Young guests touching organisms in the touch pools

A Deeper Dive for Visiting Students


We welcomed another 80,000 schoolchildren for free programs at the Aquarium in 2018 and extended programs for homeschooled students to once a week throughout the school year.

We have expanded the programs we'll offer when our Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership opens and welcomes its first students in 2019. Our new offerings will reach audiences in new ways — meeting the evolving needs of 21st century students and teachers.

One program called Feathered Families for preschool and kindergarten students combines our Soaring with Seabirds exhibit with interactive experiences in our learning labs.

We developed Design for the Ocean, a new program for middle-school students that evolved out of the maker movement. Starting in the summer of 2019, students with an interest in engineering will have access to technology and an Ocean Innovation Lab program so they can design and build physical objects that solve ocean-related problems.

Student placing specimens under the microscope
Young student and guardian wearing headphones while using a tablet device
Student participating in a hands-on educational activity
Our Bechtel Education Center lets us offer multiple approaches to visiting school groups, from observations of intertidal marine life, to digital learning experiences and hands-on activities that flow from the maker movement.

In the coming year, we will also pilot Teen Researchers, an exciting new program that will help high school students develop research skills through hands-on scientific explorations.

Programs will take advantage of a video lab and sophisticated software in the Bechtel Education Center, allowing educators to interact with students using iPads in real time. The 200-gallon live animal aquarium tanks in our new classrooms will incorporate interactive technology that emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking and problem-based learning. Students will also be able to experience life from the perspective of marine wildlife using VR headsets and 360-degree video, and analyze data from a new rooftop weather station.

Our programs provide young people with challenges and opportunities to help them learn who they are and what careers they may want to pursue. They'll build their conservation identities, allowing them to see themselves both as individuals and as members of a broader community that cares for and acts on behalf of the environment.

We'll provide students with experiences to help them develop the skills to succeed in a knowledge-driven, innovative world, and contribute to the improvement of their communities.

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Your gift can help us host 80,000 schoolchildren a year on field trips and in optional learning labs, all for free.

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Annual Review 2018 (PDF)


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