About Marine Discovery Center
The Marine Discovery Center, Inc. (MDC) was formed over 10 years ago by interested parties with protection of the Indian River Lagoon as the primary objective. The founders included James Vandergrifft, the Mayor, then and now, of New Smyrna Beach, civic leaders, local biologists and others.
MDC is a membership-driven, not-for-profit, 501 (c) 3 Florida Corporation. The membership elects the Board of Directors which in turn hires staff and provides support, management and governance to the organization and staff. We focus on Florida Coastal Ecosystem Education, Research, Restoration and Preservation with special attention to the northern Indian River Lagoon and surrounding waters. CLICK HERE FOR MDC BY-LAWS
Incorporated in 1998, MDC began raising funds and inaugurated ecotours on the Indian River. The MDC is currently housed in temporary buildings on the North Causeway’s riverfront site pending construction of a permanent facility.
Our 40-passenger vessel and dock facilities were provided with funds from the Florida Inland Navigation District. Ongoing vessel support is provided by Boston Whaler, Inc. Our market is Central Florida and beyond. Of the 3-4 similar facilities within 150 miles of New Smyrna Beach, we are the only true “in the water” educational experience available.
We generate revenues via memberships, educational programs and camps and tours aboard our vessels. Our contract with the city to manage a water taxi service for our area provides income augmenting our educational, research, restoration and preservation mission.
Working with the City of New Smyrna Beach, we enjoy a lease on city waterfront property at a nominal cost and benefit from good relations with the SE Volusia Chamber of Commerce, ECHO, Florida Inland Navigation District, Ponce Inlet Port Authority and the County of Volusia.
The long range vision of the Marine Discovery Center is to see a healthy Indian River Lagoon Estuary (IRL) and the ecosystem it supports preserved and enjoyed for its natural beauty, unmatched diversity of species and rich fishery for generations to come. Initiatives and activities designed to achieve this vision include providing education, research, restoration and heightened public awareness of this wondrous, fragile natural resource. In order to preserve the IRL for the enjoyment of future generations, a goal of the Marine Discovery Center is to showcase the biodiversity of this treasured natural resource and to examine, research and encourage human interaction “ON THE WATER” with the estuary.
The Marine Discovery Center is proud to be a partner of the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center (MLMEC). The MLMEC is part of the Marine Fisheries Enhancement Initiative, a program under the supervision of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is a public-private partnership created to ensure that the exceptional recreational fishing opportunities that have earned Florida its place as the fishing capital of the world remain available.
We are continuing to add new content to our website everyday. To learn more about The Marine Discovery Center, please visit back soon or contact us.