Barrier Island Sanctuary Land Management and Education Center is located in Brevard County, Florida, placed in heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in South Melbourne Beach. It’s an purpose-built information centre about sea turtles and the marine environment. Those on a budget will be glad to hear that entry is free, so it’s easy to pop in for a few minutes or return if you are based in the area. There are lots of interesting displays, interactive exhibits, nature films, special programs inside the centre and it’s well geared up for children. Plus there’s also a 1-mile long “dune-to-lagoon” nature trail; an accessible ocean view boardwalk; and picnic tables. We liked nice touches like outside taps and hosepipes run from water butts (good to use an environmentally friendly source of water) to rinse your feet after a walk on the beach.We certainly learnt a lot about sea turtles, including the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle, which lay their eggs on the beach nearby. You can find out even more by going along on a guided walk or attending a special event – check the centre’s online diary for details.
There’s a small playground outside for younger children (say 6 or 7 and under) and we enjoyed a walk along the boardwalk, which weaves its way through the dunes to the beach and ocean beyond, allowing you to see a range of different habitats.
The boys (H and his cousin) were interested to see the skulls of larger sea mammals (I think they were surprised how big they were), like this hump backed whale skull, which is on display within the grounds outside the centre.
I’d suggest combining a visit with a day at the beach or using it as a stopping off point by way of breaking up a longer journey.