High School Programs

ed book 17 18 cover

Click on the image at right to view our entire 2017-18 Educational Programs brochure. To download the brochure as a PDF click here.


New! Behavioral Husbandry Lab (Grades 9-12 & college)

Learn the fundamentals of how we study animal behavior and why enrichment is beneficial to animals in human care. Students receive first-hand experience being creative in making an enrichment object for our most popular animals (sea turtles, meerkats, seals, river otters) using food and other sensory materials. Then students meet with a member of our Animal Husbandry department, who will put the enrichment in the exhibit. Students then complete ethogram behavior surveys, logging how the animals interact with the enrichment item. 2 hours. Includes live animals in the content.

This program can be booked with start times of only 9, 9:30 or 10 a.m. Must be booked at least 4 weeks in advance. Limited to two bookings per month.

At Aquarium: $350. Simultaneous and sequential presentations on the same day not available. Not available as a Traveling Teacher program.

Aquarium Careers Tour (Grades 9-12)

Explore off-exhibit areas as you learn about the many careers that are involved in making The Maritime Aquarium a great place for visitors as well as for the animals that live here. View the “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit – with its 7-foot sand tiger sharks – from above and visit our “Fish Kitchen” to learn how our aquarists meet the nutritional needs of more than 1,000 animals every single day. Students not only learn about the behind-the-scenes operations of the Aquarium, but what they need to do to work with animals in a similar setting some day. One hour. Please note: from April through June, this program is offered only before 10 a.m. and after 1 p.m.

At Aquarium: $120 for first or simultaneous; $110 for second & additional sequential; in addition to Aquarium admission. Not available as a Traveling Teacher program.

Grades 9-12: Common Core, SL9-10.1, SL11-12.1

The Science of Diving (Grades 9-12)

Survival underwater poses a myriad of physical, biological and chemical challenges. In this program that bridges the sciences, students examine how marine animals are adapted to overcome these challenges, and the ingenious technologies humans have developed to do so. Experiments focusing on pressure and how light and sound travel through water provide hands-on engagement with some of the key issues involved in underwater survival. Students also meet a member of the Aquarium's dive team to learn what's involved in learning to dive, and how it feels to be submerged with the large sharks in our big "Ocean Beyond the Sound" exhibit. 75 minutes.

At Aquarium: $150 for first or simultaneous; $140 for second & additional sequential; in addition to Aquarium admission. Not available as a Traveling Teacher program.

Grades 9-12: Next Gen., LS4.C; PS1.A; PS3.B; PS4.A&B; Common Core, RST9-10.3; RST 11-12.3; RST 9-10.4; RST 11-12.4

Shark Anatomy & Evolution (Grades 9-12)

For decades, sharks have been called “living fossils.” But recent studies have challenged the notion that sharks have changed little over the course of evolutionary time. Guided by the Aquarium’s expert instructors, students work in groups dissecting small sharks to investigate shark adaptations and why they’ve been so successful. Students also learn about the relationship between bony and cartilaginous fish, and why many shark species are now threatened. 90 minutes. Includes live animals in the presentation.

At Aquarium: $275 for first or simultaneous; $250 for second & additional sequential  Not available as a Traveling Teacher program.

Grades 9-12: Next Gen., LS4.C, LS4.D; Common Core, RST.9-10.3, RST.11-12.4


Sound Sentinels (Grades 9-12)

How do scientists measure climate change, and what tells them if it’s having an impact on habitats and species? It’s all about sentinels. In this program, students learn about the biotic and abiotic sentinels that scientists use to understand the effects of a changing climate on Long Island Sound. After collecting and analyzing water-quality data and up-close examination of live animal sentinels, the program culminates with an immersive role-playing activity. Students adopt the perspectives of a variety of community members as they debate issues related to the health and management of the Sound. 90 minutes. Includes live animals in the presentation.

At Aquarium: $175 for first or simultaneous; $160 for second & additional sequential; in addition to Aquarium admission.

