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Aquarium on Wheels Frequently Asked Questions

I booked Aquarium on Wheels… now what happens?

Balloonfish front view

A balloonfish swims towards the camera. Credit: Robin Riggs

General Questions

I booked Aquarium on Wheels… now what happens?
Please fill out the pre-visit form that will help us gather details for your event. We ask that you complete this form 4-6 weeks prior to your event date. After the form is completed you will be contacted via email or phone to finalize the booking.
What time will Aquarium on Wheels arrive at our site?
On the day of your scheduled program, the Aquarium on Wheels will arrive at your site approximately 1- hour prior to the start of auditorium and classroom programs. For Tidepool Animal Explorations, the Aquarium on Wheels will arrive about 30 minutes before your program. Please have someone available to meet our educators to direct them to the correct parking spot.
What type of parking does the Aquarium on Wheels truck require?
The truck is approximately 35’ long, 10’ wide, and 13’ tall. In addition, stairs fold out of the back and side adding an additional 8’ to the length and width. The truck should be parked on a hard (no grass/dirt), flat, level surface and must be safely accessible for the participants. This vehicle will be used in the touch portion of the program. Parking must be easily accessible, both in and out of the space. In the event of an animal emergency, we must ensure a safe exit from the event site.

Parking at school sites: For the safety of your students, please coordinate a parking space that is within school grounds.
Does the Aquarium on Wheels vehicle require any electrical hook-up?
No. The vehicle is completely self-contained and does not require any electrical hook-up at your site. Our life support systems run from a generator on board the vehicle.
What is the Aquarium on Wheels cancellation and refund policy?
The Aquarium on Wheels is a very unique program in which we utilize live aquatic animals. In the event that the welfare of these delicate animals is compromised, the Aquarium of the Pacific reserves the right to modify or even cancel a program. We will do everything in our power to keep our scheduled appointment with the Aquarium on Wheels, however, if a situation does arise, be it a travel or animal issue, you will be notified as soon as possible and alternate arrangements will be made at that time.

We understand that situations can arise that would necessitate you having to cancel your program. Please realize that the later you cancel your program, the less likely we are able to fill the vacancy you have created.

  • Cancellations made one month prior to the scheduled visit time will not be billed.
  • Cancellations made less than one month prior will be billed 50% of the reservation admission amount.
  • Cancellations made less than two weeks prior to the scheduled visit will be billed the full amount.

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Auditorium Programs

We have scheduled an auditorium program; do we need to supply anything?
Please reserve a room large enough to accommodate all participants, up to 100 (i.e. auditorium, gym, multi-purpose room) with working electrical outlets. We will bring our own AV equipment. Some of this equipment is heavy, so we ask that the room is accessible by a ramp or elevator. We also ask that the room has the ability to become dark enough so students can view the projected image.
Can the auditorium presentation be done outside?
If there is no inside space available, we can do a modified program outside for our Pacific Journeys program. Please keep in mind that this program will be very different from an indoor program. We cannot accommodate an outside program for our Under the Sea Shapes as the program is designed around a projector.
How long is the auditorium presentation?
The auditorium presentation will last approximately 30-50 minutes, depending on the program.
If we scheduled an auditorium program, when do the participants touch animals?
Participants will touch animals after the auditorium or classroom presentation. Individual classes or groups will be scheduled to visit the Aquarium on Wheels vehicle at a designated time. You will be responsible for scheduling these groups for a 15-20-minute time slot for animal exploration. Touch time should be scheduled back to back with no breaks in between. Below is an example timesheet to assist you with scheduling.
Why is there a 100 student maximum per program?
We set our program size at 100 to ensure that every participant gets the best possible experience. Although your auditorium space may accommodate more students, the entire AOW experience includes animal touch time with individualized Aquarium staff and student interaction. We have found that in programs with over 100 participants, the quality of the animal exploration is impacted.
Example Auditorium Schedule
You may use this example as a guide to prepare your school’s/group’s schedule. Each situation is unique. For example, school start/end times, lunches, number of participants, etc. can be different. If two auditorium programs are booked in one day, you can choose to have the auditoriums back to back.

Please note we can accommodate up to 100 participants per auditorium program, which includes animal exploration. If you have more than 100 participants you will need to book 2 auditorium programs. Once you have a prepared schedule, please email a copy to or upload it to the AOW Pre-visit Forms page.
8:10 - 9:00 a.m. Auditorium Presentation #1  
  Rm. # Teacher # students
9:05 - 9:20 a.m. Rm. 1 Mrs. Garibaldi 20
9:20 - 9:35 a.m. Rm. 2 Mr. Sargo 20
9:35 - 9:50 a.m. Rm. 3 Ms. Perch 20
9:50 – 10:05 a.m. Rm. 4 20
10:05 – 10:20 a.m. Rm. 5   20
10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Auditorium Presentation #2  
11:30 - 12:00 p.m. LUNCH
12:05 - 12:20 p.m. Rm. 6   20
12:20 – 12:35 p.m. Rm. 7   30
12:50 - 1:05 p.m. Rm. 8   20
1:05 - 1:20 p.m. Rm. 9   20
1:20 – 1:35 p.m. Rm. 10   15
Total number of students for two programs= 100+100= 200

DOWNLOADS - The Aquarium’s Education staff has prepared free downloadable pre- & post- materials. You can access grade specific materials and their answer keys.

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Classroom Programs

We have scheduled a classroom program; do we need to supply anything?
Please reserve a room able to accommodate all participants, up to 35 (i.e. classroom, auditorium, gym, multi-purpose room) and a table to place the teaching supplies we bring with us. We require a room that we can use for all programs that day. Due to the amount of set-up/equipment, we ask that the students come to us.
Can the classroom presentation be done outside?
We can accommodate for our Amazing Animal Adaptations, but we cannot for our Under the Sea Shapes as the program is designed around a projector.
How long is the classroom program?
The classroom presentation will last approximately 30 minutes.
If we scheduled a classroom program, when do the participants touch animals?
Once the classroom portion is complete, the Aquarium educator will lead the class/group to the vehicle for the animal exploration. The duration of touch time depends on the number of students participating in the classroom program. For example it takes a group of 30 students approximately 20 minutes to complete the animal exploration.

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Tidepool Animal Exploration

Do we need to supply anything for a Tidepool Animal Exploration program?
You do not need to supply anything other than a parking space. Please see “What type of parking does the Aquarium on Wheels truck require?” for additional information.

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