live close to one of these great resources, it may be worth it to take the time to talk with their education staff about ways you can implement learning into your class field trip, as well as, when you return to the classroom. If you are not close by, visit the aquariums’ Websites for teaching resources that are available to everyone.
Aquariums with Educator Resources
Baltimore may not seem like a mecca for aquatic life, but The National Aquarium, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is one of the most renowned aquariums in the country. If you are a teacher in the Baltimore area, you may qualify to apply to be a Teacher-in-Residence for a close-up, first-hand look at the aquarium. In addition to field trip planning guides, the aquarium’s Website also offers great resources for teachers, students and group leaders.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has some of the best teacher resources available from any aquarium. From field trip planners to curriculum ideas to web cams, they help you bring the aquarium into the classroom. For the more adventurous, there are SCUBA diving courses, sailing and behind the scenes programs that are offered for kids of all ages.
Want to go behind the scenes and see what happens at Sea World on a daily basis? Then check out their Up Close Tours for adventures that are sure to make a lifelong impression. Their education page offers web cams, origami instructions and more to keep kids invested in aquatic life.
From field trips to summer camps to college courses, Shedd Aquarium’s focus is on fun and learning for all ages. The aquarium opened in 1930 and was designed after consulting with some of the top aquariums throughout the world during that time. Since then the aquarium has doubled in size and is one of the leading attractions and educational destinations in the Chicago area. Check out their Educator’s Resources for lesson ideas, continuing education opportunities and to sign-up for their free newsletter.
One of the best things about Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium, is that they offer programs that immerse children in learning during their visits. With leader-led programs, as well as, planned group presentations, children get to explore underwater life in a fun and unique way. The aquarium’s website offers web cams, online puzzles, job descriptions for aquarium positions, and so much more. For a unique class project, consider adopting an animal at the aquarium at the beginning of the school year and visiting him as a year-end field trip.
Have you ever wanted to spend the night at an aquarium? If so, Adventure Aquarium offers parents, children and groups a chance to sleep over. They also offer awesome aquatic adventures with a chance to swim with the sharks or train the seals. Their School Groups/Educators Resources page offers downloadable field trip guides and tools that were designed to meet the Core Curriculum Content Standards for math, science and more.
The Tennessee Aquarium, one of the top rated aquariums in the United States, has a passion for education and children. They offer year-round programs for schools, scouts, homeschoolers and teachers. Whether you are looking for a class field trip or a chance to earn some continuing education credits, the Tennessee Aquarium has it all. If you are not local, they also offer Distance Learning opportunities to bring the aquarium right to your classroom! Check out their Educational Resources for everything you need to teach children about topics from the Gulf Oil Spill to penguins.
Long Island, NY
In addition to their amazing offerings for schools and families, Long Island Aquarium also offers children ten and up a chance to learn what it is like to be a trainer. From snorkeling with tropical fish to programs designed for even the youngest learners, Long Island Aquarium has something for everyone. Check out their Education page for more details about field trips, educational programs, free lesson plans and podcasts.
Is there an aquarium that you love that didn’t make the list? Leave a comment below letting us know where it is and why you love it!