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The Living Marsh Boardwalk
Spend time viewing the Living Marsh! On the north side of the parking lot there is a boardwalk that will take you through a salt marsh. Be sure to read the panels that will help you identify grasses and wildlife common to this area.
Mr. Sand: Along with the Boardwalk, students may participate in the adventures of a grain of sand! The cartoon character, Mr. Sand, tells the story of the evolution and dynamics of barrier islands in an attractive manner to children of all ages.

 
The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta
The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta is our state's largest wetland and provides a vital habitat for many plants and animals. Rich soil deposited into the shallow bay areas by the Coosa, Tallapoosa, Black Warrior, Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers built the Delta.

The Delta is 10 miles wide, 40 miles long and includes 250,000 acres of marsh, cypress-tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwoods. It is the second largest river delta in the United States. 
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The Mobile-Tensaw Delta functions as a sponge, filtering impurities from 20% of the nation's fresh water.  The aquaria in this gallery are fresh water tanks, the largest of which depicts a cypress-tupelo swamp. Some exciting animals for your students to observe include the American alligator, turtles and a primitive, air-breathing fish called a gar.
 
Mobile Bay
Mobile Bay is an estuarine system that is an example of a drowned river valley. It encompasses 413 square miles, is approximately 31 miles long and has a maximum width of 24 miles at its southern end. Mobile Bay is a shallow estuary, averaging a depth of 10 feet and provides a transition between the fresh water wetlands of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta to the north and the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

Discharging 62,000 cubic feet of water per second, Mobile Bay is the fourth largest estuary in the United States. As an estuary, the major function of Mobile Bay is a nursery ground for many invertebrates and vertebrates. The aquaria in this gallery contain brackish water, a mixture of fresh and salt water, just like that found in Mobile Bay. The large Mobile Bay tank contains a replica of the legs of Middle Bay Lighthouse and a jetty.
 
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Manmade structures such as these provide a valuable habitat for many plants and animals. Other tanks depict habitats such as oyster reefs and salt marshes. Some exciting animals that your students may observe include: stone crabs, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, oysters, spadefish, flounder...
 
The Barrier Islands
Dauphin Island is a 17-mile long, 3/4-mile wide barrier island that is parallel to the coastline. Once formed, barrier islands are not static; they are dynamic systems with many variables influencing them. Size, shape and location are constantly changing due to waves and currents. The major function of a barrier island is to protect the mainland from the wind and wave energy associated with storms. Barrier Island habitats include sandy beaches, dune systems and maritime forests. Aquaria in this gallery include saltwater tanks and terrestrial aquaria. Saltwater tanks include animals such as: shrimp, blue crabs and hermit crabs.

 
Billy Goat Hole
Inside the Estuarium you will find a room of exciting, interactive activities! As you step into The Billy Goat Hole Gallery, you will find a replica of an old French sailing vessel called the Discovery Ship, full of interesting treasures for your students to explore. There are many interactive, interdisciplinary, hands-on activities for students to enjoy.

 
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body of water in North America with approximately 3,000 miles of shoreline and encompassing a total area of 600,000 square miles. The Gulf of Mexico averages 5,000 feet deep, with it's deepest point being Sigsbee Deep at 12,425 feet. Two-thirds of the fresh water from the United States, part of Canada via the Mississippi River, half of Mexico and a portion of
Guatemala drains into the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico contains half the nation's wetlands and provides critical habitats for 75% of the nations migratory waterfowl. Sea turtles, whales and countless other vertebrates and invertebrates also inhabit the Gulf's waters.

The Gulf of Mexico yields a majority of the oil and natural gas produced in the United States and supports a multi-billion dollar seafood industry.
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Aquaria in the Gulf of Mexico Gallery include saltwater tanks that depict both soft (sand) and hard (rock) bottom, artificial reef and sargassum communities. These aquaria contain invertebrates and vertebrates including: an octopus, barnacles, lobsters, eels, seahorses, red snapper, sharks, jellyfish and schooling fish such as spadefish.
Touch Tanks
Get hands-on experience with aquatic animals at one of our touch tanks. Specimens will be available for students to explore and touch.
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Weather Station 
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is an active weather station providing local information to the National Weather Service of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Mobile. Located in the Estuarium is a 27-inch monitor connected to weather recording equipment and to instruments nine feet under water in Government Cut. The instruments continuously record water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen at this depth. Air temperature, wind speed and direction are also recorded.

 
 
 
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