This summer, the Aquatic Visitors Center will again open its doors to the public, thanks to a partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife and Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. The center joins Stone Lab and the South Bass Island Lighthouse as landmarks operated by Ohio State in the Put-in-Bay area, giving visitors a variety of ways to explore history while learning more about Lake Erie science and research.
The Aquatic Visitors Center on South Bass Island, formerly a State Fish Hatchery, will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, June 18-August 23. Admission is free, with youth programs planned each Saturday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. The public is invited to fish for free from the center’s docks; children under age 16 can fish without a license.
"The Aquatic Visitors Center gives you a unique opportunity to get face-to-face with live Lake Erie creatures as well as historical hatchery artifacts, hands-on displays, and access to the fishing pier," says Tory Gabriel, Ohio Sea Grant Fisheries Program Coordinator. "Rods and reels will be available on loan and bait will be provided. It’s great for families and anyone who loves the lake and wants to learn more about it."
In addition, Science and History Tours of Gibraltar Island and Stone Laboratory will be held each Wednesday, June 17-August 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A $10 tour fee supports Stone Lab student scholarships. To get to Gibraltar, meet at the Boardwalk Restaurant Harbor Taxi Landing on South Bass Island by 10:45 a.m. to catch a water taxi at a cost of $6 round-trip. For an additional $10, participants can order a boxed lunch to enjoy after the tour. Orders must be placed when arriving on the island.
Visitors can also check out the view from the South Bass Island Lighthouse tower and learn about Lake Erie issues and the area’s historical shipwrecks every Thursday through Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. starting June 18. The final tours for the summer will be held Friday, August 21. Tickets are $2 per person to climb to the top of the lighthouse, free for children younger than six.
For more information about any tour, contact the Stone Lab Bayview Office at 419.285.1800 or visit stonelab.osu.edu/tripsandtours/island-tours/ . Gibraltar Island, the South Bass Island Lighthouse, and the Aquatic Visitors Center are owned and managed by Ohio State University.