Education Programs

Field Trips

Overview

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Thank you for choosing the National Aquarium for a school field trip! A visit to the Aquarium is your students' passport to discovering the world's aquatic treasures. These steps will guide you through the process of planning a field trip to the Aquarium.

Reservations for the 2018-2019 school year will be taken beginning on June 13, 2018, at 9 am.

Maryland teachers must complete the teacher orientation workshop, which provides helpful resources and allows you to look at the Aquarium's exhibits to help prepare for your field trip.

Helpful Tips to Get You Started

  • Work from your school's calendar to select visitation dates that allow enough time to meet deposit and final payment deadlines.
  • Select several possible dates and be flexible with entry times between 10 and 11:30 am. Tickets sell out quickly, so consider visiting after lunch.
  • Avoid the crowds by scheduling your class visit during our off-peak times: September, December (prior to Christmas), afternoons October through March, and Mondays from October to May.
  • Aquarium admission fees are listed in Step 2.

Step 1: View Aquarium Programs

Enhance your field trip experience through scientific investigations, hands-on discovery activities, presentations and encounters with live animals in one of the Aquarium's classroom or auditorium programs. All programs support the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum. Teacher booklets are available to provide classroom activities that prepare your students for the program and facilitate reflection and discussion after the visit. Where appropriate, activities model performance assessment.

Fees and availability of programs are subject to change. Program fees are waived for the first 3,000 Maryland school students with a reservation. Programs are offered October 1, 2018, through April 12, 2019:

Aquatic Critters (Grades Pre-K through 1)

Horseshoe crab, hermit crab, whelk—oh my! Touch and learn about the remarkable horseshoe crab that appears on Atlantic beaches each spring. What do a hermit crab and a whelk have in common? They live in the same shell, but at different times. Examine a live whelk and hermit crab, as well as artifacts from these animals.

Grades: Pre-K through 1
Program length: 20 minutes
Live animal: Yes
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 10-50
Cost: $5 per person

Maryland Backyard (Grades Pre-K through 1)

What kind of animals can you find right here in the state of Maryland? Take a trip into the Aquarium's backyard as we discover ravens, squirrels, opossums and deer. Listen as our friend Randy the Raccoon introduces us to these wild neighbors and help him solve the problems of his forest friends. Meet a real Maryland native and learn how to make a happy home for him, as well as examine artifacts from these animals.

Grades: Pre-K through 1
Program length: 30 minutes
Live animal: Yes
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 10-50
Cost: $5 per person

Adaptations (Grades 2 through 4)

Students become detectives looking for clues about the "creature lab coat" as they deduce how adaptations help animals survive. Observe, compare and study adaptations of live animals.

Grades: 2 through 4
Program length: 45 minutes
Live animal: Yes
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 12-64
Cost: $7 per person

Bountiful Biomes (Grades 2 through 4)

Investigate biomes all over the world, ranging from the distant rain forests and deserts to the forests found just outside the schoolyard. Discover how animals use adaptations to survive in these very different places.

Grades: 2 to 4
Program length: 45 minutes
Live animal: Yes
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 12-64
Cost: $7 per person

Chesapeake Bay Explorations (Grades 4 through 6)

Oysters are indicators of the Chesapeake Bay's health. Test water samples, measure oysters and draw conclusions about the state of the Bay.

Grades: 4 through 6
Program length: 45 minutes
Live animal: No
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 12-64
Cost: $7 per person

Squid Dissection Lab (Grades 5 through 12)

Investigate an unusual mollusk through discussion and dissection. Discover how form and function of the squid's basic anatomy help this efficient predator survive in the ocean.

Grades:5 through 12
Program length: 45 minutes
Live animal: No
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 12-64
Cost: $7 per person

Aquarium Careers — National Aquarium Animal Rescue (Grades 6 through 12)

Ever wonder what National Aquarium Animal Rescue does? Learn how the Aquarium rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine animals. Follow the story of one of our rescued animals and learn how to diagnosis their condition, treat them and release them back into the ocean. Students will also learn what they can do to aid marine animals.

Grades: 6 through 12
Program length: 45 minutes
Live animal: No
Days offered: Monday through Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday through Friday; 1 pm Tuesday through Thursday
Number of students: 12-64
Cost: $7 per person

Phylum Lab (Grades 7 through 12)

Did you know that 98 percent of all animals are classified into eight main categories called phyla? Investigate the characteristics of each phyla through live animals and artifacts.

Grades: 7 through 12
Program length: 75 minutes
Live animal: Yes
Days offered: Wednesday
Times offered: 9:30 am
Number of students: 12-32
Cost: $10 per person

Behind-the-Scenes Tour (Grades 9 through 12)

Designed for advanced high school biology groups, the tour emphasizes water chemistry, animal care, exhibit maintenance and aquarium careers. Walk through back-up areas to experience new sights, sounds and smells! Aligns with Maryland High School Core Learning Goal, Biology 3.6.2: Investigate a biological issue (societal roles of aquaria and zoos) and defend a position.

Grades: 9 through 12
Program length: 90 minutes
Live animal: No
Days offered: Tuesday through Thursday
Times offered: 1:00 pm
Number of students: 12-40
Cost: $10 per person

Step 2: View Fees and Chaperone Requirements

Tour the Aquarium with your students and chaperones weekdays from September 1, 2018, to June 21, 2019. Advance reservations are required for all school groups.

