Coordinated by NOAA’s Office of Education, the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers (CELC) network is a consortium of 25 aquariums and marine science education centers located across North America. With a reach of over 20 million people, the CELC network works together to engage the public in protecting coastal and marine ecosystems. Its members are listed below.
Acuario de Veracruz offsite link
Since opening in November 1992, Acuario de Veracruz has welcomed both national and international visitors to view its diverse range of aquatic and subaquatic exhibits. The aquarium also works on important conservation and protection programs for local species.
Adventure Aquarium & Center for Aquatic Sciences offsite link
Adventure Aquarium is located on the Camden Waterfront, just minutes from downtown Philadelphia, with more than 8,500 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water. The Center for Aquatic Sciences partners with the Aquarium to deliver education and conservation programming. The Center’s mission is to promote the understanding, appreciation, and protection of aquatic life and habitats through education and youth development.
Alaska SeaLife Center offsite link
The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only facility of its kind in Alaska, combining a public aquarium with marine research, education, and wildlife response. A uniquely positioned cold water research center, the Alaska SeaLife Center is at the forefront of communication on climate change research and its impact on marine ecosystems. They contribute valuable scientific understanding of marine mammals, birds, and fish to the world, and they inform the management of the region.
Aquarium of the Pacific offsite link
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature's services by facilitating interactions between and among people. The Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas offsite link
Located on the Mississippi River adjacent to the French Quarter, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is consistently a top ranked aquarium, voted as one of the top five in the country in the USA Today “10Best” reader poll and ranked as one of the top things to do in New Orleans. It transports visitors to an underwater world, from the Caribbean to the Amazon Rainforest to the waters that give New Orleans its lifeblood: the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The Aquarium offers more than 3,600 animals from more than 250 species, immersive habitats that showcase the relationship between people and nature, and specialized educational programs and partnerships that engage learners of all ages in discovering the wonders of the underwater world and what each of us can do to help sustain healthy aquatic habitats.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab offsite link
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) is the marine education and research facility for the state of Alabama. DISL’s programs include a robust K-12 and university education program, a public aquarium, and comprehensive research facility.
The Florida Aquarium offsite link
Since 1995, The Florida Aquarium has been opening eyes to the world outside to encourage conservation of the ocean, keeping with a mission to entertain, educate, and inspire stewardship of the natural environment. The Florida Aquarium enables visitors to get up close to many of Florida’s aquatic and terrestrial animals and ecosystems as well as others from around the world. More than a must-see attraction, the Aquarium is working to protect and restore our blue planet on many conservation fronts, including research and rescue efforts that help restore Florida’s sea turtle and coral populations and ensure that sharks continue to swim in our oceans.
Georgia Aquarium offsite link
As a not-for-profit organization, Georgia Aquarium is dedicated to global leadership in research and conservation programs mirroring the unique and amazing animals within the facility. Since its founding, Georgia Aquarium has been committed to educating and inspiring current and future generations through respectful display and conservation of marine mammals and many other aquatic species. The aquarium has seven distinct galleries and more than 100 exhibits.
John G. Shedd Aquarium offsite link
The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago sparks compassion, curiosity, and conservation for the aquatic animal world. Home to 32,000 aquatic animals representing 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, and mammals from waters around the globe, Shedd is a recognized leader in animal care, conservation education, and research. An accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the organization is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and supported by the people of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and the Chicago Park District.
Monterey Bay Aquarium offsite link
Located on Monterey’s historic Cannery Row and overlooking the vast national marine sanctuary it explores, this jewel of California’s scenic central coast explores the diverse habitats of one of the world’s richest marine regions and other wonders of our ocean planet. Its conservation and research programs guide consumers and businesses toward sustainable seafood and advance knowledge of and protection for vital ocean wildlife such as white sharks, bluefin tuna, and sea otters. Award-winning education programs help students—and the adults who influence them—discover their connection to the ocean and take the next steps in becoming active and effective ocean conservationists.
Mystic Aquarium offsite link
The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education, and research. It introduces approximately 800,000 guests annually to thousands of animals through structured interpretations, specially curated exhibits and hands-on interactions. As a leading research organization, Mystic Aquarium employs a full staff of scientists engaged in projects focused on the conservation and sustainability of our ocean planet. Robust conservation and education programming along with unparalleled visitor experiences serve to strengthen personal connections to the animals and their environments.
National Aquarium offsite link
As a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the National Aquarium champions environmental initiatives by engaging with visitors, volunteers, students and citizens from around the world to actively participate in the preservation of our natural resources and living systems.
