NOAA's Ocean Exploration Program has developed alliances with aquariums and science centers to offer ocean science and exploration professional development opportunities to educators nationwide. These day long professional development offerings help build regional cadres of ocean exploration teacher leaders.
Recognized as one of the nation's leading aquariums, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located along the banks of the Mississippi River in the historic French Quarter. A visit to the Aquarium spans the world of the Caribbean Sea, the mysterious Amazon Rainforest and the waters that give New Orleans its lifeblood: the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.
The Aquarium of the Pacific opened in Long Beach (CA) in 1998 and currently sees more than 1.2 million visitors per year, including nearly 200,000 participants in school programs. The Aquarium on Wheels program also delivers the Pacific to schools and community events. The three main galleries explore the sunny waters of Southern California and Baja, the cold seas of the Northern Pacific, and the colorful Tropical Pacific. The Aquarium also features an Open Ocean exhibit, Shark Lagoon, Lorikeet Forest aviary, and hands-on discovery labs. As a free-choice learning institution, the Aquarium offers a variety of lectures, panel discussions, and courses for adults through its Aquatic Academy, as well as educational programs for children of all ages. The Aquarium’s Marine Conservation Research Institute is the focal point for the Aquarium’s research and conservation programs and is known for its Aquatic Forum that brings together scientists, decision-makers, and diverse stakeholders in forums to explore and evaluate alternative strategies for dealing with major coastal and marine issues facing California.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and beyond. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth and ocean science. The mission of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is to provide ocean science education; to interpret Scripps research; and to promote ocean conservation.
Founded in 1971 by the State Legislature, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) is Alabama’s marine science education and research institution. Located on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the DISL is perfectly situated for a wide range of marine science activity. Serving 21 four-year colleges and universities of Alabama through its college summer courses and graduate programs of University Programs (UP), DISL’s educational mission also includes Discovery Hall Programs (DHP) which encompasses K-12 field programs, teacher-training, and public outreach. DHP also includes the Estuarium, the public aquarium of DISL which focuses solely on the Mobile-Tensaw Estuary system. The research programs of the DISL range from biogeochemistry to oceanography to paleoecology.
Georgia Aquarium opened on November 23, 2005 as the world’s largest aquarium, featuring 8 million gallons of fresh and marine water and more than 100,000 animals representing 500 species from around the globe. There are 60 habitats at the Georgia Aquarium with 12,000 square feet of viewing windows. The largest habitat holds 6.2 million gallons of water and was specially designed to house whale sharks along side tens of thousands of other animals that typically live along a coral reef and out to the open ocean. The Georgia Aquarium boasts a 100 foot long tunnel and one of the largest aquarium windows in the world with views into whale shark habitat.
Since its opening in 1930, the John G. Shedd Aquarium has ranked among the world’s leading public aquariums and consistently been one of the most popular cultural attractions in Chicago. Drawing 2 million visitors a year, Shedd’s animal collection and public programs connect guests to the living world and inspire them to make a difference. The first inland aquarium to feature permanent saltwater and freshwater displays, today Shedd is home to 25,500 animals, representing more than 2,100 species of invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and both freshwater and marine mammals from around the world. Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan in a National Historic Landmark building, Shedd has made the protection of the Great Lakes its highest conservation priority.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore seeks to stimulate interest in, develop knowledge about, and inspire stewardship of aquatic environments. A member of the Baltimore community, Maryland's leading tourist attraction, and an international icon, the Aquarium provides cultural, recreational, and educational experiences that meet the needs of diverse communities. The Aquarium is committed to contributing substantially to the economic development of the local region by conducting a financially stable business in a way that demonstrates an awareness of community needs. The Aquarium strives to provide effective outreach and conservation programs, and to conduct research and utilize state-of-the-art technology.
