school trips and parties
Our field trips provide students, near and far, to experience Topsail Island through hands-on experiences!
We know that it can be hard to leave the classroom to go to the beach, so we do the next best thing- We bring the beach to your classroom!
We visit your classroom with our specimen and equipment in hand!
Birthday parties should be fun.. and educational! Our birthday parties will have your kids (and their friends) laughing, adventuring and making memories that will last a lifetime!
Free virtual community class
Have you heard?
EMA is abroad for the winter! We miss our students and our in-house weekly classes (all of them!), but we are over the moon(snail) to have our weekly community class still, only virtually.
Join us every Tuesday at our normal community class time of 1 pm for an new adventure. Classes will be virtual from November 13, 2018 - March 5, 2019.
From Howler Monkeys to Freshwater Bull Sharks, we have a lot on our list to explore!
See you every Tuesday!
(Follow us on Facebook to view the videos! We will update this page with links as we move forward! It is a working progress! :))
Meet the crew
Taylor is the owner and lead instructor of EMA. He has been in love with the ocean his whole life.
When he isn't surfing, he is swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, eating ice cream, speaking some espanol, playing guitar or just running around on the beach like a kid. To him, life revolves around the ocean and he wouldn't have it any other way. His spirit animal is an opossum, but he really loves sharks. All of them, but especially the wobbegong.
Amber "Ling" Maready
Ling is our EMA "mom". She is the epitome of fun.
Sometimes we wonder where she gets her energy, it never runs out. She is a "whale" of knowledge and can answer any question that you have about EMA. If she's not in the lab teaching, you can catch her on the beach doing yoga, playing in the sand with Indy and Vai, or singing karaoke. (Not really the singing karaoke part, thank goodness.) If she were a sea animal, she would want to be a whale shark, or a seahorse, or an sea turtle. (Or anything, really.)
Indy + Vai Maready
If you ever walk into EMA and it is quiet, know that these guys have the day off.As a family run business, these guys don’t get out of working much. They are the real ones in charge and we are completely okay with that!
Indy is a wobbegong shark loving, crab holding, trash collecting three year old. Vai is a seashell licking, sand eating, water obsessed one year old. Both carry a determination to keep up with every camper older than they are, which is all of them.
Have you ever met that one person who is always happy?
Well, Nicole is that person. She is the kindest person in the world, and probably even outer space, although we haven't met everyone from outer space. Nicole handles all of our finances here at EMA and is an organization whiz. She also enjoys peanut butter balls traveling, and kicking it at the beach. She also makes a killer chocolate cake.
If you see a small rodent-like creature running around EMA, don't be alarmed, it's just Bitsy. I guess you could say she's our mascot, but don’t tell Tad Cooper, he would be very upset with that statement. Bitsy loves paddleboarding, kayaking and running up and down the beach like a lunatic. She is a small dog with a big love for the ocean. If she could be any sea animal, she said she would just be herself, because she is one with the sea. (We told you that she is a lunatic, which rhymes with tunicate, which at one point actually has a backbone type structure, like bitsy except made out of a cartilage-like material, which they later lose during development, so she is basically a marine invertebrate.)
want to get involved?
We are a little biased, but we think the EMA family is the best family around- and we would love for you to join us!
Do you need volunteer hours? Are you looking for an internship opportunity? Are you interested in serving your community? Community outreach? Do you want to jump in on some beach clean-ups? Whole island clean-ups? Do you just want to learn more about the amazing ocean? It’s the crafts, huh? You saw how awesome our crafts are, didn’t you?Are you just a science lover who wants to join us in spreading awareness? Do you have supplies that you would like to donate to EMA? Do you love working with kids? Or do you find joy in working with animals? Reptiles? Do you want to dive into the world of aquariums? Or is it the fun? I mean, we are pretty darn fun.
Either way, we’ve got your (leather)back!
Volunteer + Internship opportunity
Whether you are a past EMA student, an EMA parent, a new face to EMA or a college student looking to hop on board, we have plenty to do around the lab! From field work, lesson planning and data collection to office responsibilities, we have a variety of options to best fit your interests and passions!
We love beach clean-ups, in fact, we start every beach adventure with a quick beach clean-up.
We are working to put together teams to continue clean ups outside of camps and classes. We are working to develop a trash log to collect data on the types (and amounts) of trash our island accumulates, as well as, cigarette butt receptacles.
donation + SPONSORSHIP
While we do not have a ‘donate box’ type set-up, we do accept and appreciate donations of supplies and equipment!
Whether you have aquarium equipment, tanks, nets, specimen, books, buckets, craft materials, animal food, gear sponsorship opportunities, company sponsorship, or even your talents, like painting or building, we are thankful for it all!
Tell us more about how we can work together below!
Hurricane florence update
EMA is still kickin’ it in Nicaragua, but we will land back stateside on March 5th!
We are still in the process of securing our next location, but we are hopeful to have that announced this month (February!)
We will start back full force on April 15 for our annual Spring Break Camp!
April 15 - 19 : Spring Break Camp
Weeks of April 22 - May 27 : 6 week Spring Semester
(Spring semester will include Toddler Classes, Community Class, After School Program and Home School Classes!)
As soon as we confirm our next location (keep us in your thoughts!), we will go live with the schedule!
We cannot wait to be back!
In the meantime, follow our adventures on Facebook and Instagram!
Aqua Wellness Resort in Tola, Nicaragua has partnered with us, EMA, to bring education, hands-on learning and adventure internationally.
