The following information is provided to help you plan your awesome underwater excursion at AQWA!

Information is subject to change, please contract AQWA if you have any queries. A PDF of this information is available below.

Excursion Length

AQWA Excursions are 2.5 hours. We open at 10am and close at 5pm.

Arival at AQWA

  • Bus parking is available directly in front of AQWA’s entrance. Free 4-hour car parking is also available for
    any parent helpers joining your group
  • Assemble students on grassed area or on the paved area at the base of the stairs. In the case of rain of
    extreme sun, please keep your students on the bus (our Ocean Guide will greet your group onboard)
  • Eat recess now before entering. Public toilets are also conveniently located opposite the grassed area/
    carpark for use during your recess
  • The lead teacher can now proceed to our front counter to organise payment, sign our Conditions of Entry,
    and collect AQWA Maps and Student Return Passes. If your parent helpers are paying separately, please
    instruct them to proceed to Reception at this time also.
  • Please do not bring groups up AQWA’s entry stairwell as this congests the entry for our other visitors. Our
    staff will page the Ocean Guide who will greet your group on the grassed/paved/bus area.
  • The Ocean Guide will cover house-rules and provide an insight into the underwater journey your group is
    about to experience, as well as unusual attractions to look out for on the way.
  • Once greeted, organise your class/es into groups each with a maximum of 10 students
  • Small groups will enter AQWA one at a time. An interval is needed between groups to help supervisors
    identify their group and to ensure there is enough room for everyone to enjoy what is on display.
  • As a condition of entry teachers and supervising adults must take duty of care and maintain active
    supervision of their group at all times. This applies to both primary and secondary school groups. Marine
    life group name tags are provided on our website to help supervising adults identify their group – great for
    primary school kids to colour and decorate before their visit.

Journey Through Exhibits

  • There are 6 areas for you to explore as you move through AQWA’s exhibits.
  • Follow the “Continue Journey” signs as well as the arrows on the ground help direct you. You will also be
    given a free Guide Map from reception
  • Look out for time signs – these tell you when an Ocean Guide will be in that area to share their knowledge
  • A sample “Plan Your Day” timetable for Primary students is also available to download below.
  • School Activity Packs for all age groups are also available to help you get the most out of our exhibits and
    know what to look out for on the way. Download them from below, print at school and bring to your excursion.
  • NEW: Adventure Bay now open, featuring new interaction aquarium, playground, kiosk and ampitheatre
  • Most of AQWA’s exhibits are indoors and in air conditioned areas – however there are 3 outdoor exhibits
    which may be affected by adverse weather

Meeting Point and Exit

  • Once you have completed your journey through AQWA’s 6 areas, you will finish up at Adventure Bay. This is a
    great spot for picnic lunches, a play at our playground and a head count (if weather allows)
  • From here, you can easily loop back and revisit the Discovery Pool and take a class photo at the Whale’s Tail
  • Bathrooms and a water fountain are also located near by
  • We suggest lead teacher requests that all adult helpers bring their groups to this spot for your allocated finish time, ready to exit or to enjoy your pre-ordered lunch from the cafe.
  • When ready to exit, lead your students through the AQWA Gift Shop (single file or in pairs for K/PP is preferred) to exit.
  • Please do not gather groups on the floor inside the cafe of at the AQWA exit foyer, as these are important
    safety exits that cannot be blocked.

“Sharky” Souvenir Photo and Ordered Lunches

  • If you have pre-ordered lunch for your students from AQWA’s Coral Cafe, please seat your students in the
    designated area and have adults liaise with cafe staff at your selected time.
  • Your excursion includes the opportunity to take a fun souvenir picture with our mascot, Sharky! This is
    between 11.00- 11.15am in front of the whale’s tail outside by the Discovery Pool.
  • Gather your class in the large paved area near the Whale’s Tail and have your groups ready. Remember there
    might be multiple schools and classes awaiting a turn.
  • AQWA does not provide a camera or print photos. Teachers will need to arrange this.
  • Please note this photo opportunity is not guaranteed and is based on staffing and weather conditions. This
    is only available to schools visiting in the morning. Our Sharky mascot is manned by our Ocean Guide team
    who all posses police clearance and WWCs and will interact with children (high-fives, hand shakes etc).
  • For OHS reasons, our staff can only be in the costume for a maximum of 20 minutes.

RESOURCES and Downloads:

Below you will find our Excursion Planning Pack which includes Facility Information, AQWA Etiquette and an example Plan Your Day timetable to assist with your excursion planning and any Department required paperwork.

Don’t forget to also grab our Activity Sheets, Resource Sheets and Follow-Up Excursion Activities to truly get the most out of your educational excursion at AQWA.

There’s also name badges for primary schools to help organise students into groups.

Please Consider:

Security, Health & Safety Policy

AQWA has an in-house Security, Health & Safety and Emergency Evacuation Plan which staff are familiar with and will uphold at all times:

  • For security reasons AQWA cannot store any bags or containers inside our premises (this includes school
    bags, lunch boxes, esky’s and first aid kits)
  • The passageways through our exhibits, entry foyer and exit foyer are emergency routes and must be kept
    clear at all times. Groups should never sit on the floor and are not to assemble in any corridors, entry or exit foyers, in the AQWA café or outside the AQWA gift shop
  • Suitable areas for groups to gather are by the Whale’s Tail (Discovery Pool), The Coral Reef picnic area or Adventure bay
  • In the case of an emergency or evacuation, teachers are responsible for gathering their group and following the instructions of AQWA wardens and staff
  • In the case of an emergency or evacuation, the muster point is the large grassed area in front of AQWA

Food, Drinks and Bags Policy

  • Kids lunches can be pre-ordered from our Coral Cafe. Please see the downloadable booking sheet for details. The
    Coral Cafe is only available for schools to use for lunch when they have pre-ordered kids lunches
  • We suggest leaving school bags at school or on the bus where possible. Otherwise children must carry them. We cannot store or pile bags.
  • Don’t worry about drink bottles, as there is a drink water fountain provided
  • We suggest packing disposable recess and eating it on the front lawn before you enter AQWA
  • The only areas for schools to eat packed lunch/recess are outdoors; front lawn, Coral Reef picnic tables,
    Adventure Bay ampitheatre. There is no room for groups to eat packed lunches indoors at AQWA. If rain is a possibility, we suggest organising to eat on your bus or back at school

AQWA Etiquette:

Please discuss these points with your students before visiting:

  • Fish have ears! They don’t stick out like ours but they have them none the less. Fish can hear 3 times louder
    than us so please talk quietly and don’t yell so that you don’t scare the fish.
  • Fish have lateral lines: Fish and sharks have a line of sensory cells along their body called a lateral line. These cells
    sense vibrations. When at AQWA please don’t tap the glass as our fish and sharks will feel the vibration –
    they may think you’re a predator and hide out of view!
  • Discovery Pool: You are able to touch everything inside – but you must be gentle and keep them
    underwater. All the animals are SEA creatures so they must be left in the seawater to survive
  • No running – it is very exciting inside but we don’t want you to rush past and miss something
  • No climbing- there’s lots of fun-looking railings at AQWA but they are designed to keep you safe! Please don’t climb, swing or crawl under them.
  • All students must remain with their group leaders at all times
  • Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. Students need to adhere to instructions given by AQWA staff