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Spend a Day at the Marine Discovery Center

The Marine Discovery Center is one of Florida’s most accomplished nature organizations and well worth a visit during any vacation to New Smyrna Beach.

With a variety of attractions for all ages including eco-tours, a butterfly garden, play area, public speaking events, and volunteer opportunities, it’s easy to spend many days exploring what all that it has to offer.

The Marine Discovery Center is led by a team of experts in biodiversity and natural preservation. For the past 20 years, the team has focused their efforts in the waterways of the Indian River Lagoon of New Smyrna Beach.

The center is your beginning point to a world of travel and excitement amidst the incredible nature of the area. Visit its indoor attractions, walk through the outdoor discoveries, and enjoy the riveting eco-tours through the finest rivers and coves of Florida.

marine discovery center

Visiting the Science Center

The science center is located at 520 Barracuda Blvd, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169. Admission to the main center is absolutely free. There is no catch. Here you can check out the discovery center’s live aquariums, multiple exhibits, and discovery zone.

The aquarium houses snails, urchins, horseshoe, crabs, turtles, and even a shark. There’s a touch tank open for kids and some special temporary exhibits for some peculiar critters of the sea.

Your adventure with the Marine Discovery Center begins at the main indoor center. But, there’s more to take in with the many outdoor sports, tours and programs here.

In the surrounding grounds of the center, you can seek out the riveting Butterfly Garden. The area is home to some rare butterflies, with a cedar pergola built by a lead member of Eagle Scouts.

You may also come across a nature playscape kid’s area, with some conveniently located picnic tables and benches. The archery range is located in a cozy and shaded part of the grounds. A guide member will assist kids during open archery hours for ages 8 to 14. Reservations are not required, as the event is only during scheduled archery days.

marine discovery center kayaking

Kayak Tours

There are several different tour options at the Discovery Center to try out during a family vacation. Browns Bay Kayak Tour will take you on an adventure through the backwaters of the Indian River Lagoon.

Or, you can choose something a little more thrilling—a full moon tour! This will be a 1-½ hour paddle through the sunset and then to watch the moon rise. Guided eco-tours will take you through the Indian River Lagoon while also learning about how important it is to care for the world around us. This option provides fun and education all in one.

Boat Tours

If kayaks aren’t your thing and you prefer a steadier boat ride, the Marine Discovery Center is where you’ll find it! There’s a full moon boat tour that begins with you boarding a 40-foot pontoon boat. You’ll then watch the sunset and the full moon rise above the beautiful waters of New Smyrna Beach. If you don’t want to stick around for the moon, or it doesn’t fit in your schedule, there are also normal sunset boat tours, which shine a new light on the waters here.

Perhaps the most talked about tour offered by the Discovery Center is the Dolphin Boat Charter. The private tour will take your group on an educational journey in the Indian River Lagoon, or you can choose the option of a Dock & Dine Excursion. Either way, you’ll get a two-hour trip that will allow you to see and learn about the marine life of New Smyrna Beach. You’ll see birds local to the area, vegetation in the lagoon, and of course, dolphins!

Whether it’s one of the cruise packages or a custom-made boat tip just for you, this New Smyrna Beach activity is sure to leave you talking about the experience for years to come! Make sure to call ahead for reservations for the boat tours, as they do book up fast.

marine discovery center dolphin tour

Education

The organization also hosts free public lectures, camps and field trips for all educational levels.

Various events occur year-round. In March alone, the center will offer an oyster bagging session on March 15th, coastal shoreline classes March 24th, and a massive Farm to Table Event March 18th.

You can find Bird Walks the morning of March 27th and the Lagoonacy Event April 21st, which is a massive kayak get-together, with activities and games.

The full calendar is available at the official website. Educational programs and special season exhibits may have associated entry fees, typically $5 to $15 per person, often with free entrance for those under 12.

Many of the local New Smyrna Beach events are weekly, such as the sunset cruises which are often from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, the Kayak Tours from 10 a.m. to noon, and the Dolphin Discovery Boat Tours, which typically run Thursday afternoons from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

You can find out all you need about event scheduling and educational programs by calling the center at (386) 428-4828. The rep will steer you exactly where you need to be for all your answers.

The Marine Discovery Center is open every day at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends.

Book Your Accommodations

We offer a range of excellent vacation rentals that are loaded to the brim with features like excellent locations on or near the beach, spacious interiors, and modern décor.

You can find out everything you need to know about our inventory of New Smyrna Beach vacation rentals by contacting us at (386)-478-7863.