The South Florida Science Center recently debuted the newest addition to its 10,000-gallon aquarium, “Mangroves and the History of Our Ecosystem.” Thanks to a gift from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, the exhibit combines science and history to educate visitors about South Florida’s unique environmental habitats and how they directly impact the area’s quality of life.
The new exhibit showcases Florida’s estuaries and rich history while demonstrating the importance of Florida mangrove’s fragile and rare habitat. A custom tank shows the mangrove tree’s ability to adapt to both salt and fresh water environments and houses live animals including crabs and several species of fish. Through an interactive display with graphics, puzzles and games, a kiosk highlights the historical significance of mangroves throughout South Florida and the importance of the tree’s habitat to ecological sustainability.
“This exhibit is crucial to our mission to ‘open every mind to science’ and preserve Florida’s rich history,” said Kate Arrizza, CEO of the Science Center. “We are grateful to the Community Foundation for a grant from their Thomas Ladue McGinty Memorial Environmental Fund to make this incredible exhibit possible. We appreciate their generosity and hope to inspire all ages to learn about and preserve these treasures of our ecosystem.”
Mangroves have had a significant impact on development in Florida by protecting shorelines, serving as a buffer against storms, waves and floods and preventing erosion through a complex root system which stabilizes sediments in the soil. Mangroves host a wide variety of animals from mammals to birds, reptiles and amphibians. Many of the animals living amongst the plants get nutrients from leaves and roots.
“We are honored to fund this incredible educational project and be a partner with the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium,” said Daryl K. Houston, Community Investment Officer with the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “The ‘Mangroves and the History of our Ecosystem’ exhibit provides an opportunity for the Science Center’s visitors to learn about the crucial role mangroves serve in protecting our shoreline and the habitat they provide for many different species.”
The Science Center’s 1000-square-foot Aquariums of the Atlantic area is the largest and most comprehensive fresh and saltwater aquarium between Miami and Orlando, taking visitors through the depths of the coral reefs and Florida’s diverse ecosystem of the Everglades, Gulf Stream and open ocean through daily touch tank interactions and educational components. More than 150,000 guests visit here every year.
The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science” and in addition to its fresh and saltwater aquarium, the indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” an interactive Everglades exhibit and the 18-hole Conservation Course – an outdoor putting course with science-focused education stations.
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium during “Travel Adventure” is $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3 to 12 and $14.95 for seniors aged 60 and older. Science Center members and children under 3 are free. Planetarium shows and mini golf are not included in general admission pricing. For more information, call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org. Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.