Wetlands Institute


Every program has its own advocacy and driving force to push forward despite the challenges that may arise in order for it to be successful. The Wetlands Institute has proved its service for over 40 years in spite of Hurricane Katrina and recently, Hurricane Sandy. This motivating force is strengthened by its mission to promote understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the coastal ecosystems and wetlands through education, research programs and conservation.

The Wetlands Institute is divided into different exhibits, activities and regular summer programs that teach every visitor- especially the students. Exhibits are self-guided including the Terrapin Turtle Station, Salt Marsh Trail, Aquarium and Touch tank, Marshview Hall Bird Exhibits, Horseshoe Crab Egg. and Observation Tower.

The Diamondback Terrapins are the main residents of the Terrapin Turtle Station. The most visible are the adults giving the visitors a chance to have a close-up view of these amazing creatures. There are also hatchlings located on the left side which are tiny versions of their adult counterparts. The Wetlands Institute joins the conservation movement for this species by installing excluder devices on this turtle species to prevent them from drowning.

The Salt Marsh Trail is a serene vista where migratory birds, laughing gulls, fiddler crabs and other animals are present. Apart from these species, there are information stations that educate the visitors of what is living on the trail. During summer, wetlands film is shown and guided walks are available.

The Aquarium and Touch Tank is the most-loved exhibit where guests can literally handle the flounder, horseshoe crabs and sea urchins. The accommodating staffs will guide visitors the right handling techniques for the different animals in the tanks.

Marshview Hall Bird Exhibits showcases different carvings and wildlife art. There are also hand-sewn quilts and wooden bird mobiles which are hand-carved. During summer, visitors will be able to watch, on a large TV monitor, a nesting osprey in a close-up view through a mini camera, which captures the osprey from the top. Private events such as weddings, meetings and social gatherings are also held in this area.

Horseshoe Crab Egg is a newly added exhibit in the institute. This is where the horseshoe crab eggs are cultured until its early larval stage before it will be released into the bays. However, some of it will be grown until winter inside the institute.

The Observation Tower elevates its visitors through its spiral stairs to offer a view of the beautiful wetlands area and from Sea Isle City to Wildwood- the stunning Jersey Shore. As visitors go up in the tower, the under-the-sea mural will serve as their view inside. The murals include animals that are mostly found in the salt marshes of New Jersey.

Every summer, there are programs which are presented by other organizations which may vary every week, while some follows a regular schedule. Among the programs are Feature Creature, Salt Marsh Safari, and Catch o’ the Day.

The Feature Creature mainly targets the children which features live animals such as SpongeBob animals. The Salt Marsh Safari is a combination of a film showing, and trail walking where visitors are led by docent volunteers. Catch o’ the Day, popularly known as seining, allows the visitors to get wet as they catch different sea creatures with the net provided for the activity. They can choose to catch hermit crabs, mud snails, grass shrimp, small blue crabs, green crabs and minnows, but they must wear shoes before immersing in water.

Family nights, kayak tours and skimmer boat cruise are other fun activities to enjoy in the Wetlands Institute. Visit Wetlands Institute at Stone Harbor, New Jersey and be a part of its advocacy.