The Estuarium at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Mobile Bay Estuary & Aquarium
Take a side trip over to Dauphin Island to this interactive museum of aquatic animal and plant life of the Mobile Bay and Gulf Coast area. This aquarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab has an admission fee and group rates are available :
Summer hours:(Mar1-Aug 31)
Mon-Sat 9 to 6 pm
Sun 12 to 6 pm
Winter hours (Sept 1-Feb 28)
Mon-Sat 9 to 5 pm
Sun 1 to 5 pm
The outdoor boardwalk has information highlighting the bird life and dune plants that can be seen along the shoreline.
There is usually plenty of ship and boat action to watch from the Estuary boardwalk.
Inside the Museum you can see fascinating marine life like this stingray and a glow in the dark jellyfish.
The Aquarium/ Museum has plenty of interesting information on Gulf Coast hurricanes and the effect on the environment of various natural and man made forces.
The Estuarium is a 5 minute walk from the
Dauphin Island Ferry Landing.
There is a snack bar open weekdays 11 am to 2 pm during summer hours located next to the Estuarium front door.
More info call 251/861-7500
The Estuarium is handicap accessible.
How to Get There:
From Mobile, take I-10 to the Dauphin Island/Tillman's Corner Exit (exit 17-A). Travel south down Rangeline Road/193 to Dauphin Island. Take a left at the water tower on to Bienville Boulevard. Drive 2.2 miles and you will see the Estuarium on the left. Free parking.
From Gulf Shores, take Ft. Morgan Rd. to the Ferry, and the Estuary is a 5 minute walk from the ferry landing on Dauphin Island.
The Estuarium is the public aquarium of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab which is Alabama's marine education and research center. In this interactive exhibit, visitors explore the four ecosystems of coastal Alabama.
The Barrier Islands
The Gulf of Mexico
Features at the Estuarium include the 10,000 sq ft exhibit hall, the Living Marsh Boardwalk, the Miss MayMay, the Weather Station, the Gift Shop/Bookstore and whatever interesting watercraft is passing by at the time.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is one the most important bottomland hardwood habitats in our country. The enormous fresh water marshes & forests of this delta are responsible for many of the Bay ecosystems and protect the urban areas from terrible flooding. The Estuary has a Delta tank exhibit with turtles basking on logs, and ancient gar fish amongst the cypress roots. Another exhibit has a carnivorous bog tank, a baby alligator habitat, and other waterlife highlighting the diverse animal and plant life of the Delta.
Mobile Bay is a major biological nursery area of the northern Gulf of Mexico. During some part of their lifecycle, up to 95% of the commercial seafood of the Gulf of Mexico depend on the estuaries for food and protection. This included shrimp, oysters, crabs, and mullet. The Sea Lab Bay exhibit features a 9,000 gallon tank with rock jetties, oyster reefs, and replicas of the legs of Middle Bay Lighthouse, a historic landmark in Mobile Bay since 1887. There are numerous other tanks representing salt marshes, tidal pools, and submerged grass beds found in Mobile Bay.
Barrier Islands are an important part of the coastal system providing natural protection from hurricanes and providing fun recreational areas. This exhibit starts with the walk from the Estuarium parking lot into the exhibit building. Signs along the boardwalk illustrate ecological wonders of Dauphin Island, one of Alabama's coastal barrier islands. The displays in the building feature the salt marsh, maritime forest, and the surf zone.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a very important resource to our nation. The Gulf of Mexico produces most of our countries natural gas and domestic oil. The Mobile Bay gas reserves and second only to the north slope of Alaska in volume and value. The Gulf produces almost half of all seafood in the nation and it's ports are among the largest in the USA. The Gulf exhibit features the largest tank--16,000 gallon Gulf tank shows the 'hardbottom' community discovered off the coast of Alabama in the 1980's. Sharks, rays, snapper, grouper, jacks, glide through this tank just as they do in the waters of the Gulf. Smaller aquariums feature octopus, lobsters, jellyfish and unusual fish of the Gulf of Mexico.
Read about Alabama Crabs !