Discovery Day - April 8, 2017


                   Touch Tanks,                                   Hands-on Exhibits,


  Free/reduced Estuarium admission,                and much more!!

What is Discovery Day?

Discovery Day is the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's open house for the public. Once a year, the public is given a tour of our research facilities to learn about our coastal environment and the research our team is working on. Visitors will learn about the coastal ecosystem we live in and why it's important to conserve our precious and unique environment. The research vessel Alabama Discovery will also be available for tours.

Hours and Admission

Discovery Day is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission is free to all exhibits outside of the Estuarium. Adults will pay a reduced admission to the Estuarium. Children receive free admission to the Estuarium. 


Discovery Day focuses on giving a hands-on experience to learning about our coastal environment. Exhibits include and are not limited to touch tables, marine-themed games, and arts and crafts. Smokey the Bear, the Azalea Trail Maids and a number of community agencies will also take part.

Thank you to the groups listed below for their continued support:

Town of Dauphin Island
5 Rivers
The Nature Conservancy
Alabama Coastal Foundation
Compass Solar Energy
Weeks Bay National Estuarine
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Dog River Clear Water Revival
Mobile County EMA
Visit Mobile
South Alabama Tourism
National Weather Service
NOAA Fisheries
Sea Tow
Mobile County Sheriff's Office Flotilla

The Friends of the Sea Lab

As a Friend of the Sea Lab, not only will you receive the opportunity to visit the Estuarium, your membership has other substantial benefits. You will be supporting the Sea Lab in its mission to educate the public about the scientific wonders and fragile beauty of our native ecosystems: the Delta, the Bay, the Barrier Islands and the near-shore Gulf of Mexico.

For example: you, too, can land a "fish" on our Living Marsh Boardwalk! For $50, a plaque with your name, your family name, your school class, or a loved one will be permanently displayed on our beautiful wooden boardwalk. Call (251) 861-2141 ext 7545 for more information.

Fish Plaque Form

The Friends of the Sea Lab basic level memberships only cost:

$50 for individual, $30 for students and $100 for families, for this you will receive:

  • Free Estuarium admission for one full year
  • 15% discount in the Gift Shop
  • Subscription to Skimmer, the electronic newsletter of the Estuarium and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab
  • Membership card and decal
  • Invitations to DISL special events

Friend of the Sea Lab Form

Friend of the Sea Lab Letter

You'll get even more with Supporting Levels such as:

Seahorse • $250

  • "Friend of the Sea Lab" benefits for family
  • 4 guest passes, good for one-time entry

Skate • $500

  • "Friend of the Sea Lab" benefits for family
  • 10 guest passes, good for one-time entry

Starfish • $1000

  • "Friend of the Sea Lab" benefits for family
  • Recognition in DISL Foundation Media

School of Fish • $2500+

  • Starfish Benefits and Recognition on the Donor Wall
  • Tickets to Special Events

All memberships last one year from the date of purchase.

Want to Volunteer at the Estuarium?

For people who enjoy meeting a wide range of visitors, and who love to share their enthusiasm for the environment, the Estuarium provides a wonderful opportunity to get involved. Show eager students and visitors how ticklish horseshoe crabs are, talk to the public about important marine problems, guide school groups around exhibits, and much more. Volunteers will receive extensive training, numerous benefits, and the chance to meet and greet visitors from right down the street to across the country.

To become an Estuarium docent volunteer, contact Jamelle Roy at (251) 861-2141 x7545 or email:

Host Your Event Here!

It’s an Evening to Remember at the Estuarium at The Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Make your next function a memorable event for you and your guests at this beautiful and unique location. Whether it's a casual cocktail get-together, or an elegant seated dinner, the Estuarium is a venue so distinctive; it will have your guests talking about it for years to come.           

Come stroll on our Living Marsh Boardwalk and observe a fiery sunset over Mobile Bay.  Enjoy a beverage under our romantic pavilion, and adjourn with your guests to the Exhibit Hall, where beautiful aquaria await to entertain and delight your company. For more information on your special event at the Estuarium, call (251) 861-2141 ext 7000 or email Jeana Layne at
We offer discounts for non-profit and charitable organization  Please call to make your reservation today.

