Education Programs

Field Trips

We are thrilled that you have chosen the National Aquarium for your school field trip. A visit to the Aquarium is your students' passport to discovering the world's aquatic treasures! Please follow these steps to plan your Aquarium field trip experience.

Reservations for the 2019–20 school year may be made beginning June 19, 2019 at 9 am for Title 1 Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools. All other schools can begin making reservations on July 3, 2019 at 9 am.

Maryland teachers, you may begin your registration process by completing the appropriate teacher orientation workshop, which provides helpful resources and an overview of the Aquarium's exhibits in preparation 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 your entry time. Tickets sell out quickly for admission from 10 to 11:30 am, so consider visiting after lunch when crowds may be lighter.
  • Avoid the crowds and schedule your class visit during our off-peak times: September, December (prior to Christmas), afternoons in October through March, and Mondays in October through May.
  • Education programs at the Animal Care and Rescue Center will be offered for grades 6 through 12 from November through February as a standalone experience.
  • Aquarium admission fees are listed in Step 2.

STEP 1: Choose Your Aquarium Program

Enhance your field trip experience through scientific investigations, hands-on discovery activities, presentations and live animal encounters with one of the Aquarium’s Classroom or Auditorium Programs. 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. All programs support the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum.

Fees and availability of programs are subject to change. Program fees are waived for the first 3,000 Maryland school students with a reservation from Baltimore City Public Schools or Title 1 Schools. Programs are offered October 1, 2019, through April 3, 2020.

Programs at the Animal Care and Rescue Center

Animal Care and Rescue Center: Amelia's Journey: Marine Debris from the Bay to the Sea (Grades 6 through 8)

Join Amelia the American eel as she encounters marine debris on her journey from the Chesapeake Bay to the Sargasso Sea. Each situation presents an activity to illustrate the issue and encourage creative solutions. Participants will build crab pots with safety devices, simulate how plastic trash impacts a salt marsh food web and brainstorm ways to remove microplastics from the ocean.

Grades: 6 through 8
Program length: 2 hours
Live animal: No
Days offered: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Times offered: 10 am Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Number of students: 10-20
Cost: $25 per student

Animal Care and Rescue Center: Water We Looking For? (Grades 6 through 12)

Performing medical tests and ensuring excellent water quality are essential to caring for the animals at the Aquarium. Students will use microscopes to study blood samples and measure water quality parameters to deduce the causes of illness in various animals at the Animal Care and Rescue Center. Students will also devise a treatment plan based on evidence collected during the lesson. The program will conclude with a tour of the Center.

Grades: 6 through 12
Program length: 2 hours
Live animal: No
Days offered: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Times offered: 10 am Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Number of students: 10-20
Cost: $25 per student

Programs at the Main Aquarium

Aquatic Critters

Horseshoe crab, hermit crab, whelk—oh my! Touch and learn about the remarkable horseshoe crabs that appear on Atlantic beaches each spring. Learn what a hermit crab and a whelk have in common. (Guess what? 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–1
Program length: 20 minutes
Live animal: Yes
Days offered: Monday–Friday
Times offered: 10 am and 11:30 am, Monday–Friday; plus, 1 pm, Tuesday–Thursday
Number of students: 10–50
Cost: $5 per person

Maryland Backyard

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, and examine artifacts from these animals.

Grades: Pre-K–1
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–Thursday
Number of students: 10–50
Cost: $5 per person

Adaptations

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.

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

Bountiful Biomes

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

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

Chesapeake Bay Explorations

Oysters are powerful water filters and great indicators of the Chesapeake Bay’s health. Measure and get to know these remarkable mollusks, test water samples and draw conclusions about the state of the Bay.

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

Squid Dissection Lab

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

Aquarium Careers—National Aquarium Animal Rescue Program

Learn how the National Aquarium Animal Rescue team rescues, treats and rehabilitates marine animals. Follow the story of one of our rescued animals and learn how to diagnosis their condition, treatment methods and the technology that was used to help in the release of this animal. Students will also learn what they can do to help aid marine animals.

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

Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Designed for advanced high school biology groups, this tour emphasizes water chemistry, animal care, exhibit maintenance and aquarium careers. Walk through back-up 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.

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

Phylum Lab

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

Step 2: View Fees and Chaperone Requirements

Tour the aquarium with your students and chaperones on weekdays from September 1, 2019, through June 22, 2020. Advance reservations are required for all school groups.

Admission Fees

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

Maryland Schools

Students in grades pre-K through 12 are FREE from September 1, 2019, through February 28, 2020. Teachers from some counties in Maryland must attend a National Aquarium teacher orientation to qualify for free admission.

The prices below are per person.

Main Aquarium: September 1, 2019, though February 28, 2020
Grades pre-K through 12: Aquarium admission: FREE; 4D Immersion Film: $5

Main Aquarium: March 16, 2020, through June 22, 2020
Grades pre-K through 6: Aquarium admission: $17.95; 4D Immersion Film: $5
Grades 7–12: Aquarium admission: $23.95; 4D Immersion Film: $5

Animal Care and Rescue Center: November 1, 2019, through February 28, 2020
Program: $25

Chaperone rates within standard ratio (see chaperone requirements below):
Aquarium admission: FREE; 4D Immersion Film: $5
Animal Care and Rescue Center program: FREE

Chaperone counts above and beyond standard ratios (see chaperone requirements below):
Aquarium admission: $27.95; 4D Immersion Film: $5
Animal Care and Rescue Center program: $25

Out-of-State Schools

September 1, 2019, through June 22, 2020
Grades pre-K though 6: Aquarium admission: $17.95; 4D Immersion Film: $5
Grades 7–12: Aquarium admission: $23.95; 4D Immersion Film: $5

Animal Care and Rescue Center: November 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019
Program: $25

Program Fees

Fees and availability of programs are subject to change. Program fees are waived for the first 3,000 Maryland school students with a reservation from Baltimore City Public Schools or Title 1 Schools. 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 for field trips and all applicable fees for education programs are due 21 days prior to the date of your visit. 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 21 or more days in advance of your scheduled visit to receive a full refund of payments and deposits. If you cancel your reservation less than 21 days in advance or fail to arrive at your scheduled entry time, you forfeit your 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, or 125 students for grades 1 through 12. Group-size limits may 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 6 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 standard ratio:

Aquarium admission: Free

4D Immersion Film: $5

Animal Care and Rescue Center: Free

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

Aquarium admission: $27.95

4D Immersion Film: $5

Animal Care and Rescue Center: $25

Step 3: Make a Reservation

To request a field trip or any of the education programs held on the main National Aquarium campus, please fill out this form. To request a program at the National Aquarium Animal Care and Rescue Center, 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 Pre-Field Trip Letter (English)
Parent Pre-Field Trip Letter (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

To request a field trip to the National Aquarium, please fill out this form.

To request a program at the Animal Care and Rescue Center, please fill out this form.

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, 2019, to February 28, 2020.

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

Dining at the Aquarium

At several convenient dining options throughout the Aquarium, you'll find fresh and healthy food produced with eco-friendly methods.

LEARN MORE

Field Trip Guide: Chaperones

chaperone

Field Trip Guide: Teachers

teachers