Standards: Grades 9-12: Next Gen., LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D, ESS3.C; CT Science, 9.8, 9.9, 10.5; Common Core, RST.11-12.1, RST.11-12.7, WHST.9-12.9, SL.11-12.5, MP.2, HSS-IC.B.6; CT Core Scientific, D INQ: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Sound Resilience: Get On Board! (Grades 6-12)

Hurricanes and nor’easters, floods and sea level rise, coastal erosion and winter storms – these are the environmental threats that are most familiar to residents of coastal Connecticut and New York. This new program, funded through a three-year grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides the opportunity for middle- and high-school students to delve into these local environmental threats: how scientists study them, how urban planners and emergency management officials respond, and how we as citizens can contribute to the process.
The program consists of three sessions: two in your classroom and one on Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium’s hybrid-electric research vessel, where students will collect environmental data and survey the coastline from the water.
An exploration of urgent real-world issues linking science and citizenship, this new program provides an unprecedented opportunity for students to learn how the work of scientists is relevant to their everyday lives.

  • Sessions 1 and 3: 1 hour each in your classroom
  • Session 2: 2.5-hour cruise on the Aquarium’s research vessel

Thanks to grant funding, FREE for schools in these communities: Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford
Cost for schools in communities other than the 11 above: $1,100 for three sessions. Please contact us about possible financial assistance.
For more information about “Sound Resilience: Get on Board!” and how to register your class,
email education@maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2270.

Study Cruises (By Charter)

cruise - high school

Cruises take place aboard The Maritime Aquarium's unique R/V Spirit of the Sound, a 64-foot catamaran that is the country's first research vessel with hybrid-electric propulsion. She's bigger, greener and quieter than our previous boat.

Cost: $850 for up to 40 participants. Additional Aquarium admission is optional.


Biodiversity and Conservation Cruise (Grades 9-12)

April-June and September-November: 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. weekends. July & August: 9 a.m. daily.
Students utilize such sampling techniques as a plankton tow, biodredge and trawl net and then identify and classify the taxonomy of animals hauled up from the Sound, from microscopic
plankton to crabs, mollusks and a variety of fish (maybe even small sharks). Review data showing population trends over time and learn about the conservation issues facing Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound.

Standards: Grades 9-12: Next Gen., LS1.B, LS1.C, LS4.C, LS4.D; Common Core, HS5.IC.B.3 CT Science, 9.8, 10.2; CT Core Scientific, D INQ: 6, 10.

NEW! AP Environmental Science Cruise (Grades 9-12)

This new program provides a fieldwork experience designed to link directly to the AP Environmental Science curriculum. Students collect water samples in the inner and outer harbor. They test for dissolved oxygen, pH, carbon dioxide and other variables, compare the findings in the two locations and discuss the results. For many students, the highlight is getting muddy as they examine a biodredge sample for crabs, mollusks, sponges and other organisms to determine species richness. Disembark at the end of the program with data you have collected and ideas for analysis back in your classroom.

Standards: Grades 9-12: Next Gen., LS2.C, LS4.D, ESS3.D.

Oceanography Cruise (Grades 9-12)

This unique program focuses on the physical aspects of the world’s oceans. Students collect and examine plankton samples to spark consideration of how phytoplankton and photosynthesis relate to Earth’s atmosphere. They take weather readings and sample water at different depths, gathering their own data on temperature, salinity and turbidity to contribute to a discussion of the role of the oceans as indicators of global climate change. And they learn how seemingly slight changes in ocean temperatures and currents drive changes in weather in marine and terrestrial environments worldwide. Disembark at the end of the program with data you have collected and ideas for analysis back in your classroom. 2.5 hours.

Standards: Grades 9-12: Next Gen., LS2.B, ESS2.C.

Cruises can occur in rain, cold and wind, and are canceled only if conditions are dangerous. Please dress accordingly!

All observations made on study cruises are recorded. This data is part of an ongoing student-based research project called the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Study.

Field Programs

Explore the marine life at a local beach! Learn more.

Financial Assistance

Need financial assistance? Download the Group Financial-aid Form and either email it to reservations@maritimeaquarium.org or mail to: The Maritime Aquarium, 10 North Water Street, Norwalk, CT 06854; or fax it to: (203) 852-8892.

Our Mission

Mission: The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

Contact Us

Open Daily 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Phone: (203) 852-0700

10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854

Directions Contact Us