Homeschool week | Field trips
Email: sales(at)sealifeus [dot] com
Sea Life Minnesota, formerly Underwater Adventures Aquarium, at Mall of America features thousands of sea creatures in a 1.3 million gallon aquarium. You will see everything from freshwater Stingrays and four-foot Alligator Gar to 350-pound Sea Turtles and 9-foot sharks … plus Jellyfish and Seahorses as well.
Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium offers interactive, hands-on visits with an array of amazing creatures along with helpful and knowledgeable staff to answer your questions and provide unique facts about the creatures that you'll see. An inspiring visit for all.
- The Tunnel - The amazing 300-ft long glass tunnel takes you 14 feet under the water's surface to witness the lakes, rivers, reefs, and oceans of the world.
- Rainbow Reef — Home to Bamboo Sharks, Coral Cat Sharks, Royal Blue Tang, Yellow Tang, Unicorn Tang, Porcupine Pufferfish, Green Sea Turtle & more! Snorkel opportunities are available in this tank.
- Shark Cove — Home to many different vicious predators. Get up close to Sand Tiger Sharks, Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Guitarfish, Honeycomb Stingray and dozens of other species.
- Wild Amazon — Midas Cichlid, Catfish, Spiny Softshell Turtles and more, check out all the Amazon has to offer.
- Sturgeon Lake — Alligator Gar, Lake Sturgeon, Large Mouth Bass, Muskellunge and many other familiar fish found in Minnesota lakes.
- Pacific Northwest Rock Pool - Rockpools are amazing micro-habitats full of incredible creatures! Rockpools are made from water left behind when the tide goes out. Many different creatures live in these shallow pools – they all need to be tough to adapt to different temperatures and waves crashing over them! Are you brave enough to pet a Sea Star, Sea Anemone or Sea Cucumber?
- Jellyfish Discovery - Jellies are older than all of our ancient reptiles. Scientists believe they first swam in our oceans around 500 million years ago! Jellyfish have no nerves; no blood, no heart and no brain, and their bodies consist 95% of water! There are more than 350 different species of jellies. A species of jellyfish, the Box Jellyfish (Sea Wasp) kills more people than any other marine creature each year! At SEA LIFE Minnesota, you can see enchanting Moon Jellyfish and Atlantis Sea Nettles.
- Seahorse Kingdom - All seahorses share some interesting traits; their jaws are fused to form a straw-like snout; instead of scales, they have thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates; they are poor swimmers, so they cling to vegetation with their tails. You can discover these amazing creatures as you journey into our Seahorse Kingdom exhibit during your visit.
- Coral Caves — Did you know that clownfish live in the venomous tentacles of sea anemones? They are one of the only ocean creatures that can do this as they are protected by a layer of slimy mucus on their skin! Clownfish like to live in sea anemones so that they are protected from predators and can nibble on leftover food the sea anemone catches. In return, they help keep sea anemones and the area around them clean by eating up algae and other reef debris.
- Ray Lagoon - There are over 500 different species of stingrays and skate in our oceans and rivers. Their closest relative is the shark: rays evolved from sharks around 150 million years ago! Just like sharks, rays don’t have a bony skeleton. Instead, their skeleton is made of cartilage (just like our nose and ears). This makes them lighter so it is easier for rays to glide through the ocean. Kids of all ages can witness these graceful creatures in action in the 15,000-gallon Ray Lagoon which houses dozens of stingrays and guitarfish.
- Mysteries of the Rainforest — Walk past trees and waterfalls as you check out Caiman Crocodile, Blue Poison Dart Frogs and Brutus the Alligator Snapping Turtle.
Description: General Aquarium admission and Behind-the-Scenes Tours for homeschool students and families are offered at a reduced rate during standard open hours. Admission is valid all day.
Activity Stations — Take part in interactive learning stations geared towards a variety of ages from Elementary School to High School. Network with other families from the homeschool community, while learning about marine life and science.
Target age range: for all ages! Your group may include any family member, including grandparents. Your guests do not need proof of homeschool status but must be both accompanied by and paid for with a homeschool family.
