K-12 School Programs

An important part of the Whitney Laboratory mission is to inspire future scientists. Private donations are essential to provide hands-on education that reaches more than 4,500 students each year and supports other educational program needs.

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Whitney Lab K-12 Science Education Programs

Whitney Lab K-12 Science Education Programs

The goal of the Whitney Lab’s K-12 outreach education programs is to use the Lab’s resources and expertise in modern biology to enrich science education in the surrounding communities and increase STEM education for local student learners.

At the elementary school level, our programs introduce younger students to the scientific method, and do so in a format that promotes observation and questioning. At the higher level we provide high school students with the resources to conduct an experiment using modern biotechnology.

Available ProgramsStudents
The Traveling Marine Zoo K-3rd Grade
Day at the Whitney Lab 4th-6th Grade 


The Traveling Marine Zoo

The Traveling Marine Zoo

K-3rd Grade

Whitney-trained docents use marine animals in a hands-on setting to introduce students to marine biology by exploring how the animals breathe, find and eat food, protect themselves and generally survive in their environment.

This program is designed for local K-3 classes. The format of this class promotes observation and questioning by the students.

  • Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, September through May 25
  • Class Size: We can accommodate 2-3 classes per school visit
  • Cost: $50 per class to cover the cost of transportation

Traveling Marine Zoo Registration

To register for the Traveling Marine Zoo, please fill out the request form. Upon receiving this form we will review your request and respond back in a timely manner. Please note that your class is not scheduled until you receive an email confirmation from the education staff. The Traveling Marine Zoo can visit schools within a 45 minute drive from the laboratory.

Registration for the 2022/2023 school year is now open
Traveling Marine Zoo Request Form

For questions or more information, contact:

Amy Biedenbach
(904) 201-8423


4th- 6th Grade

The Day at Whitney Lab program allows students to rotate through docent-guided, hands on stations designed to encourage discovery, questioning, and observation. Students will conduct an experiment, observe microscopic organisms, and use critical thinking skills to compare and contrast a collection of marine invertebrates. Creating a spark for scientific inquiry is the main goal of this program.

Curriculum may supplement Florida State Sunshine Standards.

  • Dates: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, September through May. Choose between a 2 or 2.5 hour program. Begins at 10 or 10:30 a.m. and ends by 1 p.m.
  • Class Size: 12-30 Students
  • Cost: $9 per student (public, non profit status), otherwise $15 per student.  

Day at the Whitney Registration

To register for the Day at the Whitney, please fill out the request form. Upon receiving this form we will review your request and respond back in a timely manner. Please note that your class is not scheduled until you receive an email confirmation from the education staff.

Registration for the 2023/2024 school year is now open
 Day at the Whitney Request Form

For questions or more information, contact:
Amy Biedenbach
(904) 201-8423

Watch the student preview of the Day at the Whitney Lab, and be a Scientist for a Day.

Volunteer - If you would like to teach in these programs or help behind the scenes, please see the Volunteer page.

Day at the Whitney Preparation & Resources


Getting to the Whitney Lab


Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Does the Whitney Lab offer behind-the-scenes tours?
Yes, for Sea Turtle Hospital tours click here. If your organization is interested in touring the lab and learning more about what we do email brenda@whitney.ufl.edu.

How do I pay for the program?
Checks and credit cards are accepted.

If you wish to pay by credit card please contact the Administration Office between 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday - (904) 461-4000

Please make your check out to the University of Florida.
Bring your check when you come or mail to:
The Whitney Lab Education Dept.
Attn: Amy Biedenbach
9505 Ocean Shore Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Field Trips

Who can sign up for field trips?
Field trips are open to all public and private schools and home school groups.

Our group is larger than the maximum number of students, what should we do?
You will need to split your group into two classes on two separate dates.

What is the field trip cancellation policy?
At this time we do not have a cancellation fee but we ask for a three week notice.

How will I know if I'm confirmed?
Upon scheduling you will receive a teacher letter containing important information about price, what to expect when arriving, etc. Approximately two weeks before your scheduled date you will receive a confirmation email to update the number of students you will be bringing, followed by an invoice for payment.

What if I bring a different number of students than on the invoice?
You will only be charged for the number of students you bring, and your invoice will be adjusted.

Where do we meet our instructor when we arrive at the Whitney Lab?
Look at the Whitney campus map and bring your students into the front door of the two story building marked as the Center for Marine Studies (CMS).

Where do busses park?
Busses are encouraged to park across the street at the River to Sea Preserve public beach parking area just south of the laboratory.

What are our lunch options?
For Day at the Whitney Lab – bring a sack lunch. The students will get a 20 minute lunch break.

How many chaperones may join the students?
The teacher may invite 3 additional chaperones at no cost. If more are needed, please contact the Education Coordinator to make arrangements.  

I am a teacher. Do I get in for free?
Yes! Educators are admitted free of charge.

More questions?

Please feel free to contact us by phone at 904-201-8423 or by email - abiedenbach@whitney.ufl.edu



K-6 Students Experienced the Traveling Marine Zoo, Day at the Whitney, or Hybrid Snail Kit Program in 2022


K-12 Students who Experienced Whitney Programs From Title 1 Schools in 2022


Online Education Video YouTube Views in 2022

Thank you to our supporters!
Thank you for helping us reach over 5,000 students each year!

Thank you to our supporters!

We thank the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation for their past support to provide K-12 educational programming at the Whitney Laboratory.

Thank you to the Florida Power and Light Company for their program support support, as well as the Putnam County 3rd grade Initiative for their support for our expansion to Putnam County Schools. 

Private donations are essential to providing hands on education that reaches over 5,000 students each year. If you would like to donate to the Education Fund at Whitney online please go here or call Jessica Long at 904-201-8401 for more information.