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At The Aquarium

Group Admission

Reservations are required at least 48 hours in advance

In order to qualify for school/youth group admission rate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • 10 or more paying guests, ages 3 and older
  • All guests arriving and entering at the same time
  • One payment for the entire group

Rates:

  • Students: (3-17) School/Youth Groups $14.50/student
  • Adults (18+) with School/Youth Groups $17.50/adult

Chaperones required for all children under the age of 18, and FREE per these rations:

  • PreK-5th grade: 1 chaperone per 5 students/youth
  • 6th-12th grade: 1 chaperone per 10 students/youth
  • Higher Education: 1 chaperone per 20 students

Reservations for all programs and optional experiences are required at least two weeks in advance.

Group with Beluga whale

Classroom Programs

Pre-K & Kindergarten

Mystic Aquarium educators encourage young students to observe the natural world, ask questions, and look for patterns to describe needs that animals have to live and grow. They discover sources for those needs along with comparisons to our own. We also reinforce the important concept of cause and effect and how to respect each other and the environment we all share.

All Pre-K & K programs can travel, and they include a literacy focus through vocabulary building and hands-on activities, such as a Touch & Learn with live marine invertebrates!

(Best Suited For Toddlers and 2 Year Olds)

Discover fascinating animals found along the rocky shore. Some have hard shells for protection and others have suction cups to hang on! Through dramatic play and discovery of “mystery” items, Mystic Aquarium instructors will guide your toddlers through learning about cool coastal animals.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Follow Me!” by Bethany Roberts
Standards Addressed – CT ELDS Strands A, C, D & E

(Best For Pre-K)

Ocean creatures have countless ways of moving from one place to another. Some use their fins to move, while others walk sideways. Enjoy a puppet show to find out if Rocky the rock crab or Octy the octopus can teach a confused baby beluga how to swim. This program is designed to help students discover how marine animals move.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Move” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Standards Addressed – CT: PK.2; RI: LS1, LS4

(Best For Pre-K & Kindergarten)

Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures, carrying their home with them wherever they go. Sometimes moving to a bigger shell can be quite an adventure! In this exciting class, we’ll use the story, A House for Hermit Crabby Eric Carle, a costume, and props for students to discover a master of camouflage.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Old Shell, New Shell” by Helen Ward
Standards Addressed – CT: PK.2, K.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Obtaining Information

(Best Suited For Pre-K & Kindergarten)

All children love to imitate penguins, so think how much fun it would be to see a classmate dressed up as one from beak to tail! Through movement and hands-on activities, students will love discovering how these adorable birds survive so well without flying.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Penguins” by Gail Gibbons
Standards Addressed – CT: PK.2, K.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Obtaining Information

(Best Suited For Kindergarten)

What kinds of surprises might children encounter in the magical aquarium suitcase? Clownfish, eels, anemones, flounder and sharks to name just a few! Learning comes alive as students discover the numerous adaptations that equip these animals for life in the ocean.

Suggested book to complement the program: Hiding in Oceans” by Deborah Underwood
Standards Addressed – CT: K.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2; Asking Questions, Obtaining Information

Grades 1-3

Students observe and construct ideas based on patterns they discover within the biodiversity and adaptations of animals. Water in many forms is featured through a variety of aquatic habitats. Many class options compare the structures and functions of animals and their young, as well as behaviors that help them survive. Programs also introduce concepts of how humans apply knowledge and resources from the natural world to create materials and products, as well as how children can make choices that help reduce their impact on our environment. All grade 1-3 programs promote STEM education through science literacy, inquiry, problem solving, and hands-on activities, such as a Touch & Learn with either live marine invertebrates or a reptile!

