For twenty-three years, the Biomes Center, New England’s only private marine education facility and the largest aquarium in Rhode Island, has been providing marine biology programs for schools and families. The Biomes Marine Biology Center specializes in teaching children and adults about the marine animals of Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
This fall, the center made a giant leap in expanding its business. After operating on a 2000 sq/ft location over the years, the center is now moving to a 12,000 sq/ft facility, with greater opportunities to greatly expand their exhibits.
“My vision for the expanded facility remains the same: Educating students and families about the marine animals of Narragansett Bay, and encouraging conservation by creating interactive experiences between visitors and the animals,” says owner Mark Hall. “The biggest change, besides the size, is that we’ll be open to the public Sunday – Friday afternoons from noon to five. We’ll still be doing school field trips in the mornings and birthday parties on Saturdays. The task is daunting, and one of the most challenging types of live animal lessons is creating commercial fisheries exhibits.”
The Biomes Center functions to promote environmental conservation awareness through education. The Center is of the conviction that the oceans can only be preserved if the public has a personal relationship with its inhabitants. “We provide that at Biomes by being the most hands-on aquarium in New England, and one of the most hands-on facilities in the country,” says Hall.
The commercial fishing process of the aquarium is expected to be seen by an estimated 25,000 visitors each year. The Center also has in display, an aquaculture of oysters using a miniature version of a real oyster farm, a tank with a functioning lobster pot showing lobsters entering the trap seeking bait. Exhibits also show rare color morphs of lobsters, and the power of open sport fish will be observed by students from only inches away.
The Biomes Center collaborates with the University of Rhode Island’s archeology department on the exhibit featuring a scale model of an actual Rhode Island shipwreck and how these wrecks form artificial reefs, providing habitats for a huge variety of species, and resource opportunities for both recreational and commercial fishermen.