The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research 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.
Located along the Rio Grande River near downtown Albuquerque, the ABQ BioPark consists of: The ABQ BioPark Zoo, Botanic Garden, Aquarium and Tingley Beach. The Zoo is home to over 900 animals many of which have been part of successful conservation plans and captive breeding programs. The Botanic Garden has 32 acres of exhibits, showcasing plants from the American Southwest and around the world. The Botanic Garden’s BUGarium is one of the most elaborate exhibits dedicated to bugs and arthropods in the country. The Aquarium showcases a kaleidoscope of aquatic creatures from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and local freshwater habitats. Welcoming more than 1.5 million visitors per year, the BioPark is the top tourist destination in the state of New 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.
The EcoExploratorio is an independent initiative of scientific and technological education of Puerto Rico. It arises from people in the community that include scientists, researchers, teachers, children, university students, and the public, in order to advance the scientific literacy of our people and strengthen the workforce of Puerto Rico. The EcoExploratorio serves as the center of gravity for Puerto Rico's sciences, technology, mathematics, and engineering. The vision of the EcoExploratorio (EcoEX) is to attract people through living experiences, foster curiosity and critical thinking, promote shared knowledge and effective communication, and develop a growing love and respect for science. The goal is to nurture and promote the exploratory spirit of each person, and thus achieve a strong, productive, intelligent society ready for the challenges of future generations.
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.
Located along the shore of Lake Superior, Great Lakes Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit with the mission to inspire people to explore their connection to Lake Superior and waters of the world. Great Lakes Aquarium features animals and habitats found within the Great Lakes basin and other freshwater ecosystems such as the Amazon River. It is one of few aquariums in the United States that focuses predominantly on freshwater exhibits. In fact, the aquarium is the home to the largest sturgeon touch pool in North America. Great Lakes Aquarium also features multiple saltwater habitats housing over 100 saltwater species. Beyond its doors, Great Lakes Aquarium creates a sense of place through the Monnie Goldfine Teacher Resource Center which provides free learning materials to regional educators reaching thousands of students every year.
The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium (LLPA), located in Draper, Utah, is a 136,000-square-foot facility dedicated to inspiring people to Explore, Discover, and Learn about Earth's diverse ecosystems. Since opening a new building in 2014, the Aquarium has welcomed over 3.5 million guests and provided over 650,000 educational experiences to Utah teachers and children. LLPA showcases ecosystems from around the planet including kelp forests, coral reefs, the deep ocean, Antarctic waters, Asian cloud forests, South American rain forests, and the waterways of our home state of Utah. The Aquarium is home to more than 4,500 animals representing 550 species. Visitors enjoy regular educational programming as well as interaction with on-site educators and volunteers. LLPA's outreach program includes curriculum for second, fourth, and sixth grade students with the fourth grade program visiting every public school district in the state.
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.
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.
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI operates the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country and provides traveling and community outreach programs that bring science learning opportunities to schools and community organizations in every county in Oregon.
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 Texas State Aquarium is a nonprofit aquarium located in Corpus Christi, Texas. It is dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and rehabilitation of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. It has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1995. Education is the cornerstone of the mission at Texas State Aquarium. Educational experiences are designed to promote inclusive and collaborative learning and empower learners of all ages to reach their full potential.
The mission of the University of South Florida (USF)’s College of Marine Science Education and Outreach is to increase public awareness and understanding of the oceans and the programs offered by the college. It is hoped that programs and courses will inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and encourage the 'citizen scientist' in everyone. As a graduate school, USF also strives to advance the science teaching and communication skills of graduate students. USF's College of Marine Science 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 their 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.”