Homeschool Programs

Mote Homeschool Days

Join us each month during the school year for Mote Homeschool Days. Students and their families enjoy an exciting day of age-appropriate, ocean-themed learning experiences led by Mote’s professional marine science educators. Students explore all aspects of Mote Aquarium, Mote research and Sarasota Bay.   For students in grades 1st-8th (ages 6-13).

Times: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $20 for Mote Members; $22 for non-members. Marine Mammal Center and Aquarium admission included.
Chaperones: One free chaperone per family (required). Each additional chaperone will need to register as a participant.
Register: Pre-registration is REQUIRED and closes at 11:59am the day before a Homeschool Day program. Click here to register.

2016 Fall Schedule

Coral Reefs: Saving the Rainforests of the Sea? Coral reefs only make up 1% of the ocean but harbor 40% of life! They are in trouble and so are the animals that live there.  Come learn what Mote is doing to save coral reefs and ways you can help too!   This class will include an ocean acidification chemistry lab.

  • Dates: Wed September 7 OR Fri September 9
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Bird is the Word: The Fascinating Adaptations of Florida’s Sea Birds Florida is home to over 400 bird species each with their own special skills to survive in the sometimes harsh environment.  We will learn all about their adaptations and citizen science projects to get you involved.  We also will get the opportunity to meet and greet some amazing bird ambassadors. 

  • Dates: Wed October 12 or Fri October 14
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Sit Manatee Sit: A Day in the Life of an Animal Trainer Try your hand at animal training and learn just how important training is to the daily care of our animals.  We will also explore ways for you to become a trainer as a career!

  • Wed November Wed November 9 or Fri November 11
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Designing an Aquarium: What Does it Take? We will be peeking behind the scenes of Mote Aquarium and using various recycled and art materials you will design the perfect Aquarium!

  • Dates: Fri December 9 or Wed December 14
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

2017 Spring Schedule

No Bones but a lot of Brains: All About the Amazing Octopus Did you know that an octopus has a great memory and can use tools?  Today we will learn all about these fascinating creatures and create some “octopus toys” for our common octopus on exhibit in Mote Aquarium.  A bored octopus is a mischievous octopus!

  • Dates: Wed January 11 OR Fri January 13
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Under Pressure: Deep Sea Exploration Pressure so intense it could crush a school bus is found in the deep sea but many animals like jellyfish survive with no problem…even thrive!  During today’s class we will explore what it takes to handle the pressure!

  • Dates: Wed February 8 or Fri February 10
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Sea Grasses: Exploring the Unsung Hero of Sarasota Bay The sea grass beds of Sarasota Bay are home to many animals and are the main diet of the Florida manatee.  Without them our ecosystem would collapse! During this class we will be doing a sea grass laboratory program and snorkeling the sea grass flats of Sarasota Bay.  Be ready to get wet!

  • Dates: Wed March 8 or Fri March 10
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Living Dinosaurs: The Mysterious World of Crocodilians Alligators and Crocodiles have changed very little since the age of the dinosaurs.  They are amazing predators yet pose no real threat to humans as long as we follow some simple rules.  Come learn about these animals and ways we can peacefully coexist.

  • Dates: Wed April 12 or Fri April 14
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Underwater Robots: How Do They Work and What Can They Tell Us? Technology has come a long way in the past few years and underwater robots are a big part of that.  During this engineering lab we will be building simple robots and checking out what Mote scientists have discovered during their deployments of these awesome machines.  How would you design the perfect robot?

  • Dates: Wed May 10 or Fri May 12
  • Times: 10:00 am–2:00 pm

Important Things to Know

Check-in: 9:45-10:10 in Sea Cinema. Follow the blue awning to the left of the Mote Aquarium.

What to wear/bring: All participants — including adults — must bring closed-toed, closed-heel water shoes (like Aquasocks or Crocs). No one will be allowed in the water barefoot or with flip-flops. Bring a towel, bathing suit/board shorts, change of clothes, sun protection and a full water bottle. Participants should also bring walking shoes for other portions of the program.

Pre-registration/Pre-payment: Required as classes fill up quickly.

Who is a participant: Each person in your group age 6 and older — including adults. Children younger than 6 can attend free of charge, but are not considered participants and will not receive activity supplies. These programs include various activities that are not appropriate for children under the age of 6. Parents are participants in this program, and your child will need your assistance at various points during the day. We ask that you consider this when planning to attend with smaller children. As per our safety policy, children under the age of 6 are not participants and will not be allowed to engage in the activities, experiments, and labs.

Lunch: Is not provided. You may bring your own lunch and eat in our picnic areas or pre-order box lunches from our Deep Sea Diner (941-388-3415).

Admission to The Aquarium: Your participation fee includes admission to The Aquarium at Mote, which you can explore throughout the day as your schedule allows.

Homeschool Days: Advanced

Homeschooled students with a strong interest in marine science meet once a month to:

  • Work in teams to develop and conduct marine science research projects
  • Work on problem solving, communication and collaboration skills through STEM based projects
  • Get the inside scoop on the exciting research going on at Mote
  • Meet with Mote’s professional researchers, trainers, biologists and educators for first hand career advice and opportunities
  • Work in teams to develop and implement service projects
  • Go behind the scenes of Mote Aquarium
  • Get hands on experience with Mote’s Education Animal Collection
  • Increase ocean literacy and awareness through experiential learning   
  • Have opportunities for field trips and other unique Mote experiences
  • Have a blast!

Ages 8-11

Times: meets the third Thursday of every month, 10:00-3:00.
Dates: Sept 15, Oct 20, Nov 17, Dec 15, Jan 19, Feb 16, March 16, April 20, and May 18
Cost: $215 for school year includes once a month class, online assignments, pre and post activities, and occasional field trips.
Register: Due to very limited space for this program, students will be required to fill out an application. APPLICATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1, 2016.

Ages 12-16

Times:  meets the fourth Thursday of every month, 9:00-3:00 (with the exception of Thanksgiving, the meeting will be held the Friday before).
Dates: Sept 22, Oct 27, Nov 18, Dec 22, Jan 26, Feb 23, March 23, April 27, and May 25
Cost: $250 for school year includes once a month class, online assignments, pre and post activities, and occasional field trips.
Register: Due to very limited space for this program, students will be required to fill out an application. APPLICATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1, 2016.

NOTE: Students may join the 12-16 year old age group if they are turning 12 on or before December 31, 2016.

Fill out an application and complete a short application essay. 

Cancellation Policy

There are no refunds for any Mote education programs unless we must cancel the program. If you must cancel your participation or change the number of students participating and you do so more than five days in advance, we will hold your credit for payment on a future program. No-shows, changes or cancellations within five days of the program will be charged in full.

Questions about Homeschool programs? Contact Dana Henderson: 941.388.4441 ext. 133 or For registration issues or questions, please contact our Office Manager at 941-388-4441 ext. 348.