COVID-19 Update

UPDATE 3/27/2020

Dear Friends of Florida Oceanographic:

I hope that this message finds you healthy and safe at this difficult time. As supporters of our organization and the environment, I wanted to share with you how we have adjusted our mission to face this new reality. Protecting the well-being of our staff, volunteers and visitors to the Coastal Center, in conjunction with Federal, State and Local guidance, resulted in us closing the Coastal Center on March 17th. Since that date, we have also suspended or postponed all events and have transitioned staff to working remotely where possible.

I am happy to share, however, that although we are working differently, the work still continues! There is no social distance required from the animals at the Coastal Center, or the oysters and mangroves in our waterways. Our team is busy behind the scenes working on the following:

  • Caring for and feeding over 240 animals a day
  • Providing ongoing training and enrichment for our 10 nurse sharks, 22 stingrays and 4 non-releasable sea turtles
  • Continuing microplastics research in the Indian River Lagoon
  • Maintaining our conservation and restoration programs, FLOOR & FOSTER, while conducting site visits to collect and analyze data
  • Developing content to educate and inspire students online
  • Advocating for our waterways on conference calls and in remote meetings
  • Working with other environmental organizations to strategize and plan policy adjustments and initiatives
  • Completing maintenance repairs at the Coastal Center

We are also excited to see that progress continues on our new Ocean EcoCenter. The construction teams are working hard and have reached the third floor!

As someone who understands and appreciates our local environment, I encourage you to spend time outdoors and be inspired by the nature that surrounds you. This is the environment that we are all working to protect and preserve. All of us are navigating these unprecedented times and the financial challenges we face but we look forward to the day that the Coastal Center reopens and we can welcome visitors again. 

Please stay safe and I look forward to seeing you again soon.


Warm Regards,
Mark Perry
Executive Director
Florida Oceanographic Society 

UPDATE 3/17/2020

A Message from Mark Perry, Executive Director

To our members, supporters, visitors and donors:

In order to do our part to keep our visitors, staff and volunteers safe, we have made the difficult decision to close the Coastal Center to the public. This decision is effective today, March 17th until further notice. We made this decision based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Florida Department of Health and Martin County. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates if anything changes.

We wish that we were able to remain open to the public so that visitors could be inspired by the natural world around them and learn about the ecosystems and animals that call this special place home. We look forward to being able to re-open when the time is right. In the interim, we hope that you will stay engaged, as we will be, in protecting and preserving our waterways. To continue to support our mission and our fight for clean water, we encourage you to:

  • Sign up or renew your membership
  • Check our website and social media for educational program posts and animal updates
  • Adopt an Animal
  • Make a donation in support of our waterways

On behalf of the Board of Directors and our staff, I would like to thank you for your patience and continued support during this difficult time. I am humbled by the generosity, kindness and passion of those that are working with us to save our waters.

Update 3/16/2020

Florida Oceanographic Society strives to make the health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers and animals our top priority. Since being out in nature is something we all enjoy, the Coastal Center outdoor exhibits and nature trails remain open at this time. Daily programs and operations will run as scheduled with the following modifications:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing of public areas will be increased and occur throughout the day.
  • To allow a more thorough cleaning opportunity, the Coastal Center will close daily at 4pm.
  • Our indoor aquarium hall will be closed, but guests will be able to enjoy all daily programming in our open-air pavilions and explore the outdoor exhibits and nature trails.
  • The daily educational programs and feedings will be limited to 50 guests each program at this time.
  • The amount of guests interacting at our stingray tank and invertebrate touch tank at one time will be limited.
  • Events with large numbers of attendees at the Coastal Center will be postponed. Updates will be sent to those who have already registered.

We encourage guests to practice social distancing and personal hygiene while attending our programs and exploring our exhibits. Please wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face or any unnecessary surfaces and cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or your arm.

To help us take care of our guests, staff, and animals, Florida Oceanographic kindly asks guests to refrain from visiting the Coastal Center if you are not feeling well, have flu-like symptoms, have been recommended for self-quarantine or self-monitoring or have recently traveled outside of the U.S.

Florida Oceanographic will continue to monitor the situation and make changes to our operations as needed. Further updates, including any facility closures, will be posted on this page and on our Facebook page.

We appreciate all the community support and thank our guests and members for their flexibility during these unique circumstances.