Admission Fees

Fees and availability of free admission are subject to change. Fees are applicable Monday to Friday for schools with a reservation.

Maryland Schools

Students in grades Pre-K through 12 are FREE from September 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019. Teachers from some counties in Maryland must attend the Aquarium's teacher orientation to qualify for free admission.

The prices below are per person.

September 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019
Grades Pre-K through 12: Aquarium admission: FREE; 4D film: $5

March 1 through June 21, 2019
Grades Pre-K through 6: Aquarium admission: $18.95; 4D film: $5
Grades 7 through 12: Aquarium admission: $21.95; 4D film: $5

Chaperone rates within ratio (see chaperone requirements below):

Aquarium admission: FREE; 4D film: $5

Chaperone rates beyond ration (see chaperone requirements below):
Aquarium admission: $27.95; 4D film: $5

Out-of-State Schools

September 1, 2018 through June 21, 2019
Pre-K through 6: Aquarium admission: $17.95; 4D film: $5
Grades 7 through 12: Aquarium admission: $23.95; 4D film: $5

Program Fees

The Aquarium's education programs are free to the first 3,000 Maryland school students with a reservation. There is a limit of three programs per school per year. For program information and fees, click on the Step 1 tab above.

Deposit

A deposit of $75 and all fees for education programs are due 21 days prior to your visit date. Deposit requirements for Maryland groups with free admission may vary. Purchase orders and vouchers are not accepted in lieu of payment.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

You must cancel your reservation more than 21 days before your scheduled visit to receive a full refund of payments. If you cancel your reservation less than 21 days before your scheduled visit or fail to arrive at your scheduled entry time, you forfeit the deposit and all program fees. Maryland groups with free admission will be assessed a $75 cancellation fee.

Group Size

Each group must have a minimum of 15 students who are over the age of 3. The maximum group size for grades Pre-K and K is 60 students, and for grades 1 through 12 is 125 students. Group size limits vary according to availability—larger groups may be split and assigned multiple reservations and entry times.

Chaperone Requirements

Each group must be accompanied by adult chaperones at all times. Teachers count as chaperones.

Grades Number of Adults Free Number of Adults Required
Pre-K and K 1 adult per 5 students 1 adult per 5 students
1 through 6 1 adult per 6 students 1 adult per 10 students
7 through 12 1 adult per 10 students 1 adult per 10 students
Special Ed 1 adult per student 1 adult per 10 students

Chaperone rates within ratio:

Aquarium admission: Free

4D film: $5

Chaperone counts above and beyond these ratios pay the school group chaperone rate:

Aquarium admission: $27.95

4D film: $5

Step 3: Make a Reservation

To request a field trip or any of the education programs, please fill out this form. Once submitted, your request will be processed by the Central Reservations department. You will be contacted with any questions regarding your request. You will receive an email confirmation once your request has been processed. To contact the Central Reservations department about your request:

Phone: 410-576-3833

Fax: 410-986-2334

Email: reserve@aqua.org

Upon receipt of your reservation confirmation, please verify all information and return the signed agreement with your deposit. You must confirm your reservation at least 21 days prior to your visit to prevent cancellation.

Step 4: Download Additional Planning Resources

Pre-trip Planning Packet
Parent Newsletter (Spanish)
Outreach Pre-trip Planning Packet
Prepare for your upcoming field trip to the National Aquarium.

Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt Answers
Download this fun and engaging scavenger hunt for chaperones and groups of students, grades 1 through 5.

Adaptations Scavenger Hunt
Adaptations Scavenger Hunt Answers
Conservation Scavenger Hunt
Conservation Scavenger Hunt Answers
Download these engaging scavenger hunts for grades 6 through 8.

Box Lunch Menu and Order Form
Great for groups! Pre-order box lunches for the day of your visit.

Photo Package Options
School group pricing is available for photos.

Teacher's Curriculum Guide
This guide prepares teachers and chaperones for a successful and educational field trip to the National Aquarium.

Student Activity Guide, Grades 3 through 5
Student Activity Guide, Grades 6 through 8
Student Activity Guide, Grades 9 through 12
These guides provide activities for before, during and after a field trip to the National Aquarium. All activities are aligned with the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum.

Teacher Booklets
Teacher booklets contain pre- and post-Aquarium visit activities covering a variety of subjects for students of all grades.

Back to the Top

Please fill out this form to request a field trip.

To contact the Central Reservations department, call 410-576-3833, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4:30 pm, or email reserve@aqua.org.

Field Trips

Maryland Schools Visit Free

Maryland students in grades Pre-K through 12 can visit the National Aquarium for a field trip at no cost from September 1, 2018, to March 15, 2019.

Teachers must attend the Aquarium's teacher orientation to qualify for free admission.

4D Theater

4D Immersion Films

The Aquarium's 4D Immersion Theater will bring you closer to the sights, sounds, and smells of the action.

Shows Daily

Harbor Market Kitchen

Dine at the Aquarium

Field Trip Guide: Chaperones

chaperone

Field Trip Guide: Teachers

teachers