Known as an environmental odyssey, this is the perfect place to learn about Florida’s local creatures and their habitat and have a hands-on wildlife experience.
Ponce Inlet Marine Science Center is a great place to learn about local sea creatures and birds and see them at close range. The center is home to a variety of wildlife, including turtles, pelicans and stingrays, and offers many interactive activities to delight the entire family.
Get your hands wet in the stingray touch pool filled with Atlantic stingrays, fish, crabs, anemones, sea urchins and other species from Central Florida’s local waters. Enjoy the rare opportunity to actually touch these creatures.
Explore the turtle rehabilitation center, which has seven hospital pools for sick and injured sea turtles, hatchlings and washbacks. Newly hatched sea turtles that have been washed ashore by rough waters have been given the logical name, washbacks. Once the turtles recover, they are released into the ocean. You can also observe land turtles and tortoises that are cared for by the facility.
View the hospital pools from the Turtle Terrace, which is located at the front of the center.Visit the bird rehabilitation facility, a haven for sick and injured birds of all shapes and sizes. Meet pelicans, night herons and bald eagles, and learn more about them from the center’s rehabilitation staff. When they have made a full recovery, the birds are also released back into the wild.
Walk along the nature trail and admire native vegetation and wildlife. Climb the Bird Observation Tower to enjoy stunning views of Ponce Inlet, and try to spot local birds such as osprey, Peregrine falcons, terns, cormorants and egrets.
Attend a wildlife talk or participate in one of the educational programs run by the center throughout the year. Open to adults and children, these programs provide information about wildlife in the area and assist in the center’s ongoing research. Call the center to register before your visit.
The center is open Tuesday through Sunday and charges a small entry fee for adults, with discounts for children. The facility is a 30-minute drive south of downtown Daytona Beach and has free on-site parking. The Marine Science Center is the perfect place to get close to local ocean creatures and learn something new.