Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
NOAA opened the doors to the brand-new, 6,400-square-foot Dr. Nancy Foster Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center on Jan. 13, 2007 treating visitors to an exciting array of interactive exhibits highlighting the rich natural environment of the Keys. Opening day saw nearly 300 people pass through the center, which offers free admission and a fun, educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Located on the Truman Annex waterfront in Key West, the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center features numerous exhibits that interpret the resources and management efforts of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, two national parks, and four national wildlife refuges. Highlights include a simulation of the Aquarius underwater research habitat, complete with sights and sounds experienced by the “aquanauts”, and a high-definition theater screening a 17-minute video about Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary by world-renowned filmmaker Bob Talbot.
Visitors can also peer through an underwater camera to watch the spectacle of coral spawning, learn about the armaments that once defended remote Fort Jefferson, or take a journey through the natural habitats of south Florida, from the Everglades to teeming coral reefs.
In cooperation with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Sanctuary Friends Foundation will be assisting in the promotion of Eco-Discovery Center and providing resources to manage events at the Eco-Discovery Center for the benefit of the public.
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
Take a journey into the world of the native plants and animals of the Keys, both on land and underwater.
The Center features over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits including a mock-up of Aquarius, the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory.
Colorful marine artwork depicting the deep sea, coral reef and mangrove shoreline decorates the outside wall of the Center and guides the visitor toward the main entrance. Once inside, exhibits interpret the ecology of Keys’ habitats-from the upland pinelands through the hardwood hammock and beach dune, down to the mangrove shoreline, where the visitor enters the sea to learn about the seagrass flats, hardbottom, coral reef and deep shelf communities.
A walk through the Aquarius exhibit offers glimpses of the beautiful marine life at the reef and shows how scientists live beneath the seas during research expeditions.
“We expect visitors to come away with a better understanding of the Florida Keys ecosystem and the challenges we face in protecting this environment for future generations,” commented CDR Dave Score, Superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
An on-site gift shop features fun and unique items such as books, games, and DVDs/videos. Net proceeds from the sale of products are returned to the Center to support educational programs.
Operating Hours Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas) Admission is free! For more information: 305-809-4750 or FKEDC
School and Tour Groups are welcome but please call and coordinate your visit with our staff to ensure the best possible visit for your members.
Where to find us 35 East Quay Road, Key West, FL Located at the end of Southard Street in Truman Annex in Key West, across the street from Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Directions: Arriving from the north- Take U. S. 1 south, turn right on North Roosevelt Blvd., continue on Roosevelt and it will turn into Truman Avenue, take a right on Whitehead Street, take a left on Southard Street, go straight until you see the Complex on the right.