ST. PETERSBURG, FL - In conjunction with a renovated Port Saint Petersburg, the Marine Exploration Center is set to open by the end of this year. As the public face of the St. Pete Ocean Team, the Center will bring awareness to the wonders of the ocean (carrying on the tradition of the Pier Aquarium) and also to ports, the maritime industry and all the marine related research occurring in a cluster of high-level institutions in the downtown Saint Petersburg area. An estimated 1600 people are working in a field related to marine research and technology in St. Pete. In addition to the College of Marine Science, there is the U.S. Coast Guard, FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Institute of Oceanography, USGS Coastal and Marine Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, SRI International and more.
The Marine Discovery Center will gather scientists for community discussions by hosting Drink-and-Think events that will also include food trucks. Visitors will have opportunities to tour maritime and oceanographic vessels. Permanent attractions will include the following: Live Coral and Fish Tank, Oceans Today Kiosk (NOAA funded), Corals on Acid (2 tanks; NOAA funded), Counting on Fish/Florida Sportfish Aquarium and Interactive Exhibit (FWC funded), Science on a Sphere (NOAA funded), NOAA Kiosk (NOAA funded), Energizing Research (Duke Energy funded), Coral Cat Shark Tank, Microscope Station, Touch Tank, and Ocean Tracker Exhibit. Finally, a large space dedicated to revolving exhibits will also host movie screenings and other events.