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium offsite link
Part aquarium, part museum, part science, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium inspires stewardship by creating educational experiences where rivers and history come alive. Located along the banks of the Mississippi River in the Port of Dubuque, Iowa, the River Museum serves as the largest river museum in the nation and lead interpretive center for the Mississippi River and its watershed. It engages the region in conservation action, inspiring its varied audiences to take steps toward adopting positive conservation behaviors. Together, with its many partners, the River Museum will preserve our shared future and protect freshwater and marine habitats.
New England Aquarium offsite link
The New England Aquarium is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation. With more than 1.3 million visitors a year, the Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston and a major public education resource for the region. The Aquarium aims to be a catalyst for global change through public engagement, commitment to marine animal conservation, leadership in education, innovative scientific research, and effective advocacy for vital and vibrant oceans.
New York Aquarium offsite link
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium is a fixture on the Coney Island boardwalk. Here where Brooklyn meets the Atlantic, the public meets marine and freshwater habitats from around the world as well as what is living in the waters right outside of New York City. Animals on exhibit include sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, and many exotic fish.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher offsite link
Visitors to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher make connections with the natural world through exploring aquatic environments from freshwater streams to reefs and open ocean. Guests can look an albino alligator in the eye, feel the smooth skin of a gliding stingray, and wonder at baby sea turtles. They can explore more through free daily programs, outdoor adventures, and kid-friendly camps. Visitors vote the Aquarium a top regional and national attraction each year.
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores offsite link
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is located in the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area and is home to thousands of aquatic animals from across the state. Take a journey from the North Carolina mountains to the sea—explore a mountain waterfall, a trout pool, a cypress swamp, river otters, jellies, and the Living Shipwreck, the largest saltwater habitat in the state!
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island offsite link
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is home to over 1,500 animals representing the coastal waters of northeastern North Carolina. A variety of interactive exhibits, animal displays, and educational programs are used to serve its mission of “inspiring appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments.” Highlights include the largest shark collection in the state, an award-winning Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center, and an Aquarium Shark Dive program for certified scuba divers.
Oregon Coast Aquarium offsite link
The non-profit Oregon Coast Aquarium is a captivating destination and a trusted resource for ocean education and conservation in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Our mission is to create unique and engaging experiences that connect you to the Oregon coast and inspire ocean conservation. Home to 15,000 animals representing 718 species of marine fishes, invertebrates, birds, and mammals, the Aquarium is a hub for world-class onsite and outreach ocean education. We continuously work to educate the public on best wildlife and ocean conservation practices, to engage in conservation research and outreach efforts, and to reduce our own environmental impact.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve offsite link
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is a 16,500 square-foot facility with four research laboratories, classrooms, a 140-seat auditorium, and two-story visitor center. The visitor center offers a variety of hands-on experiences, including a 2,300-gallon aquarium and interactive exhibits addressing research and stewardship efforts ongoing within the Reserve as well as a nature store, gallery, and picnic area.
Seattle Aquarium offsite link
The Seattle Aquarium, located in the heart of downtown Seattle's scenic waterfront, is the ninth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and among the top five paid visitor attractions in the Puget Sound region. Over 10,000 fascinating creatures—fish, birds, octopuses, marine mammals, and more—make their homes in the Aquarium's six major exhibits, attracting more than 850,000 visitors each year. In service of its mission, "inspiring conservation of our marine environment," the Aquarium seeks to engage a broad array of community, scientific, and academic audiences through educational programming, outreach, research, and more.
South Carolina Aquarium offsite link
At the South Carolina Aquarium overlooking the Charleston Harbor, visitors can connect with more than 5,000 amazing animals and learn how they can protect them. Come face-to-face with sick and injured sea turtles in rehabilitation in the Sea Turtle Care Center™, and follow their journey from rescue to rehab to release. Discover the wonder of water, wildlife, and wild places at the South Carolina Aquarium.
Texas State Aquarium offsite link
The mission of the Texas State Aquarium is to engage people with animals, inspire appreciation for our seas, and support wildlife conservation. The Aquarium exhibits animals and habitats from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in order to be a global leader in fostering support for the conservation of these regions.
Ocean Wise® offsite link
Ocean Wise is a globally focused conservation organization on a mission to protect and restore the world's oceans. Through research, education, direct-action conservation and field projects, this organization empowers communities to take action for ocean health. They are focused on tackling three major ocean challenges: overfishing, ocean pollution and climate change. Ocean Wise is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia with staff and initiatives across Canada.
Waikiki Aquarium offsite link
The Waikiki Aquarium was founded in 1904 and has been an institution of the University of Hawaii at Manoa since 1919. The Waikiki Aquarium is the second-oldest still-operating public aquarium in the United States. Built next to a living coral reef on the Waikiki shoreline, the Waikiki Aquarium is home to more than 3,500 organisms of 490 species of marine plants and animals.
- Marine Education Center, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
- International Game Fish Association