For more information, call 952-853-0631, email sales(at)sealifeus.com or visit www2.visitsealife.com/minnesota/discover/schools/homeschool/
Groups of 10 or more homeschoolers qualify for school group pricing on General Admission and Behind-the-Scenes Tours.
For more information, call 952-853-0631, email sales(at)sealifeus.com or visit www2.visitsealife.com/minnesota/discover/school-groups/
Behind the Scenes Tours
Description: A 45-minute guided tour that will take you up on deck above the tunnel system where you can see animals that are currently off-exhibit. You will then explore the Laboratory to find out how Sea Life treats and maintains the 1.3 million gallons of water that make up the aquarium. Finally, your tour guide will take you into the Food Prep Kitchen to see what Sea Life feed their thousands of creatures in order to keep them healthy and strong.
For more information, call 952-853-0631, email sales(at)sealifeus.com or visit www2.visitsealife.com/minnesota/discover/experiences/behind-the-scenes-tours/
Marine Science Classroom
Description: 45-minute sessions designed to inspire and educate students from preschool through high school.
Homes in the Sea: Habitats - From reefs to tide pools, discover the places that animals call home.
Survival at Sea: Animal Adaptations — Find out how animals have adapted to survive in this watery world.
What’s for Lunch? Food Chains — Learn about food chains and how each animal plays a part.
Sensational Senses — Study the 6 senses of sharks, in comparison to the 5 senses of humans.
Ocean Conservation — Learn what pollutants are affecting on the world’s oceans from garbage and plastics, to chemicals and effluents, and even oil spills.
Marine Science Careers: Take a deeper look into career paths and job opportunities within the aquarium and zoo industry, and learn how having a marine science career can have an impact on conservation and wildlife efforts.
For more information, call 952-853-0631, email sales(at)sealifeus.com or visit www2.visitsealife.com/minnesota/discover/school-groups/
Sleep Under the Sea
Description: Sleep under the sea with your group of 15 or more! Overnight program includes Night Hike through the Aquarium, Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Pizza Party, Activities and Crafts, Light Breakfast (juice and donuts), Souvenir Activity, T-shirt, Discounts on Gift Store Merchandise.
For more information, call 952-853-0631, email sales(at)sealifeus.com or visit www.visitsealife.com/minnesota/discover/experiences/overnights-at-sea-life-minnesota/
Snorkel with the Fish
Description: Book an hour long Snorkel with the Fish adventure for your group of 8 or more. Get up close to over 65 types of tropical fish including Puffers, Stingrays and even Sharks! It's a great experience for anyone who is adventurous, comfortable in the water and age 9 and above. No special certifications required! Perfect for families, individuals or large groups up to 30.
One hour program includes 20 minute education briefing and tour; 30 minute snorkel and 10 minute shower).
For more information, call 952-853-0631, email sales(at)sealifeus.com or visit www.visitsealife.com/minnesota/discover/experiences/snorkeling/
Description: Spotlight Workshops focus on a single species. Students learn about the habitat and range of the species, how common they are in aquariums, what food items they eat in the wild, what they eat at the aquarium, how large they grow, things about their physiology etc. Plus students learn specifically about a representative animal at the aquarium, including how Sea Life obtained it, where it came from, how it was transported to Sea Life, how Sea Life specifically cares for it at the aquarium, what its size is, what its diet in captivity is, and then talk about some other aquariums that have the species.
These programs have been developed for grades 4 through 7. Sea Life is intentionally using grade testing level in science rather than age in recognition that homeschool students have the opportunity to pursue individual subjects at a pace the suits each individual. (The "typical" ages for grades 4 through 7 would be 9 years through 13 years.)
Sea Life will be adding the use of microscopes to incorporate more technology in science. If I understood correctly, they are actually purchasing microscopes for this purpose, so those signed up for the Tue, May 8 Spotlight should not necessarily expect to see them.
