1. Explore the grounds

The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor boasts extensive grounds for exploring native wildlife. Take a self-guided walk along the trail, located on the grounds, and explore the marsh area. Try and catch a glimpse of some monarch butterflies as they make their trip south for winter. Or, take a climb up the tower, rising 40 feet above the building and offering a beautiful view of the surrounding shoreline. The tower climb is included in admission. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

2. Browse a Seasonal Science exhibit

Learn cool facts about native plant life while touring the Seasonal Science exhibit, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The Institute is currently offering a Plant Migration exhibit to explore, accompanied by a fun self-guided craft.

3. Feed and touch the marine life

Get up close and personal with the creatures at the Institute during special sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. Help feed the marine life at 11 a.m. Saturdays during the Aquarium Feeding sessions. Kids and adults alike will be entertained as their favorite sea creatures scramble to catch their tasty meals. Then at 11 a.m. Sundays, guests will be treated to a Touch Tank event, where Wetland’s staff will share about the various sea life found at the Institute and allow visitors to handle them for themselves.

4. Watch a Creature Feature

During the Creature Feature event, staff will introduce visitors to all kinds of wildlife that call the shore home, such as terrapins, fish, crabs, sea stars and urchins, mollusks, horseshoe crabs, and more. Kids are encouraged to take part in a craft depicting that day’s creature. The presentation takes place at 2 p.m. Saturdays.

5. Learn about conservation issues

During the Science Feature and Activity at 2 p.m. Sundays, guests will explore various conservation and science topics, such as marine debris, sustainable seafood, horseshoe crab conservation, and more. Following the presentation, visitors can complete a hands-on activity on that day’s topic.

6. Volunteer for the Beach Sweep

Help clean up the remnants of summer trash and prevent damage to local wildlife during the Fall Beach Sweep, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. Volunteers can meet at the entrance to the 95th Street beach. Be sure to wear warm clothing and closed toe shoes. Trash bags and gloves will be provided.

Admission to the Wetlands Institute is $8 adults, $6 ages 3 to 12, and free ages 2 and younger. All activities are included in admission. Go to WetlandsInstitute.org.

I interned with a small magazine in Wildwood before starting at The Press in 2013. I currently handle our Hometown and At The Shore calendar of events submissions and enjoy interacting with the local community.