Children and science enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of local marine species and shoreline environment.
Founded thirty years ago by two teachers, the center is located on the beach in Fort Worden State Park and offers interactive exhibits, scientific projects, wildlife cruises and other educational programs.
Plan to spend at least two hours exploring the center’s two main exhibits: the Natural History Exhibit and the Marine Exhibit. While the Natural History Exhibit delves into the forces that shaped Port Townsend’s marine life and landscape, the Marine Exhibit houses four large touch pools and a half-dozen aquariums filled with local marine life. Children will love the open pools, where they can safely touch a variety of live invertebrates and fish, including sea stars, crab species, tube worms and gunnels. Exhibit hours vary by season, so check before you go.
If you’re looking for an all-day wildlife experience, book tickets for one of the center’s popular bird migration or Protection Island cruises, hosted by a seasoned naturalist. Cruises are offered on various Saturdays from April through October.
This article was originally published in my article “Washington’s Victorian Seaport” in the March/April 2013 issue of Northwest Travel Magazine.