Education Programs

Field Trips

We are thrilled that you have chosen the National Aquarium for a school field trip. A visit to the Aquarium is your students' passport to discovering the world's aquatic treasures! The steps above guide you to all the resources you need to plan your trip.

Reservations for the 2016–2017 school year will be accepted beginning June 15, 2016, at 9 am

For Maryland teachers, these steps should include completing 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 from 10–11:30 am. The tickets sell out quickly, so consider visiting after lunch.
  • Avoid the crowds and schedule your class visit during our off-peak times: September, December (prior to Christmas), afternoons in October–March, and Mondays in October–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. Downloadable teacher booklets are available with classroom activities to help prepare your students for the program and facilitate reflection and discussion following your visit. Where appropriate, activities model performance assessment.

Program fees and availability are subject to change. Program fees are waived for the first 3,000 Maryland school students with a reservation. Reservations for 2016-17 open June 15, 2016 at 9 am. Programs are offered October 3, 2016 through May 31, 2017:

Aquatic Critters (Grades Pre-K–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. Curriculum 1A, 3A.

Program Length: 20 minutes
Live Animal*: Yes
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday, to Thursday
Number of Students: 10–50
Cost: $5 per person

*Live animals are subject to change based upon availability.


Maryland Backyard (Grades Pre-K to 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 him a happy home, and examine artifacts from various animals.

Program Length: 30 minutes
Live Animal*: Yes
Days offered: Monday–Friday
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 10-50
Cost: $5 per person

*Live animals are subject to change based upon availability.


Adaptations (Grades 2–4)

Students become detectives looking for clues on the “Creature Lab Coat,” as they deduce how adaptations help animals survive. Observe, compare and study adaptations of live animals. Curriculum 1A, 3A, 3C.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Live Animal*: Yes
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 12–64
Cost: $7 per person

*Live animals are subject to change based upon availability.


Bountiful Biomes (Grades 2–4)

Investigate biomes all over the world, ranging from 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. Curriculum 1A, 1B, 3A, 3F, 6B.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Live Animal*: Yes
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 12–64
Cost: $7 per person

*Live animals are subject to change based upon availability. 


Trash in a Marsh (Grades 3–5)

Marshes are critical habitats that are being negatively impacted by humans. In this program, students investigate the types and quantity of trash found at a marsh adjacent to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland. Students then use the data to determine where this trash came from and how they can take action to prevent more trash from reaching the marsh. Curriculum 1D.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Live Animal: No
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 12–64
Cost: $7 per person


Chesapeake Bay Explorations (Grades 4–6)

Oysters are indicators of the Chesapeake Bay’s health. Test water samples, measure oysters and draw conclusions about the state of the Bay. Curriculum 1A, 1C, 2C, 2E, 3A, 3E, 3F, 6A, 6B.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Live Animal: No
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 12–64
Cost: $7 per person


Squid Dissection Lab (Grades 5–12)

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. Curriculum 1A, 3A, 3D.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Live Animal: No
Times Offered: 10 am and 11:30 am Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 12–64
Cost: $7 per person


Aquarium Careers – National Aquarium Animal Rescue Program (Grades 6-12)

Ever wondered what the National Aquarium Animal Rescue team does? Learn how the Aquarium rescues, rehabilitates and helps marine animals. Follow the story of one of our rescued animals to learn about diagnosing a condition, treating the issue and using technology to help the animal during the release. Students will also learn how they can help aid marine animals.

Program Length: 45 minutes
Live Animal*: No
Days Offered: Monday - Friday
Times Offered: 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Monday–Friday; plus, 1 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday
Number of Students: 12-64
Cost: $7 per person


Phylum Lab (Grades 7–12)

Did you know that 98 percent of animals are classified into eight main categories called phyla? Investigate the characteristics of each phylum with live animals and artifacts. Maryland High School Core Learning Goal, Biology 3.4.2: Estimate degrees of relatedness among organisms or species.

Program Length: 75 minutes
Live Animal*: Yes
Days Offered: Wednesday
Times Offered: 9:30 am
Number of Students: 12–32
Cost: $10 per person

*Live animals are subject to change based upon availability.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour(Grades 9–12)

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

Program Length: 90 minutes
Live Animal*:No
Days Offered: Tuesday to Thursday
Times Offered: 1 pm
Number of Students: 12–40
Cost: $10 per person

Step 2: 2015-2016 School Year Admission Fees

$27.95 for adults
$17.95 for children pre-K to sixth grade
$23.95 for students in seventh to 12th grade
$25.95 for seniors

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

Prices subject to change without notice.

Tour the aquarium with your students and chaperones weekdays from September 1, 2015–June 24, 2016. Advance reservations are required for all school groups.

Maryland Schools

Students in grades Pre-K–12 are FREE from September 1, 2016–February 28, 2017. 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, 2016–February 28, 2017 
Grades Pre-K–12: Aquarium Admission; FREE, 4-D Immersion Film: $2.50

March 1, 2017–June 29, 2017
Grades Pre-K–6: Aquarium Admission; $17.95, 4-D Immersion Film: $5
Grades 7–12: Aquarium Admission; $23.95, 4-D Immersion Film: $5

Chaperone rates within ratio (see below under "Chaperone Requirements"):
Aquarium Admission: FREE; 4-D Immersion Film: $5

Chaperone counts above and beyond these ratios:
Aquarium Admission: $27.95; 4-D Immersion Film: $5


Out-of-State Schools

September 1, 2015–June 24, 2016
Grades Pre-K–6: Aquarium Admission: $17.95, 4-D Immersion Film: $5
Grades 7–12: Aquarium Admission: $23.95, 4-D Immersion 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 three-program limit per school. 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 in advance of your scheduled visit to receive a full refund of payments. If you cancel your reservation fewer than 21 days in advance 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 ages 3 and over. The maximum group size for grades Pre-K and K is 60 students, and for grades 1–12 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
1–6 1 adult per 6 students 1 adult per 10 students
7–12 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
  • 4-D Immersion Film: $5

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

  • Aquarium Admission: $27.95
  • 4-D Immersion Film: $5

Step 3: Make a Reservation

To book a field trip or any of the education programs, please communicate your request via one of the methods below. Teachers booking reservations for an Aquarium field trip can also use this form.

By phone: 410-576-3833

By fax: 410-986-2334

By email: reserve@aqua.org

Upon receipt of your reservation acknowledgement, 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)
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 1-5.

Adaptations Scavenger Hunt
Adaptations Scavenger Hunt Answers
Conservation Scavenger Hunt
Conservation Scavenger Hunt Answers

Download these engaging scavenger hunts for grades 6-8.

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 

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

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

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


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