To schedule one of these programs, contact Melissa Schrock at 952-853-0612 or melissa [dot] schrock [at] sealifeus [dot] com
Based on suggestions, Sea Life is adding the use of microscopes to incorporate more technology in science and beefing up the program considerably, adding more scientific information and hands-on activities. They will be incorporating some video of the species in the wild, beefing up the geographic information, incorporating the observation of feed times, and creating a flexible “Scientific Journal” where students can choose to log what they are learning, using words or pictures or whatever fits their learning style … or even choose not to use it at all. And more stuff, too.
Building the program up in these ways has necessitated a new program development time-line. Sea Life is going to focus on developing 2 new animal workshops each season of the school year over the next three years. I've included the current working time-line below, so you can see what is coming up (subject to change). This means that more time can be spent writing each programs to ensure they are of the highest quality. Children currently at a 4th or 5th grade testing level in science can look forward to something new to do at the aquarium for the next three years. (Sea Life does currently offer an existing Middle School/High School curriculum, so the exploration doesn't need to end at 7th grade.)
Spring 2012 (Trial)
Bowmouth Guitarfish (Lola)
Learn about the Bowmouth Guitarfish, an elasmobranch species, in depth at this special workshop.
Learn about the habitat and range of the Bowmouth Guitarfish, how common they are, what food items they eat in the wild, how large they grow and their physiology etc. Then learn specifically about the Bowmouth Guitarfish at Sea Life, “Lola," including how the aquarium obtained Lola, where she came from, how she was transported to Sea Life, how the staff specifically care for her at the aquarium, what her size is, what her diet in captivity is, things you have to be careful with in keeping a Bowmouth Guitarfish in captivity, and also learn about some other aquariums that have Bowmouth Guitarfish here in the United States.
The group will spend 90 minutes in a variety of interactive tasks learning specifically about Bowmouth Guitarfish and then have another hour to explore the aquarium on their own.
Sandtiger Shark (X)
Learn about the Sand Tiger Shark in depth at this special workshop with a special focus on the individual X, one of the Sand Tiger Sharks at Sea Life Minnesota.
Learn about the habitat and range of the Sand Tiger Shark, how common they are, what food items they eat in the wild, how large they grow and their physiology etc. Then learn specifically about X, a Sand Tiger Shark at Sea Life, including how the aquarium obtained X, where he came from, how he was transported to Sea Life, how the staff specifically care for him at the aquarium, what his size is, what his diet in captivity is, things you have to be careful with in keeping a Sand Tiger Shark in captivity, and also learn about some other aquariums that have Sand Tiger Shark here in the United States.
The group will spend 1-1/2 to 2 hours in a variety of interactive tasks learning specifically about Sand Tiger Shark. Please plan for an additional hour to explore the aquarium after the program.
Note, this program should be timed to include a feeding, which is scheduled for 1:30pm on Tuesday.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Amelio)
The Loggerhead Turtle Workshop is 2 hours long and designed to be at a 4th–6th grade testing level for science. The workshop should be booked on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a start time of 12:30, so that the students taking the workshop can be at the aquarium at the correct time, when Amelio is being fed. While you are in the workshop, you will learn the following:
- The phylogeny of reptiles and traits of reptiles
- Difference FW and SW turtles
- Loggerhead physiology including shell
- Difference between turtles and tortoises
- How many different types of living sea turtles there are
- Conservation status of Loggerheads
- Migration Patterns of Loggerheads
- Loggerhead nesting areas
- Ocean habitats
- Reproduction in Loggerheads
- Behaviors in Loggerheads
- Predator/Prey relationships — What preys on Loggerhead turtles and what do Loggerheads prey on?
- Amelio’s story. How did he come to the aquarium? Where was he originally from? How was he named? What is his personality? What is his age? What is his size? How is he fed? How is he cared for? What medical needs does he have?
• Southern Stingray (Jack)
• Nurse Shark (Jayla)
• Octopus (K-Love)
• Arapaima (Opo)
• Alligator Gar (Dana)
• Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle (Oyster)
• Goliath Grouper (Bubba)
• Lake Sturgeon
• Blacktip Reef Shark
• Alligator Snapping Turtle (Brutus)