Outreach Programs

Can’t get to the aquarium? We’ll come to you! Explore the outreach programming available through Great Lakes Aquarium.

Great Lakes Aquarium offers programming that can come to your classroom, youth group, family gathering, and more. Click on the buttons below to learn more about our different outreach programs. For more information, contact Samantha Smingler at ssmingler@glaquarium.org or (218) 740-2027.


Aquarium Outreach

Some of our classes and animals can come to you! We provide outreach classes in schools, youth centers and outdoor festival settings.

ClassGrade Level DurationMN Science Standards Addressed
Creature Feature
Which animals call the Great Lakes home? Explore the five major groups of vertebrates. Discover what they all have in common and how they are different. Students will swim like a trout, play like an otter or fly like a golden eye while investigating the special features that help these animals survive in their habitat.
K - 51 hour0.,,,,,,
Fantastic Frogs
Hop, Jump, Plop! Frogs are fantastic with their slimy skin and watery ways. Eat like a frog, practice your jumping, and learn about their special changing life.
K-51 hour0.,,,,,,
Creepy Crawlies
Do bugs bug you? Do you shudder at the thought of a slithering snake? Students will learn about animals that creep and crawl and find that they are not so scary! These critters can help people and our world. Students will meet live animals up close and explore similarities, differences and connections to themselves.
K-51 hour0.,
Snouty Seahorses
Head, cornet, eyes and snout...eyes and snout. What is it like to be a seahorse? What do they eat? How do they move? Join us to learn more about the unique lives of seahorses through music, movement, literature, hands-on activities and art.
K-21 hour0.,
Water's Incredible Journey
Where does the water go? Students will become a drop of water and travel through the water cycle on an incredible journey. Learn more about the ways that we use, enjoy and protect water resources in the Great Lakes region.
3-51 hour2.,,,,
Stories in Stone
If you know what to listen and look for, rocks can tell all kinds of stories. What are they made of and how did they form? How can you tell them apart? Students will learn to identify local rock samples from the shores of Lake Superior and rock out in our “geo-theater”.
3-121 hour4.,,,,
Herpetology: Slime and Scales
Whether they love ‘em or hate ‘em reptiles and amphibians fascinate people. Students will explore the characteristics of “herps”, delve into adaptations and learn about their life cycles. Enjoy hands-on activities and a visit from a live reptile or amphibian.
3-81 hour3.,,,,
Water Olympics
How many drops of water can you fit on a penny? This student directed exploration of water includes hands-on experiments that delve into the properties of water such as adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension.
3-81 hour3.,,,,
Lake Lab - Limnology
How warm is too warm? Is there enough oxygen to support life? How does the pH compare to milk? Students will explore water samples to learn more about the chemical and physical properties required for life. Get a a behind-the-scenes glimpse at water quality at aquarium, collect and analyze water samples from the Duluth Harbor and connect the dots between the physical, chemical and biological lake.
3-121 hour
Aquatic Invaders Our waters are under invasion! Is there enough room for them? What happens when they arrive? Students will get a closer look at the introduction, impacts and spread of regional invasive species. 3-121 hour

Cost: 1 hour = $60; Each additional hour = $40

Fees noted above support travel, animal transport and instruction within 20 miles of Great Lakes Aquarium. Outreach beyond 20 miles will incur an additional mileage fee of $0.55/mile.

Click here to book an outreach visit!

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Partners in Education (PIE) – Grades 3-5

Cost: Free

Contact the PIE coordinator, David Stieler, at pie.gla@gmail.com for current offerings or to schedule a visit from PIE staff.

This partnership between Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota Sea Grant Program and the University of Minnesota Duluth trains volunteer educators to provide free outreach programs to Twin Ports schools. The topics covered such as weather, watersheds, properties of water and geology, change each semester and are all relevant to the Great Lakes.

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Underwater Science – Grades 6-9

Cost: Free instruction and equipment; participating school/group is responsible for pool rental.

Local SCUBA instructor and Dive Master Elmer Engman offers a unique way for your student to “dive” into science.  Mr. Engman will visit with your students in the classroom introducing basic science principles such as buoyancy, drag, and water’s effect on sound as they apply to SCUBA diving.  A second session gets everyone in the water practicing their new SCUBA skills and conducting experiments underwater.  Dive gear, dive instruction and pre/post lesson materials provided.  Access to school or community pool is the responsibility of school staff.  Program length is dependent on group size.  Call us today at 218-740-2000 to learn more or schedule a visit!

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MinnAqua Program Fishing: Get in the Habitat!

Cost: Varies with program; some free options available.

The MinnAqua Program is the DNR’s state-wide fishing and aquatic resource outreach program. The Northern Minnesota MinnAqua Specialist is housed at the Great Lakes Aquarium. During the months of Ma.y - August the MinnAqua Intern is available to present MinnAqua fishing programs. MinnAqua offers fishing and aquatic resource stewardship programming and resources for all seasons. Fishing activities include ice fishing, fly fishing and shore fishing with a resource management and environmental stewardship focus. Click on the MinnAqua icon to access their website and curriculum materials.

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