Marine Discovery Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Marine Discovery Center (MDC) has spent the past 25 years informing and educating citizens and visitors about the amazing biodiversity of the Indian River Lagoon. A 25th anniversary party is planned for Saturday, March 19 (originally scheduled for March 12, but postponed due to inclement weather) at the Hunter Amphitheater on-site outdoor venue. During the free event, guests are invited to come and listen to a history presentation, view a photo timeline slideshow and learn about future plans for the nonprofit organization.

MDC Cheers to 25 Years Agenda:

5 – 6 p.m.: Reception

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Presentation of History of the Marine Discovery Center

7:30 – 7:45 p.m.: What to expect in the next 25 years

Widely recognized as a regional resource for the Indian River Lagoon, MDC is centered on education and outreach in an effort to preserve, protect and restore the lagoon for generations to come. Exploration, conservation and education are MDC’s key missions to the Indian River Lagoon and Florida’s coast.

MDC received it’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation in 1997. Boat and kayak tours were the first experiences offered to get people on the water and start exploring the variety of species that call the lagoon home. 

Today, full ecotour excursions are offered on a 40-passenger pontoon or paddling a kayak through mangroves, salt marshes, oyster reefs and more. On-foot tours are also offered and include bird watching, identifying native species, beach combing, marine debris investigations, beach sand explorations and seine netting. 

According to their mission statement, heightened public awareness is important to restoration and protection of these ecosystems. MDC now welcomes an average of 30,000 visitors each year. A dedicated group of more than 500 volunteers have helped extend the reach of the nonprofit to educate, inform and entertain.

Locals and visitors can support this mission by attending conservation lectures, education and special events, enrolling children in educational camps and experiences or cruising on kayak and eco boat tours posted on the MDC’s website calendar. Successful annual fundraising events include the upcoming 12th annual New Smyrna Beach Plein Air Paint Out hosted on October 18 – 22, 2022. The 2022 Plein Air Paint Out will continue the legacy of fundraising to enhance the environmental education and art programs and to further the goals of MDC.

The MDC offers many volunteer opportunities for locals to get involved “on the water.” According to the MDC website,, volunteer opportunities include welcome desk volunteers, exhibit docents, marine discovery outreach team, education department volunteers, fundraising event volunteers, kayak tour sweeps and much more.

For more information contact the Marine Discovery Center directly at (386) 428-4828.

Mimi McKee bio

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