Every year we celebrate Shark Week by learning all about these amazing creatures together with documentaries, hands-on activities, and field trips. Since Shark Week happens near Emily’s birthday, it’s always been a really special event for her. This year, we learned about Eugenie Clark, a famous shark scientist.
We had so much fun learning about her that we decided we needed to visit Clark’s research laboratory and aquarium in Sarasota, Florida. I can’t wait to tell you all about our amazing field trip to the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. It’s definitely a must-see for homeschoolers learning about sharks and other marine life this year.
Keep reading to discover our favorite exhibits, discover cool virtual learning opportunities at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, plus get the scoop on our very own Eugenie Clark “Shark Lady” unit study.
Exploring Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
There’s so much to see and do at Mote Aquarium. That’s why it’s the perfect spot for a homeschool field trip with your kids this year. Especially, if you’re learning about sharks since Mote was started by Eugenie Clark, the “shark lady.”
At Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium your whole family can learn about all kinds of amazing marine life including sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, manatees, otters, megalodons, and more. With hands-on exhibits, virtual reality experiences, and “Molly,” a 27 foot long giant squid, there’s a lot to see and do while you’re visiting the aquarium. Plus, Mote offers single-session classes for homeschoolers and “behind the scenes” aquarium experiences to get a little more learning out of this awesome field trip.
Discover Our Favorite Field Trip Exhibits
We spent the day exploring Eugenie Clark’s Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. We saw and learned a lot. At the end of the day, these were our favorite experiences and exhibits:
Wild Kratts Ocean Experience
Emily’s favorite exhibit at the aquarium has to be the Wild Kratts Ocean Experience. She has loved the Kratt Brothers’ program on PBS for a while now, so it wasn’t surprising that she enjoyed this exhibit. The Wild Kratts Ocean Experience is filled with hands-on STEM learning activities for kids.
In this exhibit, kids get to immerse themselves in the world of the Wild Kratts, using their technology, teamwork, and science to explore ocean habitats and solve the animals’ problems. Your kids will get a chance to help the Wild Kratts foil villains and save animals and their habitats. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family!
Virtual Reality Experience
Kevin really loved the virtual reality experience at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. It’s a great way for kids to experience swimming with whales, sharks, and more. There are 5 different VR experiences for homeschoolers to choose from:
- Swimming with Humpbacks
- Shark Dive
- Legend of Lusca
- The Tower (a theme park experience)
- Drift (exploring ecological issues)
The virtual reality experience isn’t included in the cost of admission, but it’s completely worth the $6 it costs to experience the ocean in such an immersive way with your kids this year.
We did the Shark Dive virtual reality experience. It was so much fun to experience the ocean with a real live tiger shark in the Bahamas! We learned a lot about these ocean predators during this immersive learning experience.
Sea Life Encounter Cruise
My favorite experience at Mote has to be the Sea Life Encounter Cruise. It’s an eco boat tour provided by the Sarasota Bay Explorers in partnership with Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium. The tour lasts about two hours and provides a unique view of marine life in its natural habitat.
We loved seeing the bay up close and getting the opportunity to take a guided nature walk on an uninhabited island. We got to learn all about local sea animals from our marine biologist guide. We saw egrets on our nature walk. Then we captured and investigated sponges, sea urchins, and crabs in our trawl net. It was definitely a special experience we won’t soon forget.
Visit Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Virtually
If you can’t visit Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in person, there are some virtual field trip options you’ll definitely want to check out. Visiting Mote virtually is filled with unique learning opportunities your whole family can enjoy right at home.
Mote virtual field trips are really unique because they immerse your family in a two-way interactive experience. It provides a really special way for your kids to feel like they’re at the aquarium. These virtual field trips include 30 to 60 minute video conferences with marine biologists.
It’s a really cool way to experience the aquarium behind the scenes from your living room. You can preregister for your own 1:1 virtual field trip at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium on their website to experience the aquarium for yourself.
Learn More About Eugenie Clark, “Shark Lady” In Your Homeschool
We decided we really needed to see Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium after falling in love with Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating. Mote is the laboratory and aquarium Eugenie Clark founded to study sharks and other marine life in 1955.
In the “Shark Zone” exhibit, your family will get the opportunity to learn about Mote’s unique history and Clark’s research about sharks. To learn even more about Eugenie Clark and her amazing work, check out my free Eugenie Clark “Shark Lady” Unit Study. It’s filled with custom coloring pages, a read-aloud biography page, timeline, world of sharks map, and so much more!
Learning all about this amazing scientific pioneer and exploring her laboratory and aquarium are great ways to learn more about the ocean, marine life, and especially sharks with your homeschoolers. Plus, with the virtual field trip option, you can explore Mote right at home too.
A Homeschool Field Trip The Whole Family Will Love!
Will you celebrate Shark Week with your family this year? Have you visited Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium with your homeschoolers recently? What was your favorite part? Tell me all about it in the comment section. I can’t wait to read about your favorite exhibits and shark lessons and activity plans for this year.