How do you know if an animal is a reptile, bird, mammal or fish? As an excellent introduction to taxonomy and biodiversity, students will have fun while investigating evidence including live animals, discussing with classmates and figuring out how to start classifying animals.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Animals and Me” by DK Publishing

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates and a reptile.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Patterns; Structure & Function; LS1, LS4; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence

Students will investigate the native plants and animals that live along our beautiful rocky shores of the Long Island Sound. They will understand how difficult it is for animals to live in this harsh environment and investigate adaptations they have developed for survival.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Between the Tides” by Fran Hodgkins

This class can travel, and it includes live invertebrates and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1, LS2; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Structure & Function; LS1, LS4, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence

Students will explore a fascinating community found beneath the waves! They will enjoy participating in an interactive presentation to discover how many sea creatures work together to be terrific neighbors, while others have interesting adaptations keeping them at the top of the food chain.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Coral Reefs” by Gail Gibbons

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1, LS2; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Obtaining & Communicating Information

Most kids love swimming in the ocean, but imagine spending ALL of your time in the ocean swimming, eating, sleeping, etc. By helping a classmate transform into a beluga whale, students will discover how these charismatic whales are mammals like us, but are specially adapted to survive in a cold ocean ecosystem.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Whales” by Gail Gibbons

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1, LS2; NGSS: Structure & Function; LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Obtaining & Communicating Information

Native Americans have lived along the coastline of Connecticut for thousands of years. Through a hands-on experience with live Long Island Sound invertebrates, students will investigate and deduce some of the ways local native tribes used plants and animals from the sea for survival.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Wampanoag” by Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4; RI: LS1; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Stability & Change; LS1, LS4, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence

Grades 4-5

Students dive deeper into understanding biodiversity and the relationships between living things and their environments, especially how they relate to watersheds and the ocean. Students will construct explanations from evidence that they gather and observe about structural and behavioral adaptations, the flow of energy within and between ecosystems, and solutions to problems that aquatic environments face resulting from overuse of limited resources. All grade 4-5 programs promote STEM education through scientific literacy, inquiry, problem solving, and hands-on activities, such as a Touch & Learn with either live marine invertebrates or a reptile!

There are roughly 400 shark species throughout the world, ranging in size from a few inches to 40 feet. Many are threatened or endangered, and your students will use evidence to determine why. In this class, students will investigate fascinating shark adaptations, the challenges they must overcome for survival, and the conservation efforts underway to protect them.

This class can travel, and it includes live invertebrates and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 4.2, 5.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Energy & Matter, Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Evaluating & Communicating Information

This interactive Jeopardy-style game offers a creative way for your students to gather evidence about the many amazing adaptations that amphibians have to survive and the challenges they face. Participants will collaborate to discover the answers to questions and perform challenges to learn more about amphibians and the roles they play in our ecosystems.

This class can travel, and it includes a live reptile and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed –  CT: 4.2, 5.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

How do whales find their way and locate food in the dark ocean, like a flounder hiding under the sand? In this class, students will participate in a variety of hands-on activities to discover the truly incredible adaptation of belugas and all toothed whales that give them the unique ability to “see” using sound. By the end, they will understand well the concept of structure and function through this exciting example, echolocation!

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 5.1, 5.2; RI: LS1, LS2, PS2; NGSS: Structure & Function, LS1, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Students may know about sharks, a predator that sits at the top of the ocean food chain. But how many know about plankton, the often microscopic plants and animals that make up the base of the food chain? Both groups are critical for life in the ocean and would not exist if it weren’t for the other. In this class, students will explore the ocean’s food web’s links and discover who eats whom, how they do it, and why.

This class can travel, and it includes live invertebrates and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 4.2; RI: LS1, LS2, LS3; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Energy & Matter, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Did you know that 97 percent of all animals on earth don’t have a backbone? In this class, students become scientists to investigate and classify live marine invertebrates into groups based upon their common characteristics. Some animals may look completely different but are classified together because of their unique adaptations. This class promotes well both their observation and critical thinking skills.

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 4.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Patterns, Structure & Function, LS1, LS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Grades 6-8

Students use models to describe aquatic phenomena. Some programs engage students to use evidence-based ideas about ecological concepts, and other classes focus on natural selection processes and patterns that emerge either in classification or in genetic studies. Students will construct explanations for cause and effect while helping develop solutions to lessen impacts on the ocean.

