The Eco-Discovery Center is back!

After a $1 million renovation, the Eco-Discovery Center is ready for visitors once again.

Emily Kovacs, executive director of the Eco-Discovery Center at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the center’s reopening celebration.

The Eco-Discovery Center will reopen officially from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Grants allowed much-needed renovations at the Eco-Discovery Center and as of tomorrow, the center will be back for all to enjoy.  

Kovacs said, “Throughout the day we are going to have different activities and programs going on.”

At 9 a.m., residents can have coffee with the superintendent of the National Marine Sanctuary.

At 10 a.m. the ribbon cutting will happen.

Kovacs said, “We’re going to be doing art classes. We’re going to learn how to paint different types of coral. We’re going to do stuff with fish as well. We’re going to be doing guided tours as well as have activity carts. This isn’t just for children. It’s for the whole family.”

Renovations have taken place since the Eco-Discovery Center has been closed.

Kovacs said, “It is absolutely amazing because I was here every day for the ripping out of everything and then the installation. So basically we took out almost all of the exhibits. We kept a few things and for those concerned, we still have our wonderful movie, so don’t worry about that. You can still watch that here. We were aiming to basically refocus our exhibits on the mission of the Sanctuary, to preserve and protect our natural and cultural resources. So we honed in on that. So now we focus more on our marine ecosystems. We wanted to make the exhibits much more hands-on and interactive, so we have lots of buttons to push, drawers to pull out.”

The center is both fun and educational.

Kovacs said, “There are a few components that we do want to update as we get funding. Some of those are more technology-based.”

Family programs and summer camps are also in the works.

Kovacs said, “That’s a big part of the community that we know is needed to have things for families to do. Once we hopefully get some more volunteers, we’ll be able to offer those options to the community.”

The center is open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kovacs said, “We want to eventually get back to our old schedule of Tuesday through Saturday, but the trickiest part is I am a one-woman show here and I rely on volunteers. So I am still searching to have volunteers, especially our full-time local residents that are around year-round so that we can actually start opening the doors all five days of the week for our hours.”

Anyone who would be interested in volunteering should contact Kovacs at [email protected]

Kovacs said, “You don’t have to be super familiar with things. We can get you comfortable with talking about the ecosystems we have here, the cultural heritage. The more volunteers I get then we can be open more days.”

The center is one of the few free exhibits in Key West.

For more information on tomorrow’s Community Day at the Eco-Discovery Center, click here: