More than 70% of school groups participating in aquarium education programs are from public schools.
Most school groups come from four counties: Fresno, Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.
The aquarium has provided free field trip visits to an average of 80,000 students each year since opening in 1984.
Approximately 1,500 Head Start students and their parents have participated in Splash Zone programs each year for the past 11 years – 17,000 to date.
Approximately 14,000 students and 5,000 adult chaperones participate in Discovery Lab classroom programs each year.
Approximately 14,000 students and 5,000 adult chaperones participate in Ocean Explorer auditorium programs each year.
In 2011, the aquarium offered five flexibly-structured Home School Days; 4,897 students and 3,567 adults participated at no charge.
93% of teachers who brought students indicate that the aquarium’s conservation mission came through during the visit, 67% indicated that the mission fits well with their curriculum and 85% indicated that the mission makes the programs more valuable to them.
Teachers give the aquarium’s education programs a high rating for educational value – a score of 6.55 on a 7- point scale.
Third through fifth grade students comprise the highest visitation (37%), followed by kindergarten through second grade (32%), sixth through eighth grade (17%) and ninth through 12th grade students (14%).
The aquarium works with Head Start centers (44 total) in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties to provide multiple aquarium visits and free transportation to preschoolers and their parents each year, and to provide ongoing training and support for Head Start parents and teachers.