1. Volunteer Program: The Roundhouse relies heavily on support from volunteers to assist the small number of staff. They assist with tank maintenance, facility care, animal care, and public education. Volunteers gain public speaking skills, animal husbandry skills, marine biology knowledge, environmental knowledge, leadership experience, time management skills, communication skills, team building skills, social skills, work ethics, and life skills through their experiences at the Roundhouse. This year the volunteer program includes over 80 dedicated individuals, most of whom are high school or college students. Last year, volunteers donated over 6,000 hours of their time to the aquarium. Over 40% of our high school volunteers plan to go to college to study marine science or other STEM fields.
2. Public Education Program: The Roundhouse is open to the public free of charge every day. This allows a socio economically diverse population to visit the Roundhouse. Annually, the Aquarium receives approximately 300,000 visits. Many visitors have not previously been educated about the oceans, marine life, the environment, or human impacts on the ocean and environment. Through our tanks, hands-on displays, educational materials, volunteers, and staff we strive to educate each visitor and provide them with the opportunity to interact with marine life in ways they would not be able to otherwise. These experiences with the natural world are critical to increasing awareness, building compassion, and desiring to protect nature.
3. Student Education Program: Each year, approximately 15,000 students from across Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas take part in the Roundhouse’s educational programs. Students learn about the ocean, marine life, the environment, science, and human impacts in a hands-on, experiential atmosphere. The Roundhouse offers a variety of classes to meet any need, including on-site, tidepool, and outreach classes of varying lengths and topics. The Roundhouse education program is set apart from similar programs by the qualifications of the Roundhouse staff. All classes are taught by staff members who are specialists in the field of marine and environmental science.