Your guide to planning the most successful and educational school trip ever!
As teachers, we know that educational visits, more commonly known as school trips, are an important part of a child’s education. Although a lot of learning goes on in the classroom, it is those moments of connection with the outside world that consolidate what has been taught and sometimes enable the ‘penny to drop’ at last. They are also important in terms of social interaction, allowing the children to interact amongst themselves and with their teachers in a different context. Finally, let’s not forget that they can also be joyous times of fun and laughter that create memories to last a lifetime.
However, planning a school trip is no longer a simple task. It’s not just a matter of finding interesting places for school trips. There are mountains of procedures and regulations to negotiate… Health & Safety protocols…Risk Assessments…it can be a nightmare…and a lot of extra work! Thankfully, it is possible to find a place that has special animal education programmes for schools that are both interesting and exciting for the kids and that provides the support that teachers need in planning and organising the trip. So, here are your three simple steps for arranging a fantastic and memorable school trip to the Oceanarium!
Step 1: Discover All that is Waiting for you at Bournemouth Oceanarium
Bournemouth Oceanarium has everything you could want for an educational visit, so it’s not surprising that they were awarded Best Educational Day Out in the South West in 2019, voted for by parents and teachers of the children who had visited. There are12 spectacular naturally-themed environments set across two floors and a huge variety of incredible wildlife representing the vast biodiversity on Earth. From simply seeing first-hand and experiencing for themselves the magical underwater world to learning all about the different habitats and creatures and how important the oceans and rivers are to our planet’s ecosystem, a school trip to the Oceanarium is bound to be a hit with your students.
Are you a pre-school teacher desperately trying to find things to do with toddlers that will make an educational and fun school trip? Or do you teach GCSE Biology and want to find a way to bring the textbook to life and inspire your students about the living world they are studying for their exams? There are programmes to suit all ages at Bournemouth Oceanarium, from pre-school right up to GCSE, and a myriad of topic areas that can be extended and enhanced with some marine animal assisted education.
If you’re planning to study Climate Change with your class, then a school trip to the Oceanarium to see the Global Meltdown display can provide the perfect starting point. This state-of-the-art interactive display explores the effects of global warming and melting ice caps, allowing your students to see and experience what might happen if the ice caps continue to melt and our world is flooded. On a journey from the icy Arctic, they can follow the melt water via flooded islands to a waterlogged London. Through stunning visuals and interactive features, they can discover more about the consequences of rising sea levels and explore ways that they can make a difference. The Oceanarium is committed to conservation and loves to engage with kids in this area and educate and inspire them to choose more environmentally-friendly behaviour.
That’s not all, however, the topic areas that can be supported are as numerous as the habitats and creatures on display. There are river environments like The Amazon, whose waters and surrounding rainforests may hold up to 90% of all the world’s animal and plant species. Then there’s the Ganges, which stretches across northern India, all the way from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal and is known as the ‘life-giving river’. From piranhas to Chinese water dragons, the fascinating creatures on display tell the story of the importance of rivers to the communities that surround them.
We mustn’t forget, of course, the immense oceans, teeming with fascinating creatures. These can be uniquely experienced on a walk through the underwater tunnel, as your students see what it’s like to live at the bottom of the ocean with the sharks and moray eels. Or, perhaps, a journey to the dark depths of The Abyss will inspire them, as they come face to face with creatures who live in perpetual darkness. This strange world, as inhospitable to us as outer space, is surprisingly full of life.
Naturally, the stars of the show are the amazing creatures your class can encounter at the Oceanarium. There are opportunities for more in-depth learning about the Humbolt penguins, otters, sharks, stingrays and the giant Loggerhead turtle, Carrie in the special daily feeding presentations. Additionally, a knowledgeable aquarist can accompany you and your class, giving general information and answering questions, or focusing on your topic of choice.
Whatever the ages of your students, a school trip to the Oceanarium is so much more than just a school trip to the zoo and, what’s more, it is completely weatherproof! No more worrying if rain will spoil your school trip, the Oceanarium can be fully enjoyed even if it’s pouring with rain. Should the sun decide to put his hat on for you, there are also lovely outside spaces to enjoy and the beach is just opposite.
Step 2: Discover the Oceanarium’s Special Packages for Schools
You don’t win Best Educational Day Out in the South West without hosting a great many school groups. The Oceanarium staff have lots of experience helping teachers to provide the best possible trip for their students. They offer full support at every stage of the process and a range of different options, so, as teachers, you can find the best package to suit your needs.
From a basic package for those who like to guide their group themselves to a tailored guided tour led by an animal expert. Both options also include optional use of the lunch room and 30-minute interactive session. There are, of course, free teacher ratios according to the students’ ages, plus special discounts for additional teachers, parent helpers, etc. You can also choose to bring your own packed lunches or have hot meals provided by the Offshore Café.
We all know preparation is the key to success, so the Oceanarium provides comprehensive guidance for your school risk assessment, giving you all the information you need on Health & Safety during the planning stages and on the day. It’s not just the organisation that needs preparing, the students do, too, so there’s also a free Key Stage 1 Resource Pack. As well as giving you plenty of information on the different creatures and habitats you will see, it also includes special activities for the children to complete before the trip, so you can all get the most out of your school trip to the Oceanarium.
Step 3: Pick Your Preferences and Plan Your Educational Visit
So, now you’ve discovered all that Bournemouth Oceanarium has to offer for your school trip, all that remains is to decide when you and your class will visit and get planning. You’ll find lots of information to get you started on the website, starting with specially tailored information for schools here. This includes the different packages and prices, download links for the Activity Booklet and Risk Assessment Guidance, Terms & Conditions and some testimonials from teachers who have already experienced how great a school trip to the Oceanarium is.
You can also Explore the Oceanaium in advance to see all the different displays, creatures and daily animal talks and feeds. On top of that, here you will find a map of the Oceanarium and information about the cafés and shops.
When you’re ready to get down to business, there’s also plenty of useful information in the Plan Your Visit section. Here you can check out the Oceanarium’s calendar and opening times, as well as how to get there. There’s even a special Coach Guide Map to make life easier for those crucial coach drivers.
Once you’re ready to book your trip, or if you have any further questions not covered on the website, you can call the Oceanarium’s dedicated Education Department on 01202 311993, Ext 208 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They have helped organise hundreds of educational visits and will be available throughout the planning process and right up to the end of your visit, happy to answer all your questions and help solve any problems.
There you have it, then, 3 easy steps to an enriching and successful school trip to the Oceanarium. What are you waiting for? Get planning a trip for your class and come and find out why it’s the Best Educational Day Out in the South West.