We invite you to explore one of Florida’s natural treasures with Marine Discovery Center by booking a spot on one of our guided ecotours.
Many of our ecotour guests are surprised to learn that the Indian River Lagoon is North America’s most diverse estuary and has been designated as an Estuary of National Significance. Here, where salt and fresh water mingle, are more than 4,000 species of plants and animals, some of which are endangered or threatened and some that are found here and nowhere else on earth. Mangrove trees line shorelines and provide habitat for many species of animals and invertebrates. Birds such as osprey, pelicans, ibis, herons, roseate spoonbills or even bald eagles are commonly seen. In the estuary, bottlenose dolphins chase schools of baitfish, and manatees charm us with their slow-moving, gentle ways as they swim with their newborns. Numerous species of fish live in the Indian River Lagoon, including mullet that leap from the water and the predators that savor them such as saltwater trout and redfish.
Discover Amazing as you experience the Indian River Lagoon with MDC by land or water…each outing is a new adventure as the estuary reveals its seasonal treasures.
Dolphin Discovery EcoTour
Travel the Indian River Lagoon in the comfort of our 40-passenger Discovery pontoon boat and explore the variety of species that call the lagoon home. Your tour guide on the 2-hour journey will be one of our friendly certified Florida naturalists who will share information about the lagoon’s wildlife through narration and hands-on specimens.
Join one of our certified Florida naturalists for a special 2-hour evening cruise along the Indian River Lagoon to view the fantastic colors of a Florida sunset. We’ll travel north past sand bars and by the U.S. Coast Guard Station while discussing the lagoon and its flora & fauna
Dolphin Lighthouse EcoTour
Travel north on the Indian River Lagoon for this two-hour tour that cruises under the New Smyrna Beach drawbridge, past sand bars, mangrove shorelines and through Ponce de Leon Inlet to the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and back.
Full Moon EcoTour
Come out for a spectacular 2-hour evening excursion on the water and watch the full moon rise from the comfort of our 40-foot pontoon boat, Discovery. Let one of our certified Florida naturalists teach you about the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem while you observe mangroves, birds, dolphins and more.
History Mystery Boat Tour
Take a 2-hour cruise through history as guides from New Smyrna Museum of History introduce you to the city’s colorful, interesting past from the comfort of MDC’s 40 passenger boat, “Discovery”.
Dolphin Discovery Charter
Charter our vessel, Discovery, and you can choose from our standard cruise packages or let our team work with you to customize an outing which fits your needs perfectly. We can even arrange “Dock & Dine” excursions transporting your group to some of our local waterfront restaurants..
Guided Kayak EcoTour
Paddling a kayak offers a gentle way to view wildlife up close and to learn about the importance of an estuary, and you’ll get this opportunity by booking a spot on our popular 2-hour tour departing from MDC. Basic kayak instruction and nature interpretation are included with each tour, as well as all necessary equipment. These tours are designed for all levels of paddlers with no experience required.
Browns Bay Guided Kayak EcoTour
Explore the Indian River Lagoon with one of our certified Florida naturalists on the Browns Bay Guided Kayak Eco-tour. We offer 2-hour tours of this area with a chance to observe dolphins, manatees, wading birds, oyster reefs and a variety of salt-water plant life. Kayak instruction and nature interpretation are included with each tour, as well as all necessary equipment. These tours are designed for all levels of paddlers with no experience required.
Sunset Full Moon Kayak EcoPaddle
Join one of our certified Florida naturalists for a special evening guided kayak tour on our Sunset Full-Moon Paddle. These 1½-hour tours coincide with full moons and give participants the opportunity to paddle our local waters as the sun sinks below the mangrove trees and moonlight fills the sky..
Bird Walks will return in January 2019! MDC volunteer and bird aficionado Don Chalfant will lead you on a trek through the beautiful Indian River Lagoon Preserve Park to search for and observe a wide variety of avian life including herons, egrets, pelicans, hawks, eagles, kingfishers and many other brids!
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Walking the Wrack
The spring 2018 tours have concluded. We’ll update our page when the city offers their next Get To Know Your Island Program. Take a morning stroll along the beach with MDC educators and find out what’s washed up in the weeds and hiding in the sand!
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