What is a phylum and how do scientists classify living things into groups? Students will make observations and investigations either with live marine invertebrates, or with specimens and a squid dissection, in order to complete a scientific taxonomy exercise through patterns that emerge. Educators have the option to focus on classification of live marine invertebrates, an in-depth dissection of a squid, or combine both to create a full 90-minute immersive lab experience.

Option 1: Invertebrate Classification – (This class includes live invertebrates.)  

Option 2: Squid Dissection

Both options can travel.

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2, 8.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Patterns, Structure & Function; LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Through their own active scientific investigations, students will learn about the unique relationships that are found throughout regional watersheds. Each program includes an opportunity to interact with live Long Island Sound invertebrates and for students to discover how human activity can impact these delicate ecosystems through evidence presented. Educators have the option to focus the class on just one of the ecosystems listed below or focus on both aquatic environments to create a full 90-minute investigation into local aquatic systems.

Option 1: CT River Freshwater Ecosystems 

Option 2: Long Island Sound Estuarine Ecosystem 

Both options can travel, and they both include live invertebrates and have a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2, 8.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Energy & Matter, Stability & Change; LS2, ESS2, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Whether it is taking on the role of a marine animal responder to diagnose a sick seal or an Aquarium researcher working with population genetics to ensure a species survival, each program will immerse your students in real-world marine science careers. Choose a focus on cell function and anatomy with the Strandings/Veterinary Science option, or heredity and microscope use with Genetics/Survival, or combine both to create a full 90-minute marine science experience.

Option 1: Marine Animal Stranding & Veterinary Science – (This class includes a live reptile.)  

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Option 2: Population Genetics & Species Survival 

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Both options can travel, and they both have a conservation focus.

Grades 9-12

Students will conduct scientific investigations and construct explanations, some with a focus on molecular structures and functions, in order to understand more about the inheritance and variation of traits. Other programs encourage them to analyze and interpret data on energy flow, ecosystem dynamics, and adaptations using detailed evidence of environmental influences in natural selection. Students will also develop possible solutions to help sustain biodiversity so that ecosystem functions and productivity are maintained to support and enhance life on Earth. All grade 9-12 programs promote interest in STEM through scientific literacy, active investigations, problem solving, and discussion of evidence and results.

Students will examine evidence in order to explain how environmental changes supported the evolution of new species. Students will investigate unique marine mammal skeletons to discover the structural changes whales and dolphins have made to function in a fully aquatic lifestyle. This program offers a great way for your students to experience anatomical evidence that supports the theory of evolution and the transition from a terrestrial to aquatic lifestyle.

Standards Addressed – CT: 10.5/CT Enrichment: Evolution, Physiology; NGSS: Patterns, Structure & Function; LS3, LS4, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Please note that this program cannot travel due to use of rare and large specimens.

From the barrier reefs of Australia to the polar ecosystems of the Arctic Circle, ocean habitats around the world are under extreme stress. Students will examine evidence and support claims of how climate change, pollution, habitat loss and human interaction may affect aquatic life globally and collaborate to discuss potential solutions.

The class will conclude by discussing the current projects underway to help recover these endangered ecosystems.

This class can travel, and it includes a live reptile and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 9.3, 9.6, 9.8, 9.9, 10.6/CT Enrichment: Ecology; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Energy & Matter, Stability & Change; LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3, ETS1; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Students can find out about the variety of STEM career opportunities available with the ocean realm. From designing deep sea vehicles, analyzing blood and water samples or even developing interactive programs for visitors, students will understand what it takes to keep an educational research facility like ours running successfully, so that we can all contribute to conservation efforts!

This class can travel and includes a live reptile.

Standards Addressed – CT: 9.8, 9.9/CT Enrichment: Ecology; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Stability & Changes; ESS3, ETS1; Asking & Defining, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Each Researcher-for-a-Day program engages students with hands-on laboratory experiences that mimic true applications of science with concepts learned in the classroom. Each 2-hour program offers students unique inside looks at marine science using such rare materials as penguin, cetacean and/or horseshoe crab blood. The experience also helps them realize connections among micro-examinations and to expand out their role in environmental conservation.

