You might be hard-pressed to find a person who, at some point in his life, didn't consider making a career out of working with animals. Many children dream of becoming a veterinarian, zoologist or marine biologist. If you or your teenager has not changed his mind about a career with sea life, sending him to a marine biology summer program will give him a taste of all the best, and sometimes the worst, parts of that field.

University of North Carolina Wilmington MarineQuest

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) offers various marine biology focused summer camps for teenagers. Some programs include learning how to SCUBA dive and getting your open water certification, while others require certification as a prerequisite. Camps are anywhere from one to three weeks long and offer both residential and commuter camps. Students will be responsible for collecting data on excursions and will analyze that data with UNCW scientists. For the summer of 2011, camps range from $650 to $3500.

Broadreach Marine Biology Camps

Broadreach offers a number of international trips for the aspiring marine biologist. Their academic treks, which all of the marine biology camps fall under, earn participants college credit and community service hours while traveling to some of the most beautiful and exotic locations in the world. Coursework on the trips is facilitated by professional marine scientists and researchers. Most trips are 21 days long and each one has a different focus, like conservation, dolphins, marine mammals, sea turtles or sharks depending on the destination. Many trips also include SCUBA certification. 2011 marine biology camps range from about $5000 to $5700.


Located in the Florida Keys and offering both residential and commuter camps, Seacamp was founded in 1966. Campers between 12 and 17 years old can attend. Sessions are one week at a time and vary in price up to about $1000 per week. Students can do research on areas of their own interest while supervised by academically trained marine scientists. The camp is only a few minutes from Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, which is the only remaining living coral reef in the United States, offering students an unparalleled opportunity to see reef wildlife while utilizing their new SCUBA certifications.

ActionQuest Marine Biology Camps

ActionQuest camps offer marine voyages for aspiring marine biologists. Live aboard a 46-foot catamaran or a 50-foot sloop for a few weeks in the British Virgin islands while studying marine life, reef ecology and awareness, and obtaining underwater naturalist certifications. Activities are practical and your learning will be hands-on. Two ActionQuest voyages focus explicitly on marine biology and the trips are divided by age group. Most teenagers will want to enroll in the Dolphin voyage, for ages 15 and older. Both specialized courses require a PADI open water or referral as a prerequisite and offer more advanced certifications while on board.

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About the Author

Based in Austin, Texas, Carrie Burns has been writing professionally since 2004, primarily ghostwriting corporate white papers and reviewing local theater productions. She has also spent time devising new works with cutting-edge theater ensembles. Burns holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.