Adventures, Tours, & Talks

The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab hosts a number of free public events year-round. The twice-monthly Boardwalk Talk program offers the public a chance to engage with the experts at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on science topics as wide-ranging as climate change, habitat restoration, hypoxia, sea level change, salt marshes, oyster reefs, sharks and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Summer Excursion program takes visitors into the habitats studied by our marine scientists, researchers and students at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. The Estuarium also provides a variety of Educational Materials for K-12 teachers to use on their field trips. 


Boardwalk Talks are on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 11:15 a.m. Talks are hosted by researchers, graduate students, post docs, educators, aquarists and technicians. 

Next talk is: 

January 4: Greg Graeber

January 18: Jenny Cook- A Tale of a Shell


Only $12 per person (adults and children)! Payment is due the morning of the excursion. Children 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult; adults are responsible for their children. Space is limited so reservations are recommended. Please note that Estuarium admission is separate. DISL reserves the right to cancel in case of inclement weather or insufficient participation.

Click here to download the Excursions Reservation Form.
For questions, e-mail or call (251) 861-2141 ext. 7545.


2017 Dates: TBD

Salt marshes are not monotonous expanses of grass; they are fascinating coastal wetlands that are critical to our estuary system. After meeting outside the Estuarium, you’ll be transported to the Dauphin Island salt marsh to explore this vital ecosystem.

You’ll be a marine scientist for a day, using seine nets, yabby pumps, and sieve boxes to collect samples, including crabs, snails, and fish. We’ll leave what we collect because we want our marsh to remain healthy. You’ll learn about the important role salt marshes play in the Gulf of Mexico and how they support the  seafood we  enjoy.

Because of the danger posed by sharp oyster shells, participants need to wear closed-toe shoes that tie or strap on, such as old tennis shoes. Please no flip-flops, Crocs or rubber boots as they get ‘eaten’ by the marsh mud.  Showers and changing facilities will be available after the marsh trip. Due to sharp shells, pointy plants, and other potential dangers, we do not recommend this trip for pre-school children.


2017 Dates: TBD

A barrier island is not just sand and water – the beach is a thriving habitat with a dynamic dune system and fascinating plants and animals, and higher elevations are covered by lush forest. After meeting outside the Estuarium, we’ll walk through the Audubon Bird Sanctuary’s maritime forest, then on to the dunes and beach.
You will learn about plants that Indians and colonists used and the benefits of an intact dune system. You’re sure to see many coastal animals; occasional highlights include osprey, alligators and dolphins. You’ll dig for mole crabs that live in the surf zone and chase scuttling ghost crabs. We’ll bring hand lenses, critter containers and hand nets, so we can get up close and personal with the flora and fauna.
We’ll walk about a mile and a half, and feet may get wet, so participants should wear comfortable walking shoes they don’t mind getting wet.


Ocean Literacy Standards

Ocean Literacy Standards addressed at the Estuarium
*For Alabama COS objectives, please see individual activity keys.




All documents are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. 

Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to open and print these files.

The Estuarium, a coastal waters resource center, also features the Miss May May, an interactive boat exhibit, a real time Weather Station, the Gift Shop and Bookstore, and much more...


Winter Hours

Summer Hours

September 1- February 28/29
Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

March 1 - August 31
Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will be closed on the following days:

  • New Year's Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve Day
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year's Eve Day


Adult $11.00
Children (5-18) or Students with ID $6.00
Seniors $9.00

Group rates available. For Group Scheduling contact Beth Klein at 251-861-2141 x7511


Shirts and shoes required.  No bikini tops

Note: No open containers of beverages are allowed


Click a link below to view the current weather at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Rays of the Bay Tank Webcam

Camera Image

Large Gallery Tank Feedings

Tuesday and Thursday

11:00 am


2:00 pm

Camera Image

The Estuarium - A Public Aquarium

The Estuarium is an exciting educational public aquarium highlighting the four key habitats of coastal Alabama: the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, the Barrier Islands and the Northern Gulf of Mexico. It includes the 10,000 square foot Exhibit Hall, a 7,000 gallon sting ray touch pool, and the Living Marsh Boardwalk. This facility has 31 aquariums totaling over 30,000 gallons with more than 100 species on display. The Estuarium showcases the plants, animals, and other natural resources found in the Estuary and its surrounding marine habitats.

Through beautiful visual exhibits and engaging interactive exhibits, the Estuarium will leave you with a broader understanding of the interactions that take place in Mobile Bay, the fourth largest estuary system in the United States.