Year-round programs for island visitors, scouts, and school groups on the beach, in the marsh, on the water, in the classroom, and the Coastal Gallery. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center’s mission is to shape responsible stewardship of Coastal Georgia’s natural resources through marine science-based education, conservation, and research.
Marine education programs on Tybee Island began in 1987 with beach walks and seining. These classes were offered as an outreach program by the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. After tremendous response, the outreach program merited a location of its own. In May 1988 only a year later the Tybee Island Marine Science Center opened its doors. The initial sponsors of the Center were the City of Tybee Island and the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. These two groups were joined in 1990 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. The formation of the Tybee Island Marine Science Foundation in 1990 established another major sponsor. Currently, the Center is co-sponsored by the Tybee Island Marine Science Foundation the City of Tybee Island and NOAA Gray s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. The Foundation is the primary sponsor and provides fundraising support and a Board of Directors. Volunteers and interns continue to be an integral part of the operation of the Center. Their assistance contributes greatly to the success of the facility.
Walks, Talks & Treks
Walks, Talks & Treks are one-hour long, appropriate for all ages, and cost $15 per person
To reserve space, please call us at 912-786-5917 or stop by the center. We’re open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. We recommend calling to check availability, as tides and weather can impact programming.
Due to limited group size, we ask for payment at the time of registration. Refunds are only provided if we cancel the program due to inclement weather.
Larger group, school, and scout badge programs are available year-round and are booked by request. Please call us at 912-786-5917 for more information or to book any type of program.
Join a marine science educator on a guided walk on Tybee’s south or north beach. Learn about the dynamics of the barrier islands of Georgia, the importance of the intertidal zone, the forces behind tides and waves, and sand dune formation.
Identify the wildlife that live in and around the ocean and discuss the impact of marine debris and shoreline development.
North beach walks meet at the science center.
Coastal Georgia Gallery:
Designed and built by staff, our little gallery overflows with information and exhibits on the flora, fauna, and habitats indigenous to the Georgia coast. Live creatures include; baby alligators, polka-dot batfish, spider crabs, puffers, flounders, clownfish, diamondback terrapins, corn snake, horseshoe crabs, and sea jellies. You’ll meet Ike, our loggerhead sea turtle, and official marine debris (trash in the sea) ambassador. Scheduled throughout the day are Animal Feedings and Cart Explorations, mobile mini-programs on Bones, Living Fossils, Whales, Sharks, Sea Turtles, Sea Jellies. We also have a Creature Cam so you can see tiny live Invertebrates up-close. Stick your fingers in our Touch Tank of live marine invertebrates–hermit crabs, snails, sand dollars, and spider crabs, and sea pansies.
Trek through Georgia’s salt marsh to explore in the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Examine salty grasses, observe soaring marsh birds, and hold periwinkle snails. Learn about adaptations necessary for survival in this environment, how the marsh functions as a nursery for many organisms, a filter for pollutants, and an abundant food source. Closed-toe/closed heel shoes are required. Marsh Treks meet off-site, at the Spanish Hammock. Directions are provided at sign-up.
Sift & Seine:
Discover the marine life of the inter-tidal zone through seining. Pull a ten-foot seine net through the waist-deep water to catch, examine, and release marine life. Commonly caught organisms include pompano, silverside, mullet, sea jellies, and crabs. After seining, we’ll explore the marine life of the sandy bottom by sifting various organisms from the wet sand on the bea