"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

Exhibit Area Renovations

Mar 15th, 2017 | Category: Announcements, MDC News

Marine Discovery Center Finalizes Exhibit Area Renovations

By Lisa D. Mickey

Visitors to the Marine Discovery Center are already benefitting from renovations designed to enhance their learning experience. After more than a year of planning, MDC has finalized changes that start right at the front door.

New exhibits, new flooring and a redesigned exhibit area, as well as self-guided signage at displays are already in place. MDC educators hope the renovations will better inform the public about the Indian River Lagoon.

“The renovations are an attempt to make the exhibits more uniform and to focus on the Indian River Lagoon and the native animals found in our waters,” said Michelle West, education coordinator at the MDC.

“We also try to convey aspects of conservation throughout all of the new exhibits,” added Logan Rohrbach, education specialist/aquarist. “Guests can learn not only about the various species, but what is being done to protect these animals.”

New exhibit displays will allow guests to tour the center and learn about such Indian River Lagoon residents as Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, seahorses, octopus and Eastern Diamondback Terrapins.

Interpretive signage will also discuss concern about such invasive species as lionfish, which can lay up to two million eggs each year and prey on juvenile native fishes – a serious threat in an estuary that serves as the nursery to the ocean.<?p>

Actual living exhibits feature lionfish, octopus and diamondback terrapin, currently on display at the center. In addition, three touch tanks have been restocked with new species that are native to the Indian River Lagoon.

A new shark display has also been created to better inform visitors about the ocean’s apex predator and the city’s namesake as “the Shark Bite Capital of the World.”

In addition MDC has made enhancements to its native live rock tank and to the touch tanks in the exhibit area. New lighting and display areas also enhance the center’s gift-shop.

Planning for the renovated 1,300 square-foot exhibition area began in September 2016, with construction and actual redesign starting Jan. 2, this year. Additions will be made in the near future, with plans to expand live specimens this summer.


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Construction was completed in 2014 to restore a salt marsh located behind the Marine Discovery Center. The center also installed a butterfly garden in 2015, and recently added educational signage. In addition, a new nature play area for children opened to the public in 2016, with additions planned for this year.

Admission into the Marine Discovery Center is free, but donations are accepted.

For more information about the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach,
call (386) 428-4828 or visit www.marinediscoverycenter.org.

Contact: Lisa Mickey at lisa@marinediscoverycenter.org