Mote Marine Laboratory has provided the city with a new proposal for the interior layout of the marine educational outreach center to be installed on the City Pier.
The outreach center will be in the vacant, city-owned building at the T-end of the new pier.
After receiving Mote Marine’s latest proposal on Thursday, Jan. 27, Mayor Dan Murphy forwarded the document to city commissioners. During that evening’s commission meeting Murphy noted the commissioners had not yet had much time to review the new proposal, which will be discussed at a future meeting.
Mote’s new proposal features more digital and virtual exhibits. The previous plan included live exhibits containing smaller sport fish, schooling fish and a touch tank featuring urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, horseshoe crabs and slipper lobsters.
Exhibits and features
The new proposal includes a “Fish Sounds” exhibit that would allow guests to activate recorded marine life sounds and compare those to real-life sounds heard live through an underwater microphone installed at the pier.
It also includes a live streaming video exhibit on the marine life under the pier, projecting real-life images on the exhibit walls. It also would have a mangrove column illustrating how these plants provide crucial habitat for young fish and other marine life.
Another exhibit would help users identify and learn more about the fish they catch on the pier and elsewhere in Anna Maria.
Additional panels would explain Mote’s research efforts directly related to Anna Maria Island, including information on fisheries, sharks and rays, sea turtles, manatees and red tide.
According to the proposal, schooling fish, mangrove roots and other sea life will be set into the floor to “create a dynamic learning environment.”
The proposal includes a “Draw Alive” interactive exhibit that allows youngsters and adults to color a sea creature, place it on the scanner and watch it come to life on a video screen.
The latest proposal also includes an interactive microscope exhibit that projects microscope images onto a video monitor.
When contacted later in the week, Murphy said commissioners will decide if they prefer the new proposal, the original proposal or a combination of the two. During a previous commission meeting, Murphy said Mote no longer anticipates completing its installation work in March as previously predicted.
On Tuesday, Feb. 1, the city posted the following message on its Facebook page: “Have you heard Mote Marine will open a learning center on the T-end of our City Pier? Here’s a quick update of where things stand: There are two conceptualized plans – one that includes tanks for live marine life, and one that doesn’t. Both options will be considered equally after the engineer and building official review the plans and make their recommendations. Either way, we’re very excited to welcome Mote to Anna Maria and look forward to seeing you all there soon.”