School Field Trips

Thank you for your interest in a school field trip to Vancouver’s Water Center. We are currently booked for the 2023-24 school year, but are happy to add you to our waitlist. Should program openings become available, we will contact group leaders in the order their waitlist request was received.

If you would like to be added to the waitlist, review the program information and instructions below.

2023-24 Field Trip Wait List

To be added to the wait list for a 2023-24 field trip, review the Planning Your Visit and Field Trip Program Descriptions sections below, then send an email with the following information to: Suzanne Hebert, Water Resources Educator,

  • Field Trip organizer name
  • Field Trip organizer email
  • Field Trip organizer phone
  • Name of school
  • Address of school
  • Grade level(s) of students
  • Which program are you interested in? (See Field Trip Program Descriptions below)
  • How many classes of students are you scheduling for? (Note that we can accommodate a maximum of two classes per day. If you have more than two classes of students, we will need to schedule you for more than one day of field trips.)

Planning Your Visit

As you consider planning a field trip to the Water Center, please note the following:

  • Programs are free of charge and scheduled first come, first served.
  • Programs are available mornings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Available start times are 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. If you need an alternate start time, please let us know.
  • We can accommodate a maximum of two classes per day (with the same start time).
  • A minimum of 12 students are required for Field Trips. The 12-student minimum does not include siblings outside of the program’s designated grade level.
  • Program durations vary. See Field Trip Program Descriptions (below). For most programs, add an additional 60 minutes if you would like time to explore the exhibit hall (30 minutes) and have lunch (30 minutes) at our outdoor picnic tables (covered, but not enclosed from the weather). Alternatively, Marine Park has a playground and covered picnic area and is a two minute drive or 10 minute walk down the road if that’s preferred. Restrooms at Marine Park are open April-October.
  • Chaperone to Student Ratios:
    • Kindergarten to Grade 5: 1 adult per 5 students
    • Grades 6-8: 1 adult to 10 students
    • Grades 9-12: 1 adult to 15 students

Water Workshop for Educators

Currently, there are no educator workshops scheduled, but please check back for updates. If you would like to be notified about future workshops and educational opportunities, please sign up for our Educator Mailing List


For questions and additional information, please contact: Suzanne Hebert, Water Resources Educator: or 360-487-7114

Field Trip Program Descriptions

Grade 1: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Time: 2 hours, not including lunch break or time to explore exhibits
Description: Students learn about insect life cycles and how their body parts help them to eat, move, and protect themselves. After a bug hunt in our garden, students design and build their own bug out of model magic clay to take home. Indoor and outdoor, rain or shine.

Grade 2: Tree’s Needs

Time: 2 hours, not including lunch break or time to explore exhibits
Description: Students learn what trees/plants need for survival and how they meet those needs through their structures (roots, trunk, leaves, flowers, etc.). Students then engage their senses by rotating through 5 activity stations in our outdoor garden and complete a field journal recording their observations. Indoor and outdoor, rain or shine.

Grades 3-4: Macroinvertebrate Investigations

Time: 2 hours, not including lunch break or time to explore exhibits
Description: Students will observe and identify macroinvertebrates (water bugs!) from a pond habitat, focusing on adaptations for survival. Students will also learn how the presence of specific species of macroinvertebrates can be indicators of good, fair, or poor water quality. Available Feb. through May. Indoor and outdoor, rain or shine.

Grades 5-8: Columbia River Water Quality Monitoring

Time: 4 hours with lunch break and time to explore exhibits (indoor and outdoor—rain or shine)
Description: Students will investigate what makes for healthy salmon habitat, then walk to the banks of the Columbia River to make observations and perform water quality tests to collect data to answer the question “Is the river healthy for salmon today?” Tests will include pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and turbidity. Indoor and outdoor, rain or shine.

Grades 6-12: Down the Drain-Tour a Wastewater Treatment Plant 

Time: 4 hours with lunch break (lunch includes time to explore the Exhibit Hall)
Description: Where does the water go after you take a shower, clean dishes, or flush the toilet? Take a tour* of the Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Plant to learn about the journey of wastewater and how it is cleaned. Students will use microscopes to view the microbes that assist in cleaning the water and will take a nature hike to the Columbia River to explore riparian habitat and view where the clean water is released into the river. Indoor and outdoor, rain or shine.

*Note: The treatment plant tour includes strong smells and loud noise in some areas. Some areas require stair climbing. Please let us know if we can provide any accommodations for your group.