Marine Discovery

Dear teachers, educators, and friends of Flandrau:

Due to increased concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and in the interest of the health of our visitors, staff and community, Flandrau is temporarily closed until further notice.

All Field Trips and Discovery Programs are cancelled until we can reopen.

We will continue to work closely with the University of Arizona to coordinate our efforts and will plan to reopen to the public when the time is right. Please continue to check our website and look for announcements via email and social media for updates. We look forward to welcoming you back to Flandrau in the future.

Stay healthy!
Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

Sponsored by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Marine Discovery is an outreach program designed to teach Grade 3-8 students about the importance of our oceans. Marine Discovery workshop stations are hands-on, activity-based programs which provide students with the opportunity to work with live marine animals and teaching specimens. Students are exposed to living and preserved organisms found in the Gulf of California and gain a general understanding of the scientific relationships between them. The workshop stations are facilitated by undergraduates at the UA majoring in science or education.

Program Goals

  • To encourage students to "think like scientists" using their observational, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • To introduce students to the marine environment, especially the Gulf of California, Tucson's near-by ocean.
  • To encourage higher education by allowing interaction with university students.

Workshop Stations

  • Shark Dissection: Students are led through the dissection of a dogfish (Squalus), with an emphasis on body form and function, and adaptations to the marine environment.
  • Squid Dissection: In groups of two or three, students dissect a squid (Loligo spp.), once again focusing on its special adaptations. Students who do not wish to dissect will be provided with an alternative activity.
  • Rocky Intertidal Zone: Students learn about the unique environment of the rocky intertidal zone and its special inhabitants, with an emphasis on the adaptations necessary for life in the zone between land and sea. Everything from echinoderms to chordates to some new creatures you may never have heard of are represented.
  • Plankton: Students learn about the plankton in our oceans, their importance as the base of the marine food chain, and the unique adaptations that they have to prevent sinking, and to protect themselves from predators.
  • Fish Diversity: Handle preserved specimens of fish from a variety of habitats. Learn how the shape of a fish can inform you about what it does for a living (form follows function).


Program Details

Audience: 3rd - 8th grade

Group Size: 10 - 40 students

Offered: Fall Semester, Tuesday - Fridays

Start Time: 9:15am

Duration: 2 hours


  • Students: $50 for up to 10 students; additional students are $5 each
  • Teachers: Free
  • Chaperones: Up to 5 free chaperones; Additional chaperones $5.00 each
  • Discounted rate available to Title I Schools

We welcome homeschool groups! 1 lead parent/teacher and 5 chaperones per group is free. Additional adults will be charged for admission beyond the 5 for the workshop. Please Note: Due to room capacity in the Discovery Labs, your chaperones will be limited to only 5 in the room at a time.

Optional Add-Ons

Science Center Exhibits:
$2.00 per person

Planetarium Show:
$3.00 per person


For more information about scheduling programs, please contact:
Noel Hensley

For more information about the program please contact:
Katrina Mangin

All Discovery Programs require a Request Form Submission; Please note that this is a request form only. Confirmation of your Discovery Workshop request is dependent on availability. Due to the high volume of discovery requests, it can take up to 2 weeks to confirm your Discovery Workshop.