The EMA Nicaragua Marine Science Center will be open in February 2019 to provide a place for conservation education to reach locals and travelers, alike!
EMA has been working with the resort to collect data on local sea turtles and their hatchlings with a new project called EMA: Project Tortuga.
Follow us on social media for other local finds and data collection!
Wait, how do we contact you in Nicaragua?
At this time, our office number is not in service, due to Hurricane Florence. Please send us a quick email and we will be in touch asap!
(We are still reserving field trips and school trips for after March 15th, 2019!)
Nicaragua is a place near and dear to Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Ling’s hearts for many reasons, but let us share one with you.
In 2014, after living in Nicaragua for a few months, Mr. T and Mrs. L moved to a different beach town to work at an eco-resort called Aqua Wellness Resort. Everything about the resort and job seemed like it could not get any better, until they walked back on the beach from dinner toward their room.
They looked down and saw a baby sea turtle headed the wrong way. Now, the resort used red lights and other methods to try to prevent this from happening, but we all know that things just happen sometimes.
Mr. T and Mrs. L gathered the hatchling and headed down the beach to search for any more. The hatchling was solo that night, but her appearance made a huge difference in the lives of Mr. T and Mrs. L.
After the restaurant closed and the beach was only lit by the bright stars and beautiful a moon, they released that special hatchling with much love and good luck in her upcoming years of trials and travel.
This exploded an already lit love for sea turtles. From that night on, Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Ling have worked with the local workers and surrounding community of Aqua Wellness Resort by providing education and implementing new protocol while working with sea turtles.
Finally, after a few years of work, EMA is proud to announce Project: Tortuga.
Project: Tortuga concentrates on conservation education with respect to culture and upbringing. EMA will continue to collect data on mamas, nests, hatchlings and excavations all year around. With this data, we can learn more about the species of Nicaragua, we can learn more about how we can better do our part to provide a safe environment for mama and her hatchlings and, most importantly, we can strive to spread conservation awareness to communities who do not know how important they are to the future.
Project: Tortuga is about turtles, conservation, education and, mostly, love.
WHAT KINDS OF CLASSES DO YOU OFFER?
We offer fun classes, really fun classes, super fun classes, and extremely adventurous classes. We offer these classes in various lengths (1 hour - 3 hours) at a variety of price points, including free community classes, 3 day classes, 1 day classes and several different special classes, like birthday parties, parent’s night out, field trips and family adventures!
Classes and camps- what is the difference?
what age group is my child in?
What do you do if the weather is bad?
Great question! This is a change for EMA, so I am super happy to address it! We call our 3 hour multi-day groups, summer camps. Our classes are considered any other group that meets for only one-time per week. So our classes include ghost crab hunts, single-day classes on Tuesday and Thursday, Astronomy 101 and our SUP and Science Classes. We also have events throughout the year, but those will be specified as events! :)
We have four main age groups at this time:
Sea Squirts: 2 - 5 years old Guppies: 5 - 8 years old
Groupers: 9-11+ years old Great Whites: 11+ years old (TEEN CAMP!)
"Rain, rain go away" doesn't always work, unfortunately. As long as there is not severe weather, like a hurricane, we will hold class. With less than ideal outdoor weather, we will do our learning in the EMA lab. We have numerous engaging and exciting activities planned should we need to be in the lab for an extended amount of time. (Hint. hint: so. many. awesome. experiments.)
When should i Drop my Child off?
We try to keep the drop-off process as pain free as possible! We only need you to sign a waiver upon arrival if you haven't been to EMA previously in the calendar year, so we don't require you to arrive more than 5 minutes early! Our address is 116 South Topsail Dr, Surf City, NC 28445.
I need to contact EMA staff while my child is out exploring, what should I do?
We always have a phone with us while adventuring! If you try the office and everyone is at the beach, please call or text 910-515-9751 and/or 910-515-7701.
We keep those phones close and check them every couple minutes!
What to Wear?
What do we bring?
wait, do we tip?
do we have to pay the transaction fees?
Students should come to class each day dressed in a bathing suit and a t-shirt or cover up, with sunscreen already applied. Students should have CLOSED TOED shoes such as crocs, keens, sturdy water shoes or old sneakers with them. As a safety precaution, PLEASE NO FLIP FLOPS, unless you pack a pair of closed toed shoes in your bag! If your camper(s) like to wear sunglasses, hats, etc. while on the beach, please bring them with you!
Our fall, winter and spring semesters do not have to wear their bathing suits, this should be weather dependent. Just keep in mind that we will visit the beach each week!
Reef Safe Sunscreen (SPF that is appropriate for your child)
A bottle (or two) of water or sports drink
A healthy snack, like granola bars, an apple, orange, etc.
A light jacket, if you think you may be chilly after getting wet
Feel free to pack a change of clothes if you think your camper will want to change
Oh no, the awkward "T" word!
Please know that EMA pays their employees for the amazing work that they do, but if you received extraordinary service, or you just want to do something special for someone in the EMA family, that is completely up to you!
Plus, I don't think any human would turn down some ice cream (or any other unexpected kind gesture!)
Ah, another awkward “T” word. We wish there were no transaction fees, but unfortunately at this time, they come along with the convenience of online booking!
You can waive the fees by calling us directly to pay. This may take a few minutes longer than your online booking process, but we are more than happy to do it!
116 South Topsail Dr.
Surf City, NC, 28445
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We will try to be back in touch with you within 24 hrs. You can also read our FAQ page to find answers to your questions.
Phone: 910-328-1951 or 910-515-9751
Mailing Address: PO box 907 Hampstead, NC, 28443