Teachers' Planning Guide

The Pier Aquarium's educational mission: To share information about our most valuable natural resource, the marine environment, and conservation and other environmental concerns with visitors and students.

We invite you and your students to explore diverse marine environments from around the world, starting with our own backyard in Tampa Bay, voyaging the Caribbean and the Pacific coral reefs and discovering the predators of the Atlantic.

For more information, please call the Education Department, (727) 895-7437, ext. 208.

Plan Your Visit

    • Check your group confirmation that was mailed to you to be sure the information is correct.
    • Share Aquarium etiquette, program requirements and activities with each student.
    • Distribute museum store purchase request forms to students to bring home to parents.
    • Make nametags for each student to wear with student's first name and school name.
    • Make plans for lunch. Picnic facilities are available outside on the first level of The Pier or at Spa Beach Park.
    • Cancellations or rescheduling of your educational program must be made 48 hours before the confirmed date. Cancellations or rescheduling are accepted 10am-8pm Monday-Friday.
    • Because a school’s possible “no show” can prevent an opportunity for another school to book an outdoor program, your school will be billed a fee (Surf N’ Turf & Habitat Encounters-$80 and Eco Adventures-$120).
    • Environmental conditions may cause last minute program alterations or cancellation on our behalf.  Alternative programs will be charged at the original program fee unless rescheduling arrangements are made with the Marine Education Department staff.

Aquarium Etiquette

    • Respect the animals. Please advise students that no one is permitted to disturb animals by tapping on the aquariums.
    • Respect the Aquarium building.  Do not write on walls, exhibits or tanks. This can cause permanent damage.
    • Respect other visitors and those in your group.
    • No food, drinks and gum are allowed inside the Aquarium.
    • Do not climb on exhibits and railings, run or yell.
    • Unruly groups or students will be asked to leave the Aquarium with a designated chaperone.

Information for Chaperones

    • Our policy requires all school visitors from preschool through 12th grade to stay with their chaperones at all times during a visit to the Aquarium.  We do not permit students to explore the Aquarium unsupervised, even if arrangements have been made to report back to the group at a specific time.
    • One chaperone (18 years of age or older) should be assigned for every 10 children. All chaperones are admitted for free to the Aquarium. The teacher is considered a chaperone and is free.
    • Chaperones should monitor their groups’ behavior at all times during the visit.
      Because proper supervision is the key to a successful field trip, teachers and chaperones should not bring their own children to the Aquarium unless they are officially enrolled in the class.
    • Please keep your group together for the duration of the visit.

What To Expect When You Arrive

    • A successful aquarium visit starts by being on time! Please arrive at the Aquarium 15 minutes prior to your confirmation time to prepare students and chaperones for The Pier trolley ride and instructions.
    • Groups that arrive late may experience shortened programs due to scheduled schools that follow.
    • If your group is arriving by bus or separate cars, please park and unload at the Dolphin parking lot. Visitors may hop on the The Pier trolley located at the southwest end of parking lot.
    • The Pier trolley will take visitors to the front of The Pier where a member of the Aquarium staff will be waiting. If your group arrives early, please stay at the Trolley Drop-off and wait for an Aquarium member.
    • The lead teacher or chaperone will report to the Aquarium cashier inside the museum store to pay for programs and drop off student purchase request forms while they are escorted to their activity site by our Marine Education Staff.

The learning adventure begins!
Take the Aquarium Home With You

    • Teachers who turn in museum store purchase request forms from students during check-in will have their purchases ready at program completion.
    • Classroom teachers are eligible for a 20% discount in the museum store when they present appropriate identification.