Saturday, February 19, 2011

Key West – Eco-Discovery Center

Had to draw an imaginary aminal with adaptations you think of
There is a very interesting exhibit that’s barely mentioned in all the literature for Key West, probably because it is not commercial but is funded by the state. There is no charge for parking and no charge for admission, our kind of place. Museum type displays cover the Florida Keys with reef aquariums, dioramas of mangroves, interactive displays, movies of reef life and much more.

Mangrove exhibit

We happened to attend the Eco-Discovery Center on the third Saturday of the month which is the only day they have a class for kids about the reefs and how animals interact. Our three kids were engrossed in the projects they worked on as part of the exercises. In one they had to match the feeding adaptation (narrow bill, broad bill, spoon bill, etc.) to the type of food to be eaten by the wading bird by matching various sizes of bowls of Cherrios with pickup implements (spoon, straw, scissors, claspers – representing the types of bird beaks). In the last one they had to run around the room collecting “food” while the elements (storms, predators, etc.) represented by the teacher and volunteers from our group tried to take the food away. It was a lot of very rapid motion – kids at full speed! It illustrated some of the problems the marina life had in finding and keeping food to eat.

Reef aquarium

They had a simulated submarine with interactive displays inside and just a lot of information aimed at kids and also of interest to adults. It’s a shame that it’s not promoted more in the literature. It’s a must attend for the area.