Put-in-Bay, OH Families can learn about the science and history of Lake Erie as well as environmental issues facing the lake this summer with weekend programs at the Aquatic Visitors Center and tours of Gibraltar Island and the South Bass Island lighthouse.
Children can get up-close