Due to gravity, non-aquatic animals are limited to a single-dimensional plane of movement, with the exception of birds and monkeys who have learned to burrow. Watch animals float up the z-axis with today's Groupon: for $10, you get two admissions to the Florida Oceanographic Society on Hutchinson Island in Stuart (up to a $20 value).
The Florida Oceanographic Society preserves the integral bond between the panhandle state and its watery borders by soaking brain sponges in aquatic knowledge to stimulate environmental stewardship. Straddling the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center comprises 57 acres of marine life, including a 750,000-gallon game-fish lagoon, stingray reef, and sea-turtle roller-derby track. Animals on display might include hogfish, porkfish, or applesauce sea stars, each eponymously branded with their favorite foods. Visitors can embark on a guided, mile-loop trek toward the lagoon through native plants and mangrove swamps to learn about coastal ecosystems and sea-turtle conservation. Like their Empire State cousins, sea turtles nesting on the Floridian coast must fend off predators both animal and anthropomorphic while struggling to overcome environmental threats from debris and toxic ooze. Back at the Oceanographic tank, stingrays ripple along the bottom, inviting adventurous hands to pet their slippery surface without fear of being stung by their clipped barbs or clever retorts.
In addition to onsite programs and online activities, the Florida Oceanographic Society also leads research efforts aimed at restoring oyster reefs and native plants. The Center’s conservation programs inspire future generations while helping maintain local marine ecosystems.
Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center
A sea turtle proudly displays its intricately patterned shell. A stingray safely brushes its sleek skin against a child’s hand, grazing the top of a 10,000-gallon tank. A bird splashes into mangrove swamps to snatch fish. Sensory experiences like these occur on a regular basis at the 57-acre Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. As the headquarters for the nonprofit Florida Oceanographic Society, the center strives to both educate the public and inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems.
Among the center’s many activities, visit the Sea Star Touch Tank Pavilion and watch a live feeding at the 750,000-gallon Game Fish Lagoon. Educational programs throughout the day explore the lives of sea turtles and explain how to identify local fish that refuse to wear nametags. Just past a colorful butterfly garden and aquariums at the Frances Langford Visitors Center, guests can find nature trails that wend through mangrove swamps and hardwood hammocks. Here, they can see the natural state of a bio-diverse estuary, along with endangered plants and animals that the Florida Oceanographic Society is striving to save through research as well as educational and restoration initiatives.
890 NE Ocean Blvd.
Stuart, Florida 34996Get Directions