Mississippi’s New Gulf Coast Access and Education Exhibits Open at INFINITY Science Center
On May 16, 2018 the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s INFINITY Science Center opened the doors of its new indoor and outdoor exhibits supported by Natural Resource Damage Assessment funding approved by the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group and administered through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
The $10.4 million NRDA funding is providing the Center’s visitors with interactive science, education, interpretive, and research opportunities for exploring the Gulf’s ecosystems, to help increase understanding of and access to coastal natural resources impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The spill and its aftermath limited the public’s ability to use these unique coastal resources for recreation and learning. In 2017, the INFINITY Science Center had 76,000 visitors; approximately 25,000 were students on field trips.
“A complimentary and key part to preserving and appreciating our natural resources is education and research which will be enhanced by this center. It’s rewarding to see this project progress and for the public to be able to now enjoy these outstanding fun and educational opportunities,” said Gary Rikard, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
New exhibits at the Infinity Science Center include the outdoor Heritage-Trail Possum Walk offering visitors a tram tour through multiple coastal habitats in the area, including marsh, bayhead swamp, cypress swamp, and pine flatwoods, and a boardwalk giving visitors access to explore various estuarine marsh and beach habitats. The outdoor exhibits serve as a launching point for a comprehensive scenic byway trail system that takes visitors to beaches and other coastal environments.
Nine indoor interactive exhibits are teaching visitors about the Gulf’s many ecosystems. The Sand Box is an interactive exhibit where visitors shape sand into different elevations and explore how elevations impact the flow of water into watersheds. The new 3D theater and Deep Ocean Explorer offers an opportunity to see below the surface and explore the marine environment. And, the Hurricane Prediction Lab provides an in-depth look at how a hurricane develops and impacts coastal environments.
The INFINITY Science Center and new exhibits are located in southern Hancock County, Mississippi. More information about the project and others in Mississippi can be found on our interactive project map.