school of fish in background
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Hey Kids! Want to know more about the cool, colorful, coral reefs of the northern Gulf of Mexico? You’re in the right place! We can give you questions to stump your friends, answer those burning questions you’ve always wanted answered, and show you fun activities and coloring pages that you can download and use at home. You’ll even find links to other nifty kid stuff on the web. So, jump on in and have a good time!

Did You Know?
I've Always Wondered...
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  1. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) contains the northernmost coral reefs in the continental United States.

Two color map showing location of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico.  Light blue areas are land, dark blue areas are water.
The closest coral reefs to Flower Garden Banks NMS
are found off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

  1. Flower Garden Banks NMS is one of only two places in the world where you can find the golden phase of the smooth trunkfish .

A bright yellow fish with spots swimming in front of a dark background.  The fish has a boxy, triangular shape and a pointed, narrow mouth.
A golden smooth trunkfish.
Photo: Joyce & Frank Burek

  1. Hammerhead sharks swim in large schools at Flower Garden Banks NMS every winter.


  1. Whale sharks, the largest sharks in the world, often cruise through Flower Garden Banks NMS in the summer. Check out this whale shark's size compared to the snorkeler just behind it.

A whale shark swimming above the reef at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

  1. Some of the brain and star coral formations in Flower Garden Banks NMS are as large as Volkswagen Beetles.

Star coral colonies mounded on top of one another on a coral reef.
Huge coral colonies cover the sea floor at
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

  1. Water from 31 states flows into the Gulf of Mexico. That's more than the combined number of states whose water flows into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans!

Map of the U.S. with a shaded area showing the watershed that flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
This map from the EPA shows how much of the water in the United States drains into the Gulf of Mexico.

  1. Flower Garden Banks NMS is the only national marine sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico.

Map showing location of all national marine sanctuary sites.

There are 14 sites in the National Marine Sanctuary System,
but only one is located in the Gulf of Mexico--
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

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Hmmm? in a speech bubble.The more you learn about the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the more questions you are likely to have. It's such a unique and fascinating place!

We love helping students learn more about their environment, but keep in mind that we're not here to do your homework! Please check out the rest of our web site and even the resources at your local library first.

Then, if you still can't find the answer to your question, Ask Away!

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Image of a black and white  coloring page.

Reef Scene at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (220kb)

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Image of a black white coloring page of a splitting coral polyp.


Splitting Coral Polyp (211kb) - depicts a coral polyp reproducing by splitting into two separate polyps

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Image of an activity page featuring a colorful wheel of photos.


Day & Night Activity Wheel (4.5MB)

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Image of a crossword puzzle activity page.
Coral Crossword Puzzle
- Learn about coral reefs by solving crossword puzzle clues

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Image of a word search activity page.
Coral Word Search
- Search and find words associated with coral reefs

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Image of a word mining activity page.


Zooxanthellae Words (79kb)
- How many words can you find in Zooxanthellae?

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  • National Marine Sanctuaries - learn about ALL of your national marine sanctuaries
  • National Marine Sanctuaries For Students - more cool stuff for students!
  • Sanctuary Encyclopedia - learn all about the cool critters found in your national marine sanctuaries
  • Ocean Explorer - follow current expeditions, see images of the latest discoveries, read the daily logs to learn about what the scientists have found so far, examine the mission plan, discover cool ocean career possibilities and even Ask an Explorer a question via email!
  • NOAA For Students - from oceans to weather to space, you'll find it here!

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weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Pale yellow sea slug with bright orange and blue ruffle down its back and bright orange spots on the end of its antennae.  Sea slug looks like a snail without its shell and is only a couple inches long.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves