There are many moving pieces to plan a field trip. Review this checklist before the big day to make sure you're prepared for the day of your field trip.

Student's feeling animals in the Aquarium's touch pool

Before You Arrive

Divide into Groups

  • Introduce chaperones to the students in their groups before arriving at the Aquarium.
  • We recommend that student groups are assigned prior to leaving for the Aquarium.
  • Please remember we require at least one chaperone for every 10 students.

Prepare Lunches

  • If picnicking at the Aquarium, we recommend collecting student lunches and place them in a large reusable bag for easy locker storage.

Communicate Plans and Meeting Places

  • Review your plans, expectations and schedule with your students, chaperones and other teachers.
  • Inform your group of the meeting place for lunch and departure.
  • Review emergency procedures with students and chaperones. (See below)
  • Exchange cell phone information with the lead teacher.

Emergency Procedures

Students should know they can ask for help at the Information Desk or can ask anyone wearing a Monterey Bay Aquarium name badge or uniform for assistance.

  • If a student gets lost, go to the Information Desk near the Main Entrance.
  • If a student gets injured, ask anyone wearing an Aquarium name badge to call Security and an Aquarium officer will report to the location of the injured person.
  • Teachers are responsible for communicating with their school officials in the event of a student injury.
  • In the rare event of an emergency requiring the evacuation of the Aquarium, all students, teachers and chaperones should exit the building at the closest available exit and meet on the Recreation Trail.
  • Please be prepared to follow all instructions from Emergency Response Team representatives while organizing your group.
  • You are expected to line up together by school name. Account for all members of your group and confirm with an Emergency Response Team representative.
  • Teachers are responsible for communicating with their school officials if an emergency significantly impacts field trip timelines.

Upon Arrival

Where to Meet

  • If you arrive by bus, please keep your students and chaperones on the bus while you check-in with an Aquarium staff member. If you arrive by car, gather your students and chaperones in an orderly group.
  • Please wait to check in until all group members have arrived.

Check-in and Paperwork

  • Bring your reservation confirmation.
  • The Aquarium staff member will collect:
    • Your completed and signed behavior contract (PDF)
    • Your invoice and payment for any additional chaperones. You must make a single payment by credit card for all additional chaperones.

Note: Please know the exact number of students, chaperones and teachers in your group. Any chaperones arriving after your group has entered will be required to pay full admission cost. Please see the Recruiting Chaperones page for full details.

Teacher and Chaperone Badges

  • Issue chaperone and teacher badges to your lead teacher.
    • All adults must wear the Aquarium badge provided in a visible location. The badge is your "ticket" into the Aquarium.
    • As long as students are with an adult wearing a chaperone badge, they are welcome to enter and exit the Aquarium throughout the day.


  • Upon check-in, an Aquarium staff member will provide your group with a quick orientation.
  • After the orientation, staff will escort your group into the Aquarium or guide you to your program meeting location.

At the Aquarium

Aquarium Store

  • Classroom teachers are eligible for a 10 percent discount at the gift and bookstores when they present appropriate identification.
  • If you have any questions about merchandise or ordering, please call our Gift and Bookstore customer service representatives toll-free at 877.665.2665.
  • Please remember that students must be accompanied by a chaperone while shopping.
  • Please allow no more than ten students per chaperone in the store at a time.

Stay with Your Group

  • Students and adult chaperones must stay together at all times — inside the Aquarium, out on the deck, in all gift stores and in the lunch area.


Lunch Reservations

You will be assigned a lunch space. Some groups are assigned to the picnic area on the Recreation Trail and some are assigned to the Multipurpose room at the Bechtel Education Center.

Lunch Timing

Your group has 30 minutes to enter, eat and exit before another group uses the same facilities. Please be timely so as not to impede another group's lunch reservation.

Make Lunch a Learning Experience

An excellent way to teach your students about having a direct impact on the environment is to challenge them to pack waste-free lunches! Consider using cloth bags or lunch boxes instead of paper bags. Choose reusable food containers, drink containers, utensils and napkins as a wise environmental choice. For more ideas go to

Do Not Bring Food or Drink into the Aquarium

School groups are not allowed to eat or drink in the Aquarium, on the benches in front of the Great Tide Pool or on any deck areas. This includes the Cafe and the seating areas outside our Cafe.

Gathering Lunches

Please gather all lunches in large reusable or paper bags before arriving. When you arrive, an Aquarium staff member will direct you to a locker where you can store student lunches.

Meeting for Lunch

When it's time for your group to eat, gather at your pre-arranged meeting place and walk to the lunch space you have been assigned. Some groups will be assigned to the multipurpose room at the Bechtel Education Center, others to the Aquarium picnic area. Send a couple of chaperones to the locker area to retrieve your lunches. Smaller groups may be asked to share the lunch space.

The Picnic Area

There are no restrooms or drinking fountains at the picnic area. For the safety of your students and other visitors, please do not eat lunches, sit or gather your students on the Recreation Trail. Other pedestrians and bicyclists utilize this pathway and collisions may occur.

Keep It Clean

After lunch, inspire your students to care for our planet by reminding them to clean up after themselves. Feeding birds and wildlife is discouraged as this can be harmful to animals. Use the trash cans and recycle containers to discard any leftover food or packaging.

Re-Entering the Aquarium

Re-enter the Aquarium through the Main Entrance with a chaperone wearing a badge.