Here’s a bit about the Eco-Discovery Center, from floridakeys.noaa.gov:
“Enter the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center and take a journey into the world of the native plants and animals of the Keys, both on land and underwater. Leave with an increased awareness and appreciation of the need to protect and conserve the ecosystem of South Florida.
The Center features over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits including a mock-up of Aquarius, the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory.
Colorful marine artwork depicting the deep sea, coral reef, and mangrove shoreline decorates the outside wall of the Center, guiding you toward the main entrance.
Once inside, you can explore exhibits interpreting the ecology of Keys’ habitats, from the upland pinelands through the hardwood hammock and beach dune. From there, you’ll travel down to the mangrove shoreline, where you can enter the sea to learn about the seagrass flats, hardbottom, coral reef, and deep-shelf communities. Stop in to the Center’s theater to catch “Reflections of the Florida Keys,” a short film on the diverse ecosystem of the Florida Keys by renowned filmmaker Bob Talbot.
Be sure to check out the Mote Marine Laboratory Living Reef exhibit, which includes a 2,500-gallon reef tank with living corals and tropical fish, a live Reef Cam, and other displays that highlight the coral reef environment.
A walk through the Aquarius exhibit offers glimpses of the beautiful marine life at the reef and shows how scientists live beneath the sea during research expeditions.
And before you head out, stop by the on-site gift shop featuring fun and unique items such as books, games, and videos. Net proceeds from the sale of products are returned to the Center to support educational programs.
The Center is sponsored and operated by Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA, the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, the National Wildlife Refuges of the Florida Keys, and Eastern National.
Admission to the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is free.”