Lab Programs

Aquarium lab programs offer an engaging and hands-on experience for students of all ages.

The Aquarium is an excellent resource for educators and students. We offer grade-appropriate programs aligned to state and national standards as well as to the national Ocean Literacy principles. Programs are hands-on and designed so that they augment your classroom instruction. Pre- and post-curriculum is also available on the Teacher Resources page to make the most of your lab experience.

All programs are available Monday through Friday at 10:00, 11:30 and 2:00. All programs must be arranged in advance by calling (541) 867-3474, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Or email us anytime at education@aquarium.org.

Behind the Scenes Tours

This one-hour tour takes high school and college students behind-the-scenes to discover all about the science of animal care, training and water quality.

  • Tours stops include the Aquarium's water quality laboratory, jellyfish culturing area, aviary and aquarist kitchen, the top of the Passages of the Deep exhibit and to the behind-the-scenes training areas for our seals, sea lions and sea otters.
  • $30 flat rate for a group of 5 to 15 (including students and chaperones).
  • 60 minutes long

Classroom Lab Programs

  • $45 fee for each lab program.
  • Programs require one chaperone for every 5 students.

Pre-school through 3rd Grade Programs

Coastal Close-up: Sea Stars and Urchins
Grades PreK – 1st: 30-45 minutes; 10-25 students plus chaperones
Have fun with live animals and costumes while you take a peek at the lives of sea stars and urchins!

Tide Pool Talk
Grades K – 2nd: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
Tide pools are full of life. Students compare their own special behaviors and qualities to those of four tide pool animals, learning how they eat, move, see and protect themselves.

Coastal Comparisons
Grades 1st  3rd: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
Discover animals from both sandy and rocky shore habitats through up-close observations and opportunities to compare and contrast. Explore each animal's amazing adaptations for eating, moving and seeing in its unique habitat.

Sea Cycles
Grades 2nd 3rd: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
The end of every cycle is only a beginning. Students will explore four ocean cycles while they dress a puffin in its breeding plumage, take a trip with a gray whale, get to know members of a kelp forest food cycle and explore the stages of a crab’s life cycle.

What’s for Lunch?
Grades 1-3: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
In this introduction to marine food chains, students will explore four ocean habitats and learn about a food chain from each. Using live animals and marine biofacts, students will discover where some sea animals head when they have a snack attack!

4th through 5th Grade programs

Fins, Flippers and Flukes
Grades 3-5: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
The success of marine mammals depends on special adaptations for keeping warm, finding food and communicating in the dark, cold ocean. Focusing on sea otters, seals, sea lions and whales, students will examine fur, blubber, bones and teeth to discover how marine mammals are adapted for life at sea.

Feeding Frenzy
Grades 4-5: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
It’s an eat-or-be-eaten life in the sea. Through close-up animal observation, students take a look at the complexities of marine food webs and see what happens when humans join the web.

Forests Beneath the Sea
Grades 4-6: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
Kelp plants form thick, beautiful forests beneath the sea. While handling and even tasting kelp, students will compare kelp forests with forests on land, observe some of the animals that make up kelp communities and discover the many ways (some surprising!) that people use kelp.

6th through 8th Grade Programs

Ocean Commotion

Grades 6-8: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
An animal has to be tough to survive the harsh conditions on Oregon’s rocky shores. Students investigate marine invertebrates from four phyla and how they’ve adapted to this rough-and-tumble environment.


9th through 12th Grade Programs

Phantastic Phyla

Grades 9-12: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
Spines, shells, tentacles and joints help define four intriguing invertebrate phyla. Working with live animals, students explore the world of echinoderms, mollusks, cnidarians and arthropods and learn about taxonomy and identification.

Behind the Scenes Tour
Grades 9-12: 60 minutes; 5 to 15 students, $30 flat rate for 5 to 15 participants (including chaperones).
How does the Aquarium care for a swarm of stinging jellies, a five-hundred-pound California Sea Lion and dozens of toothy sharks? Travel behind-the-scenes with us to explore the ins and outs of caring for over 20,000 animals every day.

Mixed-Age Programs

It’s a Rough Life
Mixed Grades K-6: 60 minutes; 10-35 students plus chaperones
The rocky shore is a tough neighborhood. Students will learn about the remarkable ways tide pool residents are adapted to weather the extremes of life on the rocks.