NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has launched Sanctuaries 360°—a collection of immersive underwater experiences to bring these exceptional underwater treasures to viewers all over the world. These underwater parks are destinations for many who want to visit the ocean and experience immense beauty, biodiversity and have the chance to encounter marine life. For many, reaching and experiencing these special ocean areas—like a diver—can be a challenge.

Check out the virtual reality videos and 360° immersive photos to explore your national marine sanctuaries from the comfort of our home.

light shines through the water onto corals

Your National Marine Sanctuaries

In this National Marine Sanctuary System overview lesson, a mini-research project introduces students to America’s underwater parks by comparing and contrasting the various sanctuaries. Through a deeper dive into the digital resources offered, including four 360° videos, students learn how national marine sanctuary sites are designated and why they are important for protecting and preserving the ocean and Great Lakes.

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sea lion swims near divers
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Sea Lion Encounter in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

On a visit to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, students will explore the plants and animals that live and thrive in the cold-water marine environment that they encountered in the 360° video. They will also learn about specific adaptations necessary for survival in this habitat.

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diver transplants corals
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Coral Restoration in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Students will dive deeper into the coral restoration work that the 360° video highlights. Students will research the ecology of coral reefs, natural and human threats to corals, and the science of coral restoration. Students will design and make an argument for a proposed new coral nursery to be placed within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

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Two sea turtles surrounded by fish
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Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

In the Hawaiilan Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary 360° video, students learn about the diversity of life found in the Hawaiian Islands. Students will explore the ecology of three different species, their importance to Native Hawaiian culture, and the conservation measures in place for their protection.

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A diver swims above ashipwreck
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Shipwreck Alley in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Tied to the virtual dive on the wreck of D.M Wilson, students research the historical, ecological, and economic importance of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Students create a digital infographic that communicates the importance of preserving a shipwreck.

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