The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab offers all ages an opportunity to explore the salt marsh and the beach, dunes, and maritime forest during the summer months. Several dates are set aside for the summer excursions.

Four opportunities are spread throughout the month of July which costs $12 a person. Each trip begins at 9:45 a.m. and lasts until about 12:15 p.m. Reservations are recommended, and can be made by emailing summerexcursions@disl.org or calling  (251) 861-2141 ext. 7545.

SALT MARSH SUMMER EXCURSION
July 12, July 20, and July 27, 2017

Salt marshes are not monotonous expanses of grass; they’re fascinating coastal wetlands that are critical to our estuary system. Be a marine scientist for a day, and use seine nets, buckets, shovels, and sieve boxes to collect samples, including crabs, snails, and fish (we’ll release animals back to the marsh). You’ll learn about the important role salt marshes play in the Gulf of Mexico and how they support the seafood we enjoy.

After meeting at the Estuarium, you’ll be transported by bus to the Dauphin Island salt marsh to explore this vital ecosystem. 

What to wear:  Proper footwear is very important for your safety and enjoyment. Because of sharp oyster shells, participants are advised to wear closed-toe shoes that tie or strap on, such as old tennis shoes. Please no flip-flops, Crocs or rubber boots as they get ‘eaten’ by the marsh mud. Wear clothes that can get wet and muddy. Showers and changing facilities will be available after the marsh trip.

What to bring:  hat, sunscreen, water bottle, change of clothes and shoes, bag for muddy items

BEACH, DUNE, AND MARITIME FOREST EXCURSION
July 6, 2017

There’s more to a barrier island than sand and water – the beach is a thriving habitat with a dynamic dune system and fascinating plants and animals, and higher elevations are covered by lush forest. We’ll walk through the maritime forest, then on to the dunes and beach.

You will learn about plants that Indians and colonists used and the benefits of an intact dune system. You’ll see many coastal animals; occasional highlights include osprey, alligators and dolphins. You’ll dig for mole crabs that live in the surf zone and chase scuttling ghost crabs. We’ll bring hand nets and critter containers so we can get an up-close look.

What to wear:  Comfortable walking shoes for beach and forest. Light-weight clothes for hot summer temperatures. If you’re eager to get wet, feel free to dress accordingly, though getting wet can be avoided.  

What to bring:  hat, sunscreen, water bottle, bug spray, change of clothes and shoes, bag for wet items