Thanks for your interest in Seattle Aquarium’s educational programming. Due to high demand, we are at capacity for on-site classes for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year. You can still request a self-guided visit.
We are excited to welcome Pre-K to grade 12 students for classes at the Seattle Aquarium!
School programs are reserved for student/teacher groups with a minimum of 11 students. Homeschool groups are invited to book a self-guided visit or attend learning stations on Homeschool Days.
Does your group qualify for free programming through our scholarship program?
Schools with 40% or more free/reduced lunch participants, ESL/ELL, special education classes or ECEAPs can apply for our scholarships. Approved scholarship groups receive paid Aquarium admission and a stipend of $500 per bus. Schools must provide proof that they meet qualifications, which the Aquarium must receive before the visit.
The scholarship form and bus reimbursement form will be emailed to the address provided on the registration form.
About our On-Site Classes
All of our programs focus on the marine ecosystems, including our local Salish Sea. Our educators will guide you and up to 32 of your students through lessons that support Next Generation Science Standards while giving your students agency to influence the class based on their prior knowledge and interests.
All classes take place in our classrooms here at the Seattle Aquarium as part of a field trip. If you’re interested in a distance learning class instead, which we can broadcast to you, please visit our distance learning page. After booking your program, you will receive more information to help your students prepare for a visit to the Aquarium and their exciting class. Admission to the Aquarium is included with your class.
Each of our classes has a grade-level range, and within that range our skilled educators will tailor the class for your specific grade level. We encourage active student participation during the program, and we plan on answering a lot of questions! Most classes also include special live animal interactions with the tide pool creatures in our care within the classroom, including opportunities to directly interact with our classroom animal ambassadors. Pricing and scholarship information is available on the registration page.
Have questions? Please visit our school group FAQ.
Explore the different discussion topics below.
2023–2024 On-site School Programs
Tide Pool Friends
Meet different Puget Sound seashore animals during this interactive pre-K class. Through discussion, movement and song, students will learn fun facts about the animals and their habitat while reviewing colors and numbers. Explore even more during the free-choice activity time that includes a live animal station, magnet board and puppet play, a reading and puzzle corner, and a letter-matching activity. This introductory marine science program is perfect for preschools, Head Start classes, day care centers and other groups of young children.
Explore Pacific Northwest Tide Pools
Get up close with live tide pool animals. Through the use of puppets, live animals and observation, students will learn how these animals survive in their ever-changing habitat and how simple actions can help protect them. Learn about invertebrates like hermit crabs, sea urchins and snails, and discover how they have adapted to survive in the intertidal zone.
The Great Salmon Journey
Learn about the life cycle of one of our region’s most iconic animals: the salmon! With the use of interactive storyboards and learner-driven activities, students will explore salmon from egg to adult and discuss the many different factors that affect these amazing fish. Students will become invested in the journey of the salmon through role-playing and discover just how difficult it is to make the great salmon journey.
Puget Sound Plankton Lab
Discover the most abundant organisms in Puget Sound: plankton! Students will learn about the role plankton plays in providing food for all animals as the base of the marine food web. Students will be guided through a plankton exploration, learning about phytoplankton and zooplankton through living examples that they collect themselves from the water beneath the Seattle Aquarium’s pier. By the end of the class, students will have the opportunity to explore a plankton sample of their own using a real microscope.
*Students should dress for the elements since portions of this program are outside on the Aquarium pier. Plankton samples differ with changing water temperatures and the time of year of the visit.
What do you have in common with an orca? Discover the connections we share by comparing the life cycle and physical structure of orcas to humans while building a life-size whale skeleton. Instructors will lead students in a discussion of how our actions can both negatively and positively affect these amazing animals.
Sea Otter Conservation Research
Find out what it takes to conduct research on wild sea otter populations. Students will learn how to collect data, ask research questions, and plan and carry out investigative work. The conservation work undertaken on the outer coast of Washington state by Seattle Aquarium Senior Conservation Manager Dr. Shawn Larson and her team will serve as an example.