Do you or someone you know love learning about marine life? Then a scheduled tour at MSUM’s Oceanarium is a must-do!
The MSUM Oceanarium is an investigative marine laboratory where college students and researchers study aquatic life and habitats. And what’s really cool about the Oceanarium is it’s also open to the public for scheduled tours!
On June 8, 2023 the Oceanarium conducted a ribbon cutting and open house to coincide with World Ocean Day. We had the pleasure of touring the facility to witness the current research and learn about the Oceanarium’s plans for expansion.
Visitors to the Oceanarium will find numerous aquatic species, interactive exhibits, and recreations of various oceanic habitats.
The Oceanarium is home to more than 50 species of marine life, such as horseshoe crabs, stingrays, jellyfish, and seahorses.
We particularly enjoyed watching the stingrays. One was exceptionally sociable during our visit, and repeatedly circled the tank to wave a friendly fin at visitors.
There are also big plans for growth at the MSUM Oceanarium. Coming Fall 2023, the Oceanarium will be home to a 600-gallon coral reef system.
Eels will be arriving at the facility soon, and the lab also hopes to obtain other specimens, such as octopus and pufferfish.
To achieve these goals, the laboratory relies on donations from the public. To learn more about how you can help, visit the MSUM Oceanarium donation page.
MSUM Oceanarium provides several interactive exhibits to teach visitors about ocean habitats and current ecological issues.
To draw attention to the dangers of ocean pollution, visitors can sort through items that should be in the oceans, and others that should not be.
Adjacent to this activity is Rubbish Reef. This aquarium is made of equal parts rocky reef and garbage and poses the question – which side does the marine life seem to prefer?
My toddler was very excited to find Nemo’s look-alike in the reef!
One of our favorite exhibits was the tide pools. By using a tide pool surge tank, water is pumped into the constructed tide pool habitats to demonstrate how water in natural tide pools is refreshed and replenished by ocean waves.
The tide pools experience high and low tide twice a day, as well as frequent wave surges during low tide.
Some of the species you will find in the tide pools include fish, crabs, sea stars, and clams.
Another great ecological representation is Mangrove Island. This exhibit mimics the natural conditions that mangroves have adapted to survive in, and in turn demonstrates how they provide critical habitats for land and sea wildlife.
Visiting the Oceanarium
The Oceanarium is located at Langseth Hall on the MSUM campus. It is accessible by elevator.
Visitors should park in the G3 or G4 lot located west of Langseth Hall and there is no cost for parking.
The facility is currently available for scheduled tours on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Tours are conducted by MSUM undergraduates and are held for a variety of groups, including K-12 students, youth groups, and the general public. Tour groups of at least 12 people are preferred (tour groups smaller than 12 will be charged the minimum tour price of $60 per tour). Also, tour groups may not exceed 49 people.
Scheduled tours are 50 minutes long. And for groups of 12 or more, the cost is $5 per person, excluding chaperones, teachers, or caretakers accompanying groups. Cash or check payments are preferred. If a guest must use a card or purchase order, arrangements should be made with the MSUM Business Services Department prior to the tour.
Tours must be scheduled two weeks in advance to ensure staffing is available.
To schedule a group tour, you can fill out a form at Visit the Oceanarium!