A couple of weeks ago, my family and I had the chance to visit the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. It was such a wonderful little field trip for our family! We learned so much, and the kids absolutely loved having the opportunity to touch sharks and stingrays. (I just held my breath, y’all.)
To visit, you can make a reservation online. There are two tour times each day. The tour lasted about two hours. We went in the afternoon. If we have the chance to go again, I’ll try to get a morning tour because we went at naptime and I find that kids pay better attention in the morning. Still, we had a blast.
You begin the tour with a presentation about IMMS, and one of the animal trainers introduced us to a beautiful bird, who performed many behaviors for the crowd. It was so entertaining…and educational!
From there, we visited the museum. It was full of interesting information and fun facts. Not to mention the interactive parts of the exhibit.
The yellow submarine has touch screens that include games. The kids loved it!
Dinosaur boy loved looking at the fossils, and at the very end of the tour, we were able to dig for shark teeth!
Finally, we visited the Touch Tank room. This was the highlight of the trip for our kids…even more so than the dolphin presentation outside at the end of the tour.
After the touch tank, we enjoyed another presentation about the sea turtle project, and we met an albino python, which my daughter was brave enough to touch. Then, we watched the dolphins perform! (I took photos of the these things in between trying to keep my son from going swimming with the dolphins, but they were on my husband’s phone so now I can’t find them!)
Overall, this was a wonderful way to spend part of the day with my family. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And, the best part of the day? Learning that they are preparing to build an aquarium on the Coast! So exciting!!!