SeaSHOALS: Marine Science for Families - Will return in 2023

ATTENTION: Registration is open for 2022 Public Programs! Please review our 2022 COVID Safety Plan. If you have any questions, please contact us at Thank you!

Kids Ahoy!
Fun for the whole family!

Are you ready for a fun and engaging adventure with the amazing child or children in your life?! SeaSHOALS is all about exploration and discovery, using a coastal Maine island as your classroom, playground, and summer getaway!

Roll-up your sleeves and register for a SeaSHOALS adventure to the Isles of Shoals, one of the Maine/NH Seacoast's most intriguing destinations! This introductory program, designed for first-time Shoalers, includes "family-friendly" activities based at the world-renowned Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island. SeaSHOALS is an amazing opportunity for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and the special children in their lives, to immerse themselves in marine science! Over the course of the program, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Collect intertidal organisms and OBSERVE their unique adaptations using state of the art lab equipment
  • Go cruising aboard a Shoals research vessel to learn about Harbor and Grey seals on nearby Duck Island
  • Stroll along the trails of Appledore to explore the resident seabirds, and witness, first-hand, all the quirky and fascinating behaviors of Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls
  • Delve into the history and lore of the Isles of Shoals archipelago

Click here for a sample syallabus.

Island Environment: Appledore Island is a rugged landscape with uneven, slightly steep and rocky paths. Access on/off the island is via a floating dock, a steep ramp, and a set of stairs. Sturdy walking shoes are required. Children should not explore the island unaccompanied. Please review our Safety at Shoals page for any questions about boat safety, island terrain, medical access, or dietary needs.

Age limit: This unique, and life-changing experience is designed for children 7+ years old. SeaSHOALS is not suited for children younger than age 7.

All children must be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for supervising the child during the entire stay on Appledore Island. Family groups are fine (2 parents + 3 children), and adults need not be directly related to children (e.g. friend of the family is OK).





SML boats will run rain or shine, so long as the captain deems it safe to travel. Passengers should anticipate getting wet and come prepared with appropriate clothing. If the captain deems travel unsafe, boats schedules may be impacted until the weather passes. Communications regarding any weather-related delays will come via email and telephone from SML's main office.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation received

  • At least 30 days before departure = 100% refund
  • 29-15 days before departure =  50% refund
  • Less than 15 days before departure = 0%



Carol Steingart
Past president and lifetime member, Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association (GOMMEA) and Owner/Operator of Coast Encounters, LLC.

'Coastal Carol' has been leading programs for families on Appledore Island for over 15 years. Her passion for the marine environment is infectious, stemming from her time on Appledore Island as an undergraduate student in a course at Shoals Marine Laboratory!

Sara Ellis, Ph.D.
Part time faculty, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Univ. of Southern Maine; Biologist, Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation; Board Member, GOMMEA

'Salty Sara' has a broad background in marine science and a strong commitment to conservation and education. She has studied a wide variety of species including lobsters, octopus, seals, and whales. More recently she has worked on issues of marine biodiversity and ecosystem-based management.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation received

  • At least 30 days before departure = 100% refund
  • 29-15 days before departure =  50% refund
  • Less than 15 days before departure = 0%

SeaSHOALS leaders
SeaSHOALS leaders, Salty Sara and Coastal Carol.
SeaSHOALS Tidepooling
Tidepooling for all!
SeaSHOALS student
It's a baby lobster!
SeaSHOALS Microscope
Algae under the microscope back in the lab.
SeaSHOALS touch tank
Touch tank time with snail racing!
SeaSHOALS crafts
Seashell arts and crafts!
SeaSHOALS boat ride
Ahoy, matey! Plenty of fun on boats!

Event Type


Price is person (adult or child). All-inclusive with: overnight accommodations, all meals, snacks and beverages, field trips and activities, supplies, and round-trip boat transportation between Portsmouth and Appledore Island. Families signing up together will share dorm rooms that sleep 2 or 4 people per room.


(603) 862-5346