Public Programs

The Marine Education Center and Aquarium provides public programs for visitors and families to learn more about the Georgia coast with the whole family.

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Public programs offered by the UGA Aquarium are a fun way for individuals and families to get involved in marine science while enjoying a day at the aquarium.

Recurring programs are listed below, though additional programs are offered throughout the year. For a complete schedule of events at all locations, visit our Events Calendar.

Programs range in cost and age-appropriate formats, but all require a reservation. For more information about program opportunities, email our Public Programs Coordinator, Kayla Clark, at kayla270@uga.edu or call 912-598-3345.

Coastal Stewards (Adults)

Coastal Stewards Program

The Coastal Stewards Program is a series of workshops for adults (18+) that are offered on a quarterly basis. This is an ideal program for someone interested in gaining in-depth knowledge and relevant skills for enjoying and using natural resources in coastal Georgia. Each workshop includes lecture, lab and field activities designed to increase content knowledge while also enhancing skills for using scientific and recreational equipment. An emphasis will be placed on incorporating strategies for stewardship of resources and environmental leadership. Workshops are $100 per person and run Friday evenings through a full day Saturday. Participants are encouraged to attend the introductory workshop and four additional workshops in order to earn a certificate of completion for the program. Workshops are also available as stand-alone events. Registration and payment is due one week prior to the event. Class offerings may change by season, check the online event calendar or contact Kayla Clark for topics.

2018 Workshops  

Winter Science Series (Adult)

Winter Science Series

What’s in your water? This winter, learn all about what you can find in the waters around Savannah! The UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium will be offering a series of science labs and field experiences from December through March. These hands-on labs are designed for adults (18+) and each class will focus on using different methods of sampling using microscopes, dissecting scopes and trawling. All labs, except the cruise, will be held from 9-11 a.m. The cruise will be held 9 a.m.- noon. Classes can be taken individually or as a series. To register, contact Kayla Clark at kayla270@uga.edu or 912-598-3345 no later than one week prior to each class. See dates and topics below.

Tuesday Dec. 5: The hidden world of plankton, $15
Tuesday Jan. 16: Microplastics in marine environments, $15
Tuesday Feb. 6: Marine organisms sampling cruise, $44
Tuesday March 6: Incredible invertebrates, $15

Summer Programs (Ages 3 and up)

June and July Programs

Arts & Crafts and Animal Encounters, Every Thursday from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. 
Explore the coast with your child in a unique setting perfect for inspiring wonder and curiosity. A mix of games, art, stories and animal encounters provide fun learning experiences about the ocean.
Cost: $7 per person
Ages 3-5, accompanied by an adult

Aquarium Tours
, Every Thursday from 2 – 3:00 p.m. 
Discover the animals of the Georgia coast through a tour at the UGA aquarium. Ask an educator all your animal questions and explore behind the scenes to learn about current research, education and conservation work at the UGA aquarium.
Cost: $10 per person
Ages 3 and up, accompanied by an adult

Family Field Trips, Every Tuesday from 9:45 a.m. – noon

Every Tuesday in June and July visitors can explore coastal habitats and learn about native wildlife during hands-on, feet-in field trips at the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island.
Cost: $15 per person
Ages 5 and up, children must be accompanied by an adult

Available Field Trips:

  • Friends of a Feather  
    Explore the UGA Aquarium learning garden in search of birds of all shapes and sizes. Learn how to use binoculars, identify different types of birds and accompany educators on a birding hike through the maritime forest.
    *Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen.
  • Crabbing
    Did you know the scientific name for blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, means “savory beautiful swimmer”? This delicious crustacean is one of the top fisheries in Georgia. Learn all about these amazing animals during a catch-and-release crabbing lesson on the dock behind the UGA Aquarium.
    *Crab traps and bait will be provided.
  • Marsh Mucking  
    Pull on your mud boots and join educators on a trek through Georgia’s expansive salt marshes. Watch fiddler crabs dancing, hum to periwinkle snails and search for signs of other animals, like raccoons and birds, that use this important coastal habitat.
  • Maritime Forest  
    Discover the hidden wonders of the maritime forest during a guided hike with educators that will include interactive games and scavengers hunts. After seeing animals in their natural habitat, visitors can enjoy a live reptile demonstration at the UGA Aquarium and interact with snakes and turtles that serve as ambassador animals for education and conservation.

Ocean to Table (Adults)

Ocean to Table Workshops

Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is partnering with the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Program in Chatham County to offer a series of Ocean to Table workshops that focus on various seafood topics, from shellfish to blue carb. The series aims to increase popularity and interest in local foods and sustainable seafood in Georgia. During each workshop, participants sample seafood products, enjoy cooking demonstrations and receive information designed to help them make more informed decisions when purchasing, handling and eating seafood products. To find out about upcoming ocean to table programs, visit our event calendar at gacoast.uga.edu/events.

Special Events

Super Museum Sunday

Every year, over 40 cultural institutions throughout coastal Georgia participate in the Georgia Historical Society’s Super Museum Sunday. Georgians and visitors alike are invited to experience the rich history and cultural life found in Georgia as historic sites, house museums, art museums and other sites in Savannah and coastal Georgia open their doors to the public, providing an excellent opportunity to visit and experience the history in their own backyard.

The UGA Aquarium is open to the public during this event.

Earth Day

On April 22 of each year events held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. The Savannah Earth Day Festival is held each April in Savannah’s Forsyth Park. The festival emphasizes reducing waste and increasing sustainability. Nearly 100 Earth Day exhibitors share earth-friendly information, food prepared with local ingredients is offered and the Forsyth Farmer’s Market provides fresh produce sold by local vendors. Free educational workshops are held throughout the afternoon, demonstrating popular urban homesteading topics like beekeeping and backyard chickens.

World Oceans Day

Each year, the UGA Aquarium celebrates World Oceans Day on June 8. Throughout the day, visitors can tour behind the scenes at the aquarium, encounter reptiles, interact with horseshoe crabs and learn about the incredible animals of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

CoastFest

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant participates in CoastFest in Brunswick, Ga., in October. This free, family-oriented educational festival is Georgia’s largest outdoor festival celebrating our state’s coastal, environmental, historical and cultural resources. Over 9,000 excited visitors enjoy interactive exhibits and activity areas provided by 80-plus local, regional, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations and institutions of higher learning. Touch tanks with live coastal animals, educational information, games and activities for the whole family are just part of our offerings.

Skidaway Marine Science Day

Skidaway Marine Science Day is held annually each October. This campus-wide open house offers activities geared for all ages. Programs, tours, displays and hands-on activities, primarily related to marine science and the coastal environment, are all part of the day’s educational fun. Open to the public at no charge, the event is presented by UGA’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium, UGA’s Shellfish Research Laboratory and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium is open to visitors during this event, with no admission fee. In addition, the aquarium education staff offers interactive reptile displays, touch tanks, microscope fun and behind-the-scenes peeks of the aquarium.  The Skidaway Institute of Oceanography offers a wide variety of activities for both adults and children, including tours of the R/V Savannah and smaller research vessels, science displays, talks about current research programs and hands-on activities.

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