Nauticus, The National Maritime Center, located on the downtown Norfolk (Virginia) waterfront, is a maritime-themed science and technology center that explores the economic, naval, and natural power of the sea. Opened in 1994, the Center's offerings includes hands-on interactive exhibits, theaters with live actors, a shark touch experience, digital high-definition movies on a giant screen, and other maritime-related activities. The maritime experience is complemented by the battleship Wisconsin - the last and largest battleship built by the U.S. Navy; and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, which chronicles the history of the Navy in Hampton Roads. In addition, the facility is home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Education Resource Center and some of its engaging exhibits including “Science on a Sphere”—a dynamic six-foot globe that displays 3-D animated images of our oceans and atmosphere.
The New England Aquarium was designed with the intention of providing an underwater experience for the visitor and of being a cultural institution that would reconnect Boston to its waterfront. In its more than 30 years of existence it has developed several programs to help preserve and bring a better understanding of marine life to the visitor and its exhibits have been under constant expansion and renovation. The Aquarium continues its tradition to serve as a leader in research, education and conservation.
The Oregon State University’s Sea Grant Program has, for nearly 40 years, developed and supported research, education and public outreach to help people understand, responsibly use, and conserve ocean and coastal resources. The goal of Oregon Sea Grant’s education efforts is to increase marine science literacy across the full spectrum of education - from ‘cradle to grave’ - and to extend the effort laterally to reach any group that might benefit from knowledge of marine-related issues.
The Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) also has a 40- year history of research, education, and outreach. Originally established as a marine laboratory for Oregon State University, it has grown to encompass a large group of partners. HMSC includes researchers, students, or faculty from five colleges and more than ten departments, and serves as home to several University programs. Onsite partners include university, state and federal agencies including NOAA scientists. Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education and outreach are critical activities at HMSC, reaching an average of 150,000 general public visitors and over 12,000 K-12 students annually. Education programs include interactive and live animal exhibits, wet lab programs, seminar series, demonstrations, videos, and field-based experiences. A variety of professional development classes are also coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant at Hatfield Marine Science Center
The Seattle Aquarium has been a fixture on the Elliott Bay waterfront since 1977. One of the top ten aquariums in the nation by attendance, the Aquarium is the largest platform for marine conservation education in the Pacific Northwest. The Aquarium is a leader in marine mammal husbandry and a significant contributor to field research on sea otters, sixgill sharks, giant Pacific octopus, and other key Puget Sound species. The Aquarium's mission of Inspiring Conservation of our Marine Environment extends beyond its walls, into the community, and into Puget Sound itself through outreach programming and field conservation projects.
The South Carolina Aquarium is a state-of-the-art environmental learning center that encompasses the entire spectrum of Southeastern aquatic habitats as found in South Carolina: mountain streams, piedmont rivers, coastal swamps, salt marshes and ocean waters. A significant educational and conservation institution, it was the first aquarium in the country to open with a complete Education Master Plan in place. During its first year, the Aquarium launched its free, standards-based schools programs, with required teacher training for visiting classes.
The mission of our Education and Outreach is to increase public awareness and understanding of the oceans and the programs offered by the USF College of Marine Science. It is our hope that programs and courses will inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and encourage the 'citizen scientist' in everyone. As a graduate school, we also strive to advance the science teaching and communication skills of our graduate students. Our programs are interactive and interdisciplinary providing experiential learning via research cruises, coastal field trips, research projects, and web-based technologies. State and federal agencies, businesses, and individual supporters are an integral part of the success and continuation of our programs.
The Waikiki Aquarium, founded in 1904, is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States and a part of the University of Hawaii.
Known for its exquisite sunlit displays of living corals and colorful reef fish, the Waikiki Aquarium's exhibits, programs, and research focus on the marine life of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific. Over 3,000 organisms in the exhibits represent more than 420 species of aquatic animals and plants, many of them rare and unusual. Located along a living reef on Hawaii's Waikiki shoreline, the Waikiki Aquarium's mission statement is to: “To inspire and promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of Pacific marine life.”