Some aquariums and zoos even offer the option to use their facilities to hold special events outside of normal business. What could be more fun than to have a birthday or anniversary party at an aquarium?
During holidays and summers, aquariums often have special displays as well as special discounts on admission prices. Some aquariums have even begun offering visitors the opportunity to scuba dive in their displays.
Public aquariums are wonderful learning experiences for children. Many facilities offer educational materials and programs. School groups can usually get special rates, and are provided with chaperones to conduct a customized tour for the group. Most of the larger aquariums offer both offsite and onsite educational programs.
Don't forget that many zoos have aquarium sections, so check them out too. Every aquarium or zoo has a curator (often several). Curators are very dedicated people who are passionate about their trade. If you contact the curator of the aquarium you want to visit, I guarantee they will be delighted to work with your school group.
Quite a few public aquariums have jumped into the Internet waters by offering sites featuring virtual tours. Some have live fish cams, while others offer educational reading, and many offer games with aquatic themes.
Here are some of my favorite online aquarium sites.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium - If you like webcams, this is the site to visit. Always something interesting to see!
- L’Aquàrium de Barcelona - Very interesting site, available in several languages.
- Tennessee Aquarium - The world's largest freshwater aquarium has a wealth of info online.
- Shedd Aquarium - Great interactive views of their exhibits.
Have you visited a public aquarium and have something to share about your visit? Email your comments to me and I'll add them to this feature.