Cost of program: $7 per student (2-hours)

Standards Addressed – CT: 10.1, 10.2/CT Enrichment: Physiology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Science & Technology; NGSS: LS1, LS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Option 1: Hematology – Using blood to investigate animal health

Option 2: Microbiology – Examining the world through the eyes of a microscope

Option 3: Molecular Biology – Exploring conservation through DNA

 

Please note that these programs cannot travel due to intensive lab prep, materials and equipment needed.

We also have other lab-based programs available such as: Nutrition, Pathology, Horseshoe Crabs & Citizen Science, Necropsy/Marine Mammal Anatomy & Physiology, and more. Please contact us at educationinfo@mysticaquarium.org  if you are interested in what else we can offer to high school students.

Pricing & Registration

Classroom Programs

All costs are in addition to admission

  • 45 minute program – $3 per student
  • 90 minute program – $5 per student
  • HS Researcher for a Day programs – $7 per student

GUIDED AQUARIUM TOUR:
(offered seasonally)
$10 per person, per hour in addition to admission

PRIVATE SEA LION TRAINING SESSION
$4 per person in addition to admission

PRE-PURCHASED 4-D AND BLUE THEATER
$3 per person for each movie, when purchased in advance, in addition to admission

PENGUIN OUTREACH AMBASSADOR PROGRAM  – ONSITE
$1500 for a 60 minutes program for up to 30 students

Plan Your Visit

Need assistance planning your visit?  Contact our Education & Conservation team at EducationInfo@MysticAquarium.org at least one week before your trip and we would be happy to assist in providing suggestions for programs, field trip activities, scavenger hunts and more. 

Custom Programs

We can work with you and tailor a program to meet your group’s specific needs. Those looking for a more in-depth experience beyond just one class can contact Mystic Aquarium’s Education Department to create an engaging, multi-part program. Activities can take place at the Aquarium, at your location or on the coast! Contact the Education Department today at EducationInfo@MysticAquarium.org.

Guided Tours & More

Grades K-Adult
Fee: $10/person per hour

A member of our Guest Services interpretation team will take your group on a personalized tour of the Aquarium’s exhibits that will include specialized talks, fascinating facts and information that will engage participants at every turn.

Tours are offered for 5 – 15 participants.  All participants must pay Aquarium admission.  Reservations must be made at least 2 weeks in advance.

Groups of 50-400
Fee: $4/student

Have you ever wondered “How did they train that animal to do that?” Our California Sea Lion Training Program will show you. This unique opportunity gives your group an inside look at our new show behavior training and animal care program, and will provide the opportunity to ask our animal trainers questions.

Programs take place in the Foxwoods Marine Theater.

Programs accommodate multiple groups until maximum is reached.

Booking is limited – usually available M, W, F.

These workshops offer a great, flexible opportunity for adults of all ages. They can be booked in an aquarium classroom as a traveling program anywhere within 90 miles of Mystic Aquarium. Each program is one hour long and specifically designed for adults.

Regular programming apply

  • Invertebrate Classification – Learn how and why marine invertebrates are classified into their unique phylum. This class allows participants to study live animals close up and discover firsthand how invertebrates are classified into specific groups.

  • Marine Mammals of Long Island Sound – Mystic Aquarium is a founding member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network and to date has responded to more than 1100 stranded seals, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. Throughout this program, participants will learn about the life history of our local sea turtle and marine mammal species, the work being done to rescue and rehabilitate these animals, and the important information we are learning about the health of our oceans.

School Overnights

An overnight adventure for your school group can be held at Mystic Aquarium. These adventures are held on weekdays, Monday to Thursday, during the school year. Designed for groups of 30-100 people our overnights will engage your students in age appropriate activities as they learn about our ocean world. While here for the event, students will participate in two programs, complete a scavenger hunt, create a wonderful fish print, tour or outdoor exhibits and enjoy breakfast.
For more information, please contact Becky at EducationInfo@MysticAquarium.org.

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