Sea Center Texas
Scenes from the video:
Connie Stolte, TPWD staff, shows us video of biologists at work at Sea Center at work at Sea Center Texas. What are they doing? Bryan Adams, USFWS, answers questions from students.
The Sea Center Texas Visitor Center houses graphic displays, aquaria and educational displays of the marine life of Texas bays and Gulf Waters. Here, visitors learn about stewardship of the environment and its occupants with help from some of the hundreds of volunteers who guide tours and assist visitors throughout the center.
An awesome entrance greets guests in the lobby of the Visitor center. A collection of fiberglass replicas of state record saltwater fishes including a blue marlin, shark, dolphin, and tarpon hover overhead in the lobby.
The focus of Sea Center is the marine life of Texas bays and Gulf waters. Aquatic habitats from coastal marshes, bays, estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico are depicted in a unique series of habitats and aquaria.
The centerpiece of the educational exhibits, a 50,000-gallon aquarium, allows visitors to view large Gulf of Mexico marine animals. Within Gulf of Mexico waters live many species that can be viewed in Sea Center Gulf tank, including several varieties of shark, large red drum, gray snapper, a large school or jack crevalle and a large Queensland grouper named Gordon.
At nearly 300 pounds, Gordon clearly dominates all, even the very large nurse sharks in the tank. He flaps his fins slowly and from his position at the front of the tank stares back at amazed onlookers. Clearly this fish has a personality!
A 20-foot Touch Pool allows visitors to handle marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, clams, snails and even anemones. Volunteers are available to assist visitors and answer questions.
The 1,000-gallon aquarium with a window more than 14 feet long opens onto a section of coastal salt marsh. Natural debris covers the floor which is dotted with oyster and clam shells. Visitors observe croaker, pompano, mojarra, whiting, killifish and other organisms in their natural habitat.
The hatchery building, in contrast to the Visitor Center, is a utilitarian facility, engineered for low maintenance, semi-intensive fish production. The high-tech life support systems are tailored for species such as red drum and spotted seatrout. Adult fish called broodfish are maintained in the hatchery building. From March through November, the broodfish are induced to spawn by manipulating water temperature and lights. The eggs produced by the redfish and speckled trout are incubated. three-day-old larval fish are transferred into ponds outside where they will grow out to a stocking length.
A 5,000-gallon jetty exhibit nearly fills the back wall of the center. Granite blocks and boulders re-create a man-made jetty as the aquarium's background. Barnacles, periwinkle, and other shelled animals encrust wooden pilings and moray eels inhabit rocks that spill across the bottom while finfish like sergeant majors, snook, tarpon,snapper and Bermuda chub hover among the pilings.
Angelfish, grunts, filefish, cowfish, squirrelfish, lookdowns and pompano swim in the 5,000-gallon artificial reef exhibit. Here visitors experience tripletail, jacks, snapper, scamp, and pompano swimming in the colorful habitats created by artificial reefs.
On the grounds beside the Visitor Center are over 5 acres of coastal marshes - with both salt and freshwater ecosystems. Visitors can access the area on an elevated boardwalk.
Sea Center Texas has one of the most versatile and active groups of supporters in the TPW system. At any one time, about 150 volunteer donate their time to act as Sea Center ambassadors, guiding tours, greeting visitors, and providing "expert" knowledge at off-site events.