Forever Explorers

Forever Explorers is a new hands-on, feet-wet experience designed for young-at-heart, lifelong learners who want to explore their coastal environment.

Whether you’re new to the area or have called Florida home for many years, you likely know the importance of the natural world to our coastal community…but perhaps you want to learn more! Let Marine Discovery Center’s certified naturalists engage you in a fun and unique educational exploration of the Indian River Lagoon and the flora and fauna that thrive here.

Participants will explore the roles of salt marshes, mudflats and various saltwater plants and animals by visiting different spoil islands on MDC’s pontoon boat, Discovery. Not only will you have the chance to see beloved animals like dolphins and manatees, but you will get off the boat and explore marshes and sandbars and use seine nets to identify different species that call this estuary home.

Monday, Sept 25 | 4:30 – 7 pm
Friday, Oct 27 | 10 am – 12:30 pm
Wednesday, Nov 29 | 10 am – 12:30 pm
Thursday, Dec 14 | 10 am – 12:30 pm

Cost is $54 for MDC Members and $60 for non-members.  This program is for participants ages 18+. A light meal while on board will be provided

 book now

family making oyster windchimes

The destination for each date is dependent on weather conditions, but it will include one of the following locations:

Firecracker Island | This large spoil island located in Edgewater on the Indian River Lagoon offers a wide mudflat on its northern tip that is perfect for finding various invertebrates, marine worms, conchs, crabs and oysters. Upland plants may be explored on the island’s higher elevations.

South Causeway Sandbar Island | Located under the northeastern side of the South Causeway Bridge, this smaller island started as a sandbar that became covered in Florida smooth cord grass (Spartina alterniflora) before a natural succession of mangrove trees became the predominant plant species. Shoreline offers a variety of species including crabs and conchs.

J-Hook Island | The northern tip of this spoil island provides a giant sand bar and mud flat at low tide, allowing for discovery of estuarine tidal-pool residents, marine worms, crabs and various invertebrates. The island’s western shoreline offers a slight drop-off that’s perfect for seine netting.

Disappearing Island | This spoil island offers a large sweeping shoreline on the western side of Ponce Inlet that hosts migratory shorebirds and provides a prime spot for seine netting and salt-marsh exploration. Marsh plants host periwinkle snails while the marsh waters provide a home to conchs, oysters and horseshoe crabs.


*Note to trip participants: Don’t forget to wear closed-toe water shoes and bring insect repellent, sunscreen, water and snacks, hat, sunglasses, camera/phone, binoculars, hand wipes, etc. The Discovery boat does have an emergency marine head (toilet) onboard.

If you have any questions about this program,
please contact Carley Metcalf at [email protected] or 386.428.4828. 

Our Mission:

"To protect and restore Florida's coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."