Owned by the Port of Bellingham
Operated by the NW Discovery Project
The aquatic displays and hands-on touch tank introduce children and parents to our local marine flora and fauna. Outreach programs are developed and presented by our marine staff and focus on place-based experiences and a hands-on approach to learning.
Youngsters are invited to touch and learn about seashore animals from Salish Sea and the outer coast of Washington. This class introduces children to sea animals lacking bones such as sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, chitons and snails.
Three to five animals are temporarily on display in clear buckets. Children hear the names of these curious animals and learn a few interesting facts about how the animal moves, eats and protects itself. Dip your hands into our cool, salty touch pool and hold a hermit crab.
Explore the aquarium in a guided program led by one or our instructors. Children are invited to touch and learn as many more animals are accessible to curious children during these marine programs. We explain how to differentiate a boy crab from a girl crab, describe how a hermit crab selects a new shell, and discover where a sea star’s mouth is located and how a sea star eats. Activities also include songs and story telling.
Students will conduct hands-on inquiry investigations with live seashore animals that have no backbones (invertebrates). Meet the slimy, sticky and prickly, and learn about the places where they live, their adaptations to intertidal life and how invertebrates camouflage themselves in order to ward off predators. Students will brainstorm how animals have adapted to life underwater and learn the importance of ocean conservation. Activities include drawing sea animals they see at the center or a walk on the dock for discovery of intertidal sea life.
Discover an eelgrass meadow and learn how this local underwater ecosystem supports a variety of sea life. Waving green ribbons of eelgrass create a calm, protective nursery. Pop up in an aquarium bubble to see the various animals that live within this aquatic environment. Within eelgrass meadows, there is food and shelter for a wide variety of sea anemones, marine worms, snails, limpets, crabs and fish. Students learn how they are linked to the marine food web.
Groups gather around a 1,500 gallon observation pool and peer into the depths. Shelves descend in depth from one side of the pool to the other. This program includes a guided visit of the marine life that lives in the subtidal zone (the area below where the tide goes in and out). This includes anemones in the shallower step, but also encompasses starry flounders, rockfish and sculpins in the deeper depths.
Look closely and students will also view the amazing grunt sculpin, cabezon and buffalo sculpin. Children will see and touch marine life living in local Washington waters. Following a brief moment of silence, students will be asked to think about how they can help take care of the wonderful sea weed and beautiful animals living in the sea.
Call or email the Marine Life Center at (360) 671-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
Monday - Friday, 11 am - 5 pm. Please be ready with school name, address, phone number, teacher's name, grade level, number of students/class, program choice, and preferred dates and times.