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Marine Education Center

101 Sweetbay Drive

Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: (228) 818-8095

The Marine Education Center at Gulf Coast Research Laboratory features a visitors center with interactive digital displays including NOAA's Science on a Sphere and an augmented reality sandbox where people can shape a mountain or a river bed, then make it rain or flood. Visitors can also build a volcano and see lava pour down. Take a self-guided nature trail tour, walk along a 208 feet long-almost 5 feet wide pedestrian suspension bridge made of galvanized steel or use the dock to launch kayaks.

Open Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm. Researchers and staff are on hand to answer any questions during normal hours.

Two different sessions of Sea Camp are offered, one in June and one in July. The topics and activities will be different. Each session will focus on a specific topic that is reinforced with fun activities and lesson plans in true University of Southern Mississippi Sea Camp style. Campers are exposed to vast amounts of marine biology and coastal ecology information in interesting and entertaining week-long activities.  

Sea Camp participants are put into one of three groups that include activities age appropriate for each of the groups. 

  • Group 1: 1st and 2nd grades
  • Group 2: 3rd and 4th grades
  • Group 3: 5th and 6th grades 

Drop-off 7:45-8am and pick-up is between 2:45-3pm

Note: For GCRL, Ocean Springs campers, 3rd-6th graders, drop-off on Thursdays is 7:30am and pick-up is at 4:45pm to accommodate the trip to Ship Island

Spend a week learning all about one of the ocean's apex predators. Shark Fest participants may encounter Atlantic sharp nose, bonnethead, blacktip, spinner, hammerhead and bull sharks. Board university research vessels to long line for sharks and participate in shark research with our USM scientists by catching, tagging and releasing sharks.

A $50 deposit is required with registration.

As a participant, you will:

  • Interact with GCRL scientists • Capture, tag, and release sharks
  • Contribute to ongoing research
  • Cruise aboard a GCRL research vessel
  • Receive a “SHARK FEST” t-shirt • Learn about sharks, skates, and rays

The topics and activities will be different. Each session will focus on a specific topic that is reinforced with fun activities and lesson plans in true University of Southern Mississippi Sea Camp style. Campers are exposed to vast amounts of marine biology and coastal ecology information in interesting and entertaining week-long activities.  

Sea Camp participants are put into one of three groups that include activities age appropriate for each of the groups. 

  • Group 1: 1st and 2nd grades
  • Group 2: 3rd and 4th grades
  • Group 3: 5th and 6th grades 

Drop-off 7:45-8am and pick-up is between 2:45-3pm

Note: For GCRL, Ocean Springs campers, 3rd-6th graders, drop-off on Thursday is 7:30am and pick-up is at 4:45pm to accommodate the trip to Ship Island

Spend a week learning all about one of the ocean’s apex predators. Shark Fest participants may encounter Atlantic sharp nose, bonnethead, blacktip, spinner, hammerhead and bull sharks. Board vessels to long line for sharks and participate in shark research with our USM scientists by catching, tagging and releasing sharks.

As a participant, you will:

  • Interact with GCRL scientists • Capture, tag, and release sharks
  • Contribute to ongoing research
  • Cruise aboard a GCRL research vessel
  • Receive a SHARK FEST t-shirt • Learn about sharks, skates, and rays