Career Exploration Initiative

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new public health guidelines, and in an effort to ensure the best and safest experience for participants, we are not currently able to host job shadow experiences. Thank you fo understanding and please check back for updates.

The Career Exploration Initiative is an innovative job shadow experience for students in grades Kindergarten through College Undergrad, highlighting career opportunities at accredited zoological institutions like Newport Aquarium. The Career Exploration Initiative is broken into three programs, based on grade level:

Aquanaut Discovery- Kindergarten through 5th Grade

This two-hour program includes hands-on science experiments, a take home craft, behind the scenes tour, and unforgettable animal encounters. This program is limited to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 students.

Junior Explorers- 6th through 9th Grade

Students are invited behind the scenes for a three-hour experience where they will conduct behavioral ethograms with our world famous shark rays, feed the largest freshwater fish in the world, meet animals up close and learn about their care, and conduct research utilizing the same tools our aquarist use daily to care for our animals. This program is limited to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 students.

Expedition: Aquarist- 10th Grade through College Undergrad

Our oldest students join us behind the scenes for a three-hour close encounter with what it’s like to work hands on in an accredited institution like Newport Aquarium. Students will assist in cleaning the enclosure for an endangered species, prepare diets for animals, feed one of our most popular species, examine water quality, and utilize equipment our biologists use to care for ambassador animals each day. This program is limited to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 students.

Are you a Girl Scout leader who would like to bring your troop to Newport Aquarium to see what it is like to be a female biologist? We have a program just for you!

Women in STEM-

Join WAVE as we dive deep into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at Newport Aquarium! This two-hour experiential program will increase young women’s interest in STEM, educate about careers in zoos and aquariums, and introduce them to relatable STEM professionals at Newport Aquarium. Through preparing animal diets, engineering aquatic life support systems, and animal encounters, scouts will understand the STEM principles that go into professionally caring for our ambassador animals. This program is limited to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 scouts.


  • Advance reservations are required for all groups.
  • Available Monday through Saturday.
  • Labs begin at 8:30am.
  • Book as far in advance as possible. Reservations for CEI job shadow programs close two weeks out.
  • Confirmation materials are emailed at the time of reservation.
  • Pricing does not include parking or aquarium admission.


Career Exploration Initiative programs are $25 per participant, payable in Cash or Check (made out to WAVE Foundation)

If you have 5-15 students/scouts, you can pick your own date! (Dependent upon availability) Groups receive one free chaperone per 5 paid students/scouts.

Contact Conservation Education Manager at to schedule your Career Exploration Initiative program today!

WAVE Foundation would like to thank our generous donors for their support of our first year of Career Exploration Initiative programs. In 2018, the CEI touched over 1500 students, sharing STEM-based career paths available to them at accredited institutions like Newport Aquarium.