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The Wetlands Institute – The Great Outdoors

The Wetlands Insitute, Osprey Nest

@Jersey Family Fun

It only takes one look at this picture to know, my boys had a fabulous time at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.


With so much to touch, see, feed, and explore it was a great way to combine our love of the outdoors with an indoor/outdoor setting. Let me take you on a tour.


  • Marshview Hall

This meeting room is used for Wetlands Institute storytimes, programs, or other special events. In between functions, kids can stop in to check out exhibit cases of animals or view what’s happening at the Osprey’s nest.


  • Diller Coastal Exhibit Building

This is home to the Wetlands Institute aquarium, but the word aquarium seems to be an understatement. The aquarium features over a dozen exhibits with live marsh animals. With a special “teacher’s tank” with live horseshoe crabs, sea stars and more plus tons of things to touch and play with this is more like a mini-learning lab. While in this area, my kids:

  • fed mommy and baby turtles, horseshoe crabs, hermit
    Animal feedinds, Wetlands Institute

    @Jersey Family Fun

    crabs and more.

  • climbed up into an Osprey nest.
  • assembled marine-based puzzles.
  • went fishing.
  • identified animals based on touch.
  • viewed the different kind of shells that wash up on our shores.
  • learned about how birds migrate and what time of year we could expect to see different kind of birds.
  • understood how heat determines the gender of turtles.
  • met some very nice, very knowledgeable, and patient staff who took their time to share with the kids what they knew and answer any questions they had, while also letting them feed the animals.
  • Terrapin Station

The Terrapin station takes you through the life-cycle of the diamondback terrapin, its history, and the conservation efforts of the Wetlands Institute  to keep this unique species from becoming extinct.

  • Salt Marsh Trail
Salt Marsh Trail, Wetlands Institute

@Jersey Family Fun

The Salt Marsh Trail takes you on a peaceful journey to see migratory birds, fiddler crabs and other creatures.  I love that the Wetlands Institute gives you many ways to learn about what you can expect to see. There are guided tours, publications for you to guide yourself, and signage along the way. You can even call in using your cell phone at each station to get more information.  There is a 125 feet pier that stretches over a tidal creek. When we went the tides were low so we had a great vantage point without my worrying if my boys would fall in.  For families, this is a very-safe and easy to navigate trail.

  • Observation Tower

Climb the spiral staircase to the observation tower and not only will you see the beautiful underwater murals on the wall, you will also be 40 feet about the rest of the building. The stairs and the height made my boys a little nervous, but they took their time. And the view from the tower certainly made it worth it. We had a great view of the Wetlands as well as the Jersey Shores.


It was such an incredible day. We hope you will take a few minutes to check out our Facebook gallery to see for yourself the smiles and fun my boys had on our recent trip.


When the Wetlands Institute says there is always something happening there, there is. Check out their event calendar. Most days they are running at least 2 events. Sometimes it’s several more and many are included in the price of admission. Parking is free. Admission: $8.00 ages 12 and up; $6.00 ages 2-11. But considering a family membership is only $40 and all the events going on at The Wetlands Institute, we believe the family membership is a great value.


I know we’ll be back.  Have you been? When will you go back?


In full disclosure this is a sponsored post by The Wetlands Institute. The Wetlands Institute is a Jersey Family Fun Partners in Fun. While we are happy to have them sponsor our visits, our opinions are our own and based on our experience at the Wetlands Institute.

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Thursday 23rd of June 2011

This is one of my favorite places! Loved it as a kid and I can't wait to check it out with my girls!

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