The exhibits and displays are designed to help visitors really understand the many aspects of the ecology of Upper Newport Bay. A variety of interactive formats are used to appeal to a full spectrum of audiences including young children and their parents and grandparents that are here for a fun visit and college students researching for a school paper. Electronic touch screen, video clip, hands-on touch and feel, and poster board components accommodate different learning styles and add to the richness of the learning experience. Kudos have been received from many environmental educators.
Enjoy the stunning plein air mural as you enter the building and move on to the What is an Estuary? exhibit where you can use the touch screens to learn about how an estuary functions and observe some of the Bay’s most important fishes in the aquarium. Move on to the Food Web exhibit and find out what the birds at the Bay eat.
Habitat Is Where It’s At! prompts a study of the four basics for survival (food, water, shelter and space) through a hands-on exploration of the Bay’s habitats. Origin of the Estuary provides a chronological overview of the Bay from its early beginnings as a habitat untouched by man through life as we know it today. The Uplands to Tidelands exhibit is in design. For now enjoy the Explore the Uplands exhibit.
It’s a dirty fact, but true, mud is at the bottom of everything in the Bay! The unique construction of the Tunnel of Mud exhibit gives visitors the worm’s-eye-view of life in the mud and life in the water. It begins with a crawl into a darkened tunnel that looks, feels and smells like the home of the Bay’s infamous innkeeper worm. Observe not only the worms, clams and ghost shrimp of this muddy habitat, but the creatures that feed on it as well. “Mud facts” will enlighten visitors on this vital link in the Bay’s life cycle.
Take a walk on the wild side on a unique boardwalk through a recreated wetland exhibit. A mix of metaphors will help visitors associate common, everyday objects with the unique functions of the wetlands in this the Working Wetlands exhibit.
A 2011 addition is the Magic Planet® digital video globe – a digital display with a sphere-shaped screen. Dynamic global information on bird migration is presented in the most compelling and interactive way possible.
Admire the birds of Upper Newport Bay in the spectacular Atrium of Flight exhibit. Find out what happens to our wildlife if food, water and shelter disappear through an interactive puzzle at the Vanishing Habitats exhibit. Learn how the Bay was saved from development at the Saving the Estuary – You Can Make a Difference exhibit.