| The Living
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.
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 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.
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.
|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,
| 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
| 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
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.
| 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.
|For questions or comments about this page, please contact the webmaster
Last Date Updated: