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You’ll need to make many decisions as you set up your Aquarium field trip. Use this step-by-step field trip planning guide to make sure that you have covered everything, from reservations to check-in and parking to planning your choice of activities, lunch, and more. We also have a printable Field Trip Checklist (PDF).
Make a Case for Your Field Trip
We understand it isn’t always easy to make a case for field trips, even valuable ones. Here are some educational resources and activities we hope will help.
Pick a Date and Time
Make your reservations at least two weeks in advance to receive the group discount rate. Book your field trip or program with our Reservations Team at 617-973-5206, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by completing a group inquiry form.
Other tips and considerations:
- The Aquarium is at its busiest at the end of the week from 9 a.m.–12 p.m, April through June.
- Have a first and second choice of dates when booking.
- We recommend at least two and a half hours to make the most of the Aquarium experience. Consider time for visiting the exhibits, seeing a film at Simons Theatre, eating at the Harbor View Café, and exploring the Gift Shop.
Decide on an Itinerary
In addition to exploring the Aquarium, you may add a range of programs to your visit, including classes, films, guided tours behind the scenes, or excursions on a New England Aquarium Ecoventure or Whale Watch.
Add a Simons Theatre film to your field trip
See what’s playing at Simons Theatre, New England’s biggest movie screen. Super-sized films will take your students to some of the world’s most remarkable places—from the bottom of the sea to outer space and almost everywhere in between. The films provide students of all ages with larger-than-life experiences, perfect for capturing the imagination and interest of young minds. Concession packs and teacher guides for films are also available. Teachers and groups visiting the Aquarium may:
- Arrange to see a movie. Please reserve your screening while setting up your field trip or making your group reservation.
- Ask about showing a film from our library
Add an Ecoventure or Whale Watch Cruise
Do your students want to see where we keep the really big animals? Join us for an Ecoventure or Whale Watch cruise! If booked, plan to have your entire group assemble on the plaza near the Whale Watch check-in booth while the head chaperone checks in. Please make sure everyone in your group knows how to get ready for a whale watch, including proper clothing.
Review Chaperones Requirements
The number of chaperones required is determined by the age and number of students.
- Preschool: one chaperone for every three students
- Grades K–4: one chaperone for every five students
- Grades 5–8: one chaperone for every seven students
- Grades 9–12: one chaperone for every 10 students
- Special needs groups: one chaperone for every student
Other rules and considerations:
- Chaperones must stay with their group at all times. Please do not leave your group unchaperoned.
- Please assign a group leader. This person is responsible for all communication between the Aquarium and your school.
- Chaperones are admitted to the Aquarium free of charge. Additional adults pay the group rate.
Plan for Lunch
Harbor View Café Voucher Program
- Group lunch vouchers are available ($15.00 + tax per person) for the Harbor View Café, located on level 2 of the Aquarium.
- Please note that the Harbor View Café is only available for use if you are purchasing food or lunch vouchers. If you are bringing lunch, please arrange an outside location for your meal.
- We are unable to store lunches at the New England Aquarium.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace Food Voucher Program
Groups of all sizes can also enjoy a meal at any time from participating Quincy Market Colonnade Restaurants, about a five-minute walk from the Aquarium. Order your Faneuil Hall Marketplace Food Voucher and present vouchers when ordering.
Confirm Your Reservation
You will be emailed a confirmation packet. Please review this packet carefully, as it contains helpful information to ensure a successful visit. Make sure the date, time, and program match your records.
The email also contains a reservation confirmation number. Please refer to it when calling the Aquarium and when checking in for your group upon arrival.
Get the Most Out of Your Trip
Share this shark and ray interaction videos with students and chaperones.
Educational Resources and Activities
Explore educational activities for a more comprehensive look at an animal or topic. These activities can be easily adapted for home or the classroom.
Chaperone Guides: Helpful Questions to Stimulate Discussion
Enhance your visit to the New England Aquarium and help chaperones feel confident about leading a group with these chaperone guides. Each is designed to build science skills and group discussion by providing guiding questions to explore during your visit. Select the grade span and topic that best supports your classroom curriculum or field trip goals.
Grade level guides:
If you booked a class to visit the New England Aquarium and want to make a trip to the Aquarium beforehand to plan your visit, you are welcome to do so. Teachers may present their field trip confirmation letter to gain free admission to the Aquarium.
Make Your Payment
- A 50% non-refundable deposit is due 30 days before your arrival date.
- Need to cancel or reschedule? Your deposit will be available for use 90 days from the date of your. cancellation/exchange/refund request. If the deposit isn’t applied to a trip within 90 days, the deposit will be forfeited.
- The final non-refundable payment and headcount are due one week prior to arrival.
- If you do not provide payment, your group will be refused entry to the Aquarium.
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
- Do you have your Reservation Confirmation Letter with your confirmation number?
- Do you have directions to the Aquarium?
- Do you have a map of the Aquarium?
- Do you have the bus drop-off/pick-up permit from your confirmation package to post on the dashboard of your bus? The New England Aquarium has no on-site bus parking. Please be sure you have directions to where you are parking your bus and the facility’s pricing. Review our parking information before your visit.
- Have you made your deposit? Final payment is due one week before arrival. If you do not have payment in full by the deadline, your group may be refused admission.
Reinforce Ocean Learning Back in the Classroom
Keep the ocean education flowing! Follow up your field trip with classroom activities and plan some ocean-related outdoor activities.