School Programs

Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Programs for Pre-Kindergarten and Elementary School (Grades K-5)

In The Sea Series: Families, Hiding, or Buddies (Pre-K)
Preschoolers will investigate and explore animal families, camouflage, or symbiosis in these station-based programs. Students (and chaperones) will learn about sea animals through role play, hands on sequencing or sorting activities, and an art project that students can take back to the classroom. Choose a theme (Families, Hiding, or Buddies) and let the learning begin!

Time: 45 minutes
Fee: $185/class


Fanny Fish (Grades K-1)

Through a participatory story, children are introduced to sea animals by matching, identifying, and describing animal groups. Fish characteristics are reinforced as children help Fanny search for her family. 

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $200/class


The Happy Hermit Crab (Grades K-1)
What?! A hermit crab is not a true crab? Students will examine live hermit crabs (based on availability) and learn about unique hermit crab anatomy by participating in an engaging story and comparing hermit crab bodies to their own bodies. They can take home their own creative craft to remind them of their hermit crab experience.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $200/class


Fins & Feathers (Grades K-2) 
Penguins and fish may share a habitat, but there are stark differences in how they've adapted to survive in the sea. Students will compare and contrast the characteristics of these fascinating animals through biofact investigation, group activity.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $200/class


Designed For The Deep (Grades 1-5)
Could you survive in the ocean? In this program, students learn about adaptations for life in an aquatic environment and develop explanations for their observations through discussion, role-playing, and an examination of biofacts.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $200/class


Marine Mammals (Grades 3-5)
How long can YOU hold your breath? Investigate adaptations for moving, feeding, breathing, and other life functions that all marine mammals need to thrive in marine environments. Through biofact examination and hands-on activities, students will come to appreciate these amazing creatures. Visiting our walruses, sea lions, harbor seals, and otters will help add context to lessons learned.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $200/class

The Edge of The Sea (Grades 1-5)
Make the beach your personal classroom! An exploratory walk on the Coney Island beach introduces your students to a sandy shore habitat. Your students will discover the living and non-living components of this environment by examining sand, making observations, beach combing, classifying "signs of life", and discussing the adaptations of animals that survive in our local marine ecosystem (offered spring and fall only).

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $210/class


Tour (Grades 1 and Up): See below to read more about our Tour option.

Scroll to the end of the page to review program registration information.


Programs for Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Fish: Diversity and Adaptations
Students will learn about the survival strategies of one of the most successful vertebrates on earth. The class begins with hands-on group work exploring typical fish behavior and common physical characteristics. After this class, students will view Aquarium exhibits with new appreciation for the remarkable array of adaptations found in this group of animals.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $210/class


Survival Beneath the Surface (Grades 6-8):
Students are encouraged to think critically about how animals adapt to survive in a world that is wet. Through discussion, visual instruction, and handling of biofacts, students will be able to identify visual evidence of adaptations and make predictions about how aquatic animals are especially adapted to their habitats.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $210


The Edge of The Sea (Grades 6-8)
Make the beach your personal classroom! Join us on an exploratory walk on the Coney Island beach that introduces your class to a sandy shore habitat. Your students will discover the living and non-living components of this environment by examining sand, making observations, beach combing, classifying "signs of life", and discussing the adaptations of animals that survive in our local marine ecosystem (offered spring and fall only).

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $210/class

Tour (Grades 1 and Up): See below to read more about our Tour option.

Scroll to the end of the page to review program registration information.


Programs for High School (Grades 9-12)

Fish: Diversity and Adaptations
Students will learn about the survival strategies of one of the most successful vertebrates on earth. The class begins with hands-on group work exploring typical fish behavior and common physical characteristics. After this class, students will view Aquarium exhibits with new appreciation for the remarkable array of adaptations found in this group of animals.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $210/class


Coral Reef Ecology
Some of the world's most diverse and dazzling animals inhabit the coral reef ecosystem. Through visual aids and lively discourse, biofact investigations and exhibit viewing at coral reef tanks, students will discover why the balance between coral reefs and their inhabitants is so fragile.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $210/class

Tour (Grades 1 and Up): See below to read more about our Tour option.

Scroll to the end of the page to review program registration information.


Tours (Grades 1 and up)

Explore the New York Aquarium’s amazing animals with a guided tour lead by one of our conservation education instructors. This 1-hour tour will touch upon a variety of topics that may highlight, among other subjects, classification, adaptations, habitats, biodiversity, conservation, careers, and climate change. Our collection provides for us very special teachable moments to solidify concepts approached in the formal classroom. When booking your tour, please let us know what will best meet your learning goals.

Time: 1 hour
Fee: $200/class (Grades 1 and up)


Urban Advantage Programs (for Urban Advantage Teachers Only)

Urban Advantage teachers may choose from the list of middle school programs above or from the UA-specific programs options below. UA-specific programs help to support science research skills developed in your classroom.

UA Invertebrates - Invertebrates are animals without backbones; but, are they "simple minded?" Many invertebrates do not have large complex nervous systems; but, they are still capable of complex behaviors. In this program, we will draw, handle, and observe select invertebrate specimens and come up with questions that could help guide your students to think about invertebrates as a subject for scientific research.

UA Marine Mammals - How do these fascinating mammals survive in the ocean? During this program, students will learn about marine mammals, their adaptations, behaviors, and evolutionary journey. Concepts will be reinforced through biofact handling. Students will observe our seals, sea lions, and walruses to develop ethograms of their unique behaviors.

UA Tour - Dive into the New York Aquarium! This program will enhance your students' knowledge of aquatic life and build their sense of wonder. This guided excursion will introduce your young scientists to amazing wildlife on which they can focus their behavioral studies.

Teachers: when booking your UA-specific programs or other programs listed above, please have your class trip voucher numbers ready.


School or Group Program Registration and Trip Information

1. Registration for the 2014-15 school season is now open.  All program fees include admission and parking for one (1) bus.

2. To make a reservation for a NYA education program, please complete this online program request form. One form must be completed by each teacher or group leader. After the completed form is submitted, the NYA Education Registrar will contact you within 2 days to book your program based on availabilities. Feel free to contact us regarding our programs or the registration process at (718) 265-3457 or via email to nyaregistrar@wcs.org, Monday through Friday, between 9:00am and 4:30pm. For a self-guided group visit (that is, a visit without an NYA educator-lead program), please contact the Group Sales office by phone at 1-800-433-4149 or via email at wcsgroupsales@wcs.org.

3. Ratios for program classes and tours have changed. Please note the new ratios: PreK-K = 25 students and 7 adults; 1st grade and up = 35 students and 7 adults; special needs groups = 6 students and 6 adults or 12 students and 12 adults. Please be sure to mention that you are booking for a special needs group when registering. Additional adults/teachers will be charged a discounted admission rate if paid in advance. If paying the day of your visit, they will be charged the regular admission rate and must wait in line to purchase tickets. Additional adults beyond the maximum allowed in the program or tour will be able to explore the facility during the program; but, they are not admitted into the program.


5. Once your information has been processed, a confirmation letter with program information, including session dates, times and classroom locations will be emailed to you. This letter serves as your admission ticket and must be shown at the entrance gate at the New York Aquarium on the date(s) of the scheduled program date.

6. Cancellation and Refund Policy: You must send your cancellation in writing to the New York Aquarium Education Department. All programs are held rain or shine unless trips are cancelled by school officials or an aquarium closure is in effect. There is a 50% refund if you cancel at least 4 weeks in advance. There is no refund for cancellations made less than 4 weeks in advance. Rescheduling may be possible depending on availability.


Field Trip FAQs: Getting the most out of your trip to the New York Aquarium