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Aquatic Resources Education

photo of aquatic resources education center

The Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) is a multi-use education and aquaculture center located in Anacostia Park in southeast Washington, DC. In collaboration with the National Park Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service, the Department of Energy & Environment opened the AREC in 2005. It is one of three facilities of its kind in the Northeast Region of the United States. DOEE Fish and Wildlife Biologists provide free facility tours and environmental education programs to students and the general public on a variety of topics including adaptations, amphibians & reptiles, environmental stewardship, fish biology and habitats, invasive species, and wetlands and watershed dynamics. The AREC presents a unique opportunity for visitors to experience close encounters with more than 40 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, aquatic plants, and invertebrates that can be found in the wetlands, streams, and rivers of the District as well as in the Chesapeake Bay.

AREC KidsCome and Visit! Schedule a Field Trip!

Walk in visitors are welcome at the AREC Monday through Friday between 10 am and 2 pm.  Pre-K-12 schools and community groups can register for hands-on field or classroom environmental education lessons that focus on the aquatic resources and wildlife found in the District. AREC lessons were developed using the Next Generation Science Standards and include:

  • Lessons on Fish include: fish anatomy, habitat, adaptations, and fish species native to the District (see pdf list of lesson options below), Register online for this program.AREC tanks
  • Lessons on Amphibians and Reptiles include:  metamorphosis, adaptations, fabulous frogs advanced investigations, and species native to the District (see pdf list of lesson options below), Register online for this program.
  • Lessons on How to Fish include: selecting equipment and bait, casting instruction and locating the best fishing spot in the District. Fishing clinics are scheduled for small groups of 15 participants or fewer and require a 3 hour time commitment, Register online for this program.
  • New Program! Anacostia River Explorers Boat Tours and Aquatic Resources Lesson at the AREC! Sign your students up for a lesson about the Anacostia River at the AREC followed by a boat trip up the Anacostia River to learn the history of this waterway and the wildlife that live in and around the river. This program requires a 3 hour time commitment. Register online for this program
  • View the Aquatic Resources Education Center Lessons and DC Science Standards Matrix to learn how our lessons meet the Next Generation Science Standards (see pdf below).

The AREC buildingAquatic Resources Education Center Location

1900 Anacostia Dr. SE
Washington, DC 20020
Inside Anacostia Park
(next to Skating Pavilion) (see map)

Phone: (202) 727-6701

Public Hours: Monday—Friday 10am—2pm
Other hours (including weekends) by appointment only.

Contact TTY: