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Historic Expeditions    Secrets of the Gulf Expedition


Our 7th annual NOAA Ocean Discovery Day was held March 22, 2014 at the NOAA Galveston Lab.

Staff from Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA Fisheries, National Weather Service, NOAA Corps, and Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network showed off their work and entertained guests with activities and information.

This year, our Mural Painting Activity illustrated marine mammals of the Gulf of Mexico, along with a few seabirds.

The Sea Turtle Obstacle course was so popular in 2013, that we've decided to make it a permanent part of Ocean Discovery Day. This gave kids a chance to run around and burn energy while learning about the life cycle of sea turtles and the perils they face.

The following pictures highlight activities captured by Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary staff throughout the day.

Click on a picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image
Photo credits: FGBNMS

Getting Started

Ocean Discovery Day entry sign in front of the NOAA Galveston Lab with traffic driving byAvenue U was lined with vehicles of over 1000 visitors to the 7th annual Ocean Discovery Day.

Two volunteers staffing the entry table at Ocean Discovery DayBarney and Tom were two of the volunteers helping to greet guests, run activities, and direct traffic.

Shelley sitting behind the volunteer check-in tableShelley DuPuy organized all of the volunteers for this event.

Discover More sign pointing to another building at the NOAA Galveston Lab
There was plenty to discover in almost every building on the NOAA campus.

Sanctuary Displays & Activities

GP Schmahl talking to visitors about FGBNMS
G.P. Schmahl talked to guests about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Two guests sitting in front of a video display watching a documentary about the sanctuaryGuests were able to watch the new Window in the Waves documentary about the sanctuary.

Ryan talking to guests about the small lionfish on display in a table top aquarium.
Ryan Eckert talked to guests about the lionfish problem in the Gulf of Mexico while guests were introduced to a small lionfish on display.

A display board covered in sticky notes written by guests. Each note tells how the guest thinks water is important.
Guests were invited to tell us how water is important to them in celebration of World Water Day.

Fisheries Displays & Activities

Ronnie O'Toole staffed one of the NOAA Fisheries displays
Ronnie O'Toole staffed a NOAA Fisheries display with handouts for kids of all ages.

Jennifer talking to guests about conchs
Jennifer Doerr talked to visitors about conch studies in the Virgin Islands.

Juan standing by a fish tank showing some local wildlife.
Juan Salas talked to visitors about local wildlife and how NOAA scientists quantify what is out there.

A Gulf shrimp on display in an aquarium
Gulf shrimp are just some of the local species monitored by NOAA Fisheries.


Sea Turtles

Visitors walking along Crockett Boulevard to get to the Sea Turtle barn
Visitors had to hike down Crockett Boulevard to see the sea turtle facility, but that area remained the most popular part of Ocean Discovery Day.

Kids pretending to be sea turtles, enter a large shrimp net with a Turtle Excluder Device
As part of the Sea Turtle Obstacle course, kids got to crawl through a life-size shrimp net complete with Turtle Excluder Device (TED).
Ben talks to a visitor about the sea turtles being reared at the NOAA Galveston Lab
Ben Higgins talked to visitors about the work NOAA does in trying to find safer fishing methods to protect sea turtles.

Sanctuary Mural

This video shows a timelapse sequence of photos taken during the making of the Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Mexico mural at Ocean Discovery Day 2014.

A view of the mural painting room with a variety of visitors painting different pieces of the mural.
Visitors worked on several different parts of the mural at the same time. Each individual square was allowed to dry, then placed in the appropriate place to recreated the original mural.

A visitor painting one tile of the mural that contains the image of a dolphin
A visitor paints one section of the mural that includes a dolphin.

Original mural art by Jacqui Stanley showing marine mammals of the Gulf of Mexico
Original Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Mexico mural by artist/educator Jacqui Stanley. String is used to break this up into 162 square sections for visitors to choose from.
Mosaic mural of 162 separate paintings used to recreate an original marine mammals mural.
Finished mural made of 162 separate paintings that correspond
to the squares outlined in string on the original mural.

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves