Coming soon… the Gulf Coast Discovery Center

The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is growing, and that growth means good news for visitors in the form of the Gulf Coast Discovery Center.

This planned marine interpretive center is going to blow you away.

The proposed 12,000square-foot marine interpretive center is expected to include more than 20 educational tanks and exhibits for all ages, information on environmental stewardship and research opportunities.

A 5,000-gallon artificial aquarium will be designed to replicate the reefs off Navarre Beach and 1,000 plus gallon touch tanks will feature snails and small sharks.

Many of the exhibits focus on local animals and ecosystems. One of my favorite of the planned projects is the Deep Sea exhibit. It will be created to mirror the educational room in the NBMSS classroom.

The NBMSS room features black lights that give off an eerie glow to human-sized models of jellyfish and swarms of squid. Wall paintings educate students about deep ocean animals and ecosystems. The GCDC exhibit will likely dwarf it.

Another important feature of the center will be environmental stewardship education“giving participants a feeling of true responsibility and connection to the critical area where they live and visit.”

Proposed educational opportunities will involve exhibits on marine debris, the effects of the invasive Lionfish population and the lasting effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

There is also more than entertainment. Visitors will be exposed to real scientists doing real research.

Research labs will provide local students with learning opportunities, and visiting college students will be able to do research thanks to a proposed flow through system.

When the doors on this place open, young minds will be inspired. Come see for yourself.