Visiting the Coastal Center
The Florida Oceanographic Society Coastal Center features hands-on learning for children and adults through educational programs and exhibits. Visitors can interact with animals at the Stingray Tank and Invertebrate Touch Tank, explore nature trails through a mangrove forest, and learn about our resident sea turtles, and local species of sharks and game fish that live in our 750,000-gallon Gamefish Lagoon. Guests can also explore the Ocean EcoCenter, a 5,000 square foot space that features 2,000 gallons of aquariums showcasing local fish and invertebrates, and educational interactives and games that seek to educate and inspire environmental stewardship of Florida's coastal ecosystems.
Read below for what you need to plan your visit...
Hours of Operation
The Coastal Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 4pm.
Please note, we are an outdoor facility and inclement weather may affect hours of operation and program times.
Click HERE to check the weather for your visit!
New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
Please note, we are an outdoor facility and inclement weather may affect hours of operation and program times. Programs are available during operating hours.
We are open from 10:00am - 4:00pm.
10:30 am & 1:30 pm
Gamefish feeding Program
11:00 am & 2:00 pm
sea turtle Program
11:30 am & 2:30 pm
10am - 3pm
The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is located on Hutchinson Island. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, the 57-acre parcel houses the Society's headquarters, the Ocean EcoCenter, 10,000 gallon Rays on the Reef Stingray Interaction Aquarium, nature trails, 750,000-gallon Game Fish Lagoon, Sea Turtle Pavilion, Children's Activity Pavilion, Sea Star Touch Tank Pavilion, Rays on the Reef Ray Pavilion, and the Frances Langford Visitors Center. With its coastal hardwood hammocks and mangrove swamp communities, the site provides excellent opportunities for education and research aimed at increasing visitors' knowledge of Florida's coastal environments.
Service Animals are always welcome at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. Service Animals are highly trained working animals that assist a disabled individual with a specific task or tasks. Service Animals must remain on a leash at all times unless this prevents them from performing their task. For the health and safety of our guests and the animals that live at the Coastal Center, Emotional Support Animals, Comfort Animals, Companion Animals, Therapy Animals, and other pets are not allowed on Coastal Center property.
The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center strives to be a welcoming place for everyone! We wanted to provide the following information to help ensure that neurodiverse visitors and their families have a wonderful experience at our nature center.
- Microphones are used by staff members during all educational programs and presentations, as well as continuously at the stingray touch tank. A full programming schedule is available above, under “Program Times.” You can still have a wonderful visit to the Coastal Center without attending these programs. Additionally, you are welcome to leave a presentation at any time. Presentation areas can become crowded when programs are being held.
- In addition to microphone noise, crowd noise from other guests can get loud at times, especially in indoor spaces like the Ocean EcoCenter and the gift shop. Additionally, there is an audio-visual exhibit in the Ocean EcoCenter that emits animal noises and plays short, narrated video clips. The video clips are triggered by guests, so noises may start suddenly and unexpectedly. There are no flashing or blinking lights in the Ocean EcoCenter, but some of the ceiling-mounted light fixtures create moving light patterns on the floor and walls, mimicking sunlight filtering through a tree canopy or sunlight bouncing off the bottom of the ocean.
- We do not have a dedicated quiet space, but outdoor areas like the butterfly garden and nature trail tend to be quiet places to get away from noise and crowds. The classroom in the Ocean EcoCenter can also be a calmer place to sit down, but the noise level in this area will vary depending on guest utilization.
- There are many hands-on opportunities at the Coastal Center, including interactive exhibits in the Ocean EcoCenter, as well as the stingray and invertebrate touch tanks. During animal interactions at the stingray and invertebrate touch tanks, the safety of our guests and the health and wellbeing of our Conservation Ambassador animals are top priorities. All participants in these activities must be able to follow instructions that are provided to ensure a safe experience for guests and Conservation Ambassadors alike.
We hope you have an enjoyable time visiting the Coastal Center. If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.