Discover FAU Harbor Branch
 

Educational Tours AND SPECIALITY EXPERIENCES

For over 50 years, Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has been a leader in marine science and education. Founded in 1971 as a premier marine research facility, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is now the northern-most campus of Florida Atlantic University. Our team of over 300 scientists, engineers, students, staff, and volunteers work toward the goal of Ocean Science for a Better World®.

FAU Harbor Branch offers a variety of educational tours and specialty experiences so that the community can learn about the marine environment and the important research conducted by the Institute. For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit www.fau.edu/hboi/bookatour, call 772-242-2293, or stop by our Ocean Discovery Visitors Center. Special group tours are also available by request.

Join the FAU Harbor Branch Benefactors Society and gain special access to our Discovery Passport and receive discounts on a variety of tour options.

Directions to FAU Harbor Branch

collage of tour images

Campus Tours

In 2021 we updated this offering with new stops and exclusive information! If you haven't been on a tour recently, we invite you to join us for this upgraded experience.

FAU Harbor Branch welcomes you to go behind the scenes with one of our outreach scientists to gain a greater understanding of the significant research conducted by the institute. During this 1.5-hour golf-cart tour, participants will explore our 144-acre waterfront campus, learn about our history, hear highlights of the cutting-edge research being conducted by our marine scientists and engineers, and discover the impact that our work has on their everyday lives. The experience will also include a photo-op in front of our iconic Johnson Sea Link deep-sea submersible as well as views of the Indian River Lagoon and Florida wildlife.

Offered daily, Tuesday through Saturday, at 1 p.m.

Reservations and payment are required in advance (must be made by 4 p.m. the day before).

Campus Tours are recommended for ages 5 and up.

Cost to attend: $25 per person

IRL Tour

Indian River Lagoon Research Boat Tours

Join us for a fun and educational 1.5-hour excursion aboard FAU Harbor Branch’s pontoon tour boat, the Discovery! During this experience, an expert guide will discuss the wildlife encountered as well as the research that the Institute conducts to better understand and protect the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem. New for 2023, participants will have the opportunity to experience the lagoon like never before - as a marine scientist aboard a floating laboratory with state-of-the-art tools. Activities include interpreting real-time water quality data from the Indian River Lagoon Observatory Network, surveying underwater habitats with a remotely operated vehicle, and identifying wildlife of all sizes, from microscopic plankton to sharks, rays, manatees, and dolphins.

About the Indian River Lagoon: Designated as an aquatic preserve and Estuary of National Significance, the Lagoon is one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America. Spanning 156 miles along Florida's east coast, it is home to more than 4,000 plant and animal species, including 50 threatened or endangered species. FAU Harbor Branch is a leader in Indian River Lagoon research and education, with a goal of conserving this vital ecosystem for generations to come.

Offered on Fridays at 10:30 am and Saturdays at 10:30 am and 1 pm.

Tours are limited to 30 people. Reservations and payment are required in advance (must be made by 4 pm the day before).

Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours are appropriate for all ages.

Cost to attend: $40 per person

collage of ocean exploration photos

Specialty Experiences

New for 2023, this experience is like nothing you’ve done before at FAU Harbor Branch! We invite you to join us for this innovative opportunity!

Learn about specific marine science topics during interactive workshop-like experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to learn directly from one of our experts, and participate in fun, hands-on activities. Each month will feature a new theme, so check the schedule below to see what’s coming soon!

Specialty Experience Schedule

Thursday February 9th: What’s in the Water?

Learn about the most important part of our estuary- it’s water! Participants will analyze water samples and measure a variety of parameters, then explore real data collected from the FAU Harbor Branch Indian River Lagoon Observatory Network of Environmental Sensors (IRLON).

Thursday March 9th: Mesmerizing Marine Mammals

Learn about the dolphins, manatees, and whales that call Florida home- from their life histories and behaviors to challenges they face and how to protect them. Participants will get to meet members of the FAU Harbor Branch Stranding and Population Assessment team, tour their rescue ambulance, and learn how to become a Dolphin Spotter citizen scientist.

Thursday April 13th: Life Under a Lens

Learn about the microscopic ocean world and the important role plankton play in healthy marine ecosystems as well as our daily lives. Participants will use scientific equipment to capture and identify some of the tiniest creatures living in the Indian River Lagoon.

Thursday May 11th: Seashell Science

Learn about one of nature’s most unique pieces of architecture- the seashell! Participants will explore our extensive collection of marine shells, have the opportunity to identify their beach-combing finds, and discover a world of animals who build their house around them.

Thursday June 8th: Farming Underwater

Learn about the journey of sustainable seafood from the hatchery to your table! Participants will get an insider’s view of the aquaculture research taking place at FAU Harbor Branch and will learn why continued growth of the industry is vital to maintain the world’s food supply.

Thursday July 13th: Trash Travels

Learn about how today’s disregarded debris becomes tomorrow’s conservation calamity. Participants will look for synthetic materials, like microplastics, in water samples, and explore how small changes in our daily lives can keep the sea free of debris.

Offered on the second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m.

Tours are limited to 20 people. Reservations and payment are required in advance (must be made by 4 p.m. the day before).

Specialty experiences are recommended for ages 13 and up.

Cost to attend: $40 per person

HBOI ocean fish