When the Eco Discovery Center opened down here, I was skeptical. But my husband and I one day finally decided to check it out. Unfortunately, thinking it would have to be lame, we did no allot ourselves enough time to visit this place, which turned out to be awesome and super informative about the Florida Keys eco-system.
We had enough time to run through the different exhibits very quickly and we also got to see the 20 minute movie, “Reflections of the Florida Keys”, starring local dive celebrity Megan Haney Greer. If you have just a little bit of time here, I highly recommend viewing this film as one of the things you check out. The footage was amazing and the story was very interesting while still imparting lots of information to the viewers. Plus, the theater is HD with surround sound. (If you don’t have time to see the film you can purchase it in the gift shop.)
The Mote Marine Living Reef Exhibit is so cool. There is a 2500 gallon reef tank is filled with fish and corals, a live reef cam, a video about coral spawning, and other displays that teach all about corals.
The Aquarius Exhibit lets you take a virtual dive up to 1600 feet! You can experience the beautiful marine life and see how scientists work under the sea to gain research.
Many other exhibits in the eco center will teach you all about the environment, from the upland pine lands and hardwood hammocks to the beaches and dunes. Mangroves, shorelines, seagrass flats, hard bottom, corals, and deep shelf underwater communities are all highlighted in these exhibits. SOme are set up as dioramas and others as interactive touch screens. All are interesting. The Weather Station which was a touch screen exhibit with live radar and satellite was one that we really enjoyed.
The gift shop has unique gifts such as books, games, and videos. All proceeds go towards educational programs to further educate people on the environment.
The center is operated by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA, the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, the National Wildlife Refuges of the Florida Keys, and Eastern National.
Admission is free! Of course, donations are always appreciated! Show your support and nourish your mind by visiting the Center. You may even find me there as I am due for another visit soon!!