Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

Mall of America
120 East Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425

Homeschool weekSpotlight workshops

Education Groups: 952-853-0612
Website: http://www.visitsealife.com/Minnesota/

Sea Life Minnesota, formerly Underwater Adventures Aquarium, at Mall of America features more than 5,000 sea creatures that you can see and even touch! Come face to face with sea turtles, sharks, stingrays and much more!

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 glass tunnel takes you 14 feet under the water's surface to witness the lakes, rivers, reefs, and deeper oceans of the world. See sharks, stingrays, sawfish, and endangered sea turtles in Shark Cove and revel in the beautiful wonders of the Wild Amazon. Take in an angler's paradise of Fisherman's Hollow and complete your underwater odyssey in the colorful coral gardens of Rainbow Reef.
  • Jellyfish Discovery - Explore the new interactive adventure, Jellyfish Discovery, featuring the World's Largest Jellyfish Collection. Marvel at Jellyfish from around the world in this one-of-a-kind adventure.
  • Behind the Scenes Tour - See first-hand how to care for the World's Largest Shark Collection with an exclusive Behind-the-Scenes tour! This tour is a 45-minute trip to our food-prep kitchen, laboratory, and the "top of the tanks" - above the aquarium exhibits and as close as possible to over 150 sharks without getting wet!
  • Seahorse Kingdom - Enter an enchancted kingdom with hundreds of Seahorses from around the world. Marvel at 6 species of Seahorses including the magnificent Sea Dragon! Witness pregnant seahorse dads, as well as baby seahorses, all while learning how Seahorses thrive in their environments.
  • Starfish Beach - Dive into all the excitement at Starfish Beach! Discover new adventures on the Pirate Ship, and ride The Plunge virtual submarine ride all in one place. The fun never stops at Starfish Beach!
  • Rock Pool - No trip to the aquarium is complete until you touch real live sea creatures at the rock pool! Touch real sea stars, crabs, snails, and more creatures from the sea!

Homeschool week

Homeschool students, teachers and their families are invited to explore the aquarium and participate in educational activity stations. Encounter sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and over 10,000 other sea creatures throughout the aquarium.

Explore Activity Stations on the week's theme from 10am-1pm. Come and go as you please and 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.

Add a Behind-the-Scenes Tour! 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 for one reason or another. 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 feeds 10,000+ creatures in order to keep them healthy and strong. Behind-the-Scenes Tours are subject to availability and must be booked in advance.

Cost per person: $5/all-day general admission including acitivty stations + $3/Behind-the-Scenes Tour (optional). Free for children ages 2 and under
Note: General admission is normally $19.99/adult and $15.99/child. Behind the Scenes Tours are normally $6.99/person.


Spotlight workshops

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.

Fall 2012

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)

Spring 2013
• Nurse Shark (Jayla)
• Octopus (K-Love)

Fall 2013
• Paddlefish
• Arapaima (Opo)

Spring 2014
• Alligator Gar (Dana)
• Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle (Oyster)

Fall 2014
• Goliath Grouper (Bubba)
• Lake Sturgeon

Spring 2015
• Blacktip Reef Shark
• Alligator Snapping Turtle (Brutus)


Learn with the sharks!

Reduced admission and classroom programs for groups of 10 and up.

SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium features many amazing adventures all in one location. With over 1.2 million gallons of water and over 10,000 sea creatures, it's the World's Largest Underground Aquarium!

Add on a 45 minute Marine Science Classroom Session to complement the aquarium tour. Age-appropriate sessions are available for students from Preschool through High School. All programs meet Minnesota State Academic Standards.
Minimum of 10 students required.

See first-hand how we care for over 10,000 animals with an exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Tour! This tour is a 45 minute trip to our food-prep kitchen, laboratory and the top of the tanks above the aquarium exhibits. Available for all age groups.
Minimum of 10 people per tour.

Sleep under the sea with your group! Overnight program includes Night Hike through the Aqarium, Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Pizza Party, Activities and Crafts, Light Breakfast (juice and donuts), T-shirt, Discounts on Gift Store Merchandise.

Book an hour long Snorkel with the Fish adventure. 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.

More information at www.visitsealife.com/minnesota/schools-and-groups/schools/