Mote Marine Laboratory and City of Anna Maria working together for marine science education

Mote Marine Laboratory and City of Anna Maria working together for marine science education
Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy expects the new pier to cost between $3 million and $4 million, which will extend its life by about 75 to 100 years.

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is partnering with the City of Anna Maria to build a new marine science education and public outreach center at the Anna Maria Pier.

It has been unanimously approved by the city’s commission and signed by Mayor Dan Murphy and Mote President and CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby.

“Our community is thrilled with this new partnership with mote, and all the opportunities this allows to showcase our City Pier. Both visitors and residents alike will enjoy this Center that will help enhance the environment, economy, and quality of life in the City of Anna Maria.”
City of Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy

This project allows construction on the 1,800 square foot space located at the Pier. It should take about six months to build.

The plan includes several animal exhibits and interactive exhibits:

Live Animal Exhibits

  • Sportfish: This exhibit will showcase animals that fishermen might encounter, such as grunts, sheepshead, and snappers
  • Grassflats: This exhibit will showcase animals that inhabit grassflats, such as filefish, burrfish, trunkfish, and toadfish
  • Schooling fish: This exhibit will showcase schooling fish that are normally called baitfish, such as silversides and sardines
  • Invertebrate Touch Exhibit: This exhibit will let guests feel things like live sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea stars, slipper lobsters, and horseshoe crabs

Interpretive Displays

  • Sportfish identification: A digital interactive that lets guests explore a vast array of sportfish that live in Florida, many of which guests can find when fishing at the pier
  • Sounds of the sea: A digital interactive that gives guests the chance to explore the sounds that fish make when under the ocean. Mote scientists have been studying these noises for years and will be able to share this with pier guests
  • Tabletop educational items that will include a variety of science tools, like microscopes, scales, measuring tools, anatomy models, biofacts, and interactive games/activities
  • Interpretive graphics that will show the local area and what can be seen from the pier -- above and below the ocean

The Mote’s education team will also provide regular programming for the public that will help them understand the area’s native flora and fauna. They will also teach conservation-minded fishing practices.

“The two core pillars of what we do at Mote are research and enhancing ocean literacy by sharing our research with the public, especially the next generation. Mote has always engaged our community through informal science education in our aquarium and in the classroom. Likewise, the community of Anna Maria has a great connection to the marine environment, especially apparent in the 100-plus-year history of the City Pier. The City Commission and the mayor have been wonderful to work with as we came up with this proposal, and we’re grateful that they recognize this mutually beneficial partnership.”
Mote President & CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby
“Mote’s experience in informal education and interpretative exhibits is longstanding since the main aquarium opened on City Island in 1980. Additionally, Mote operates two satellite education and outreach centers in the Florida Keys: At the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco-Discovery Center in Key West and at the Florida Keys History Discover Center in Islamorada. This new location will be a great educational and entertaining experience for Anna Maria and Manatee County residents and visitors.”
Mote Associate Vice President for the Aquarium Evan Barniskis

The goal? To show the importance of the marine ecosystem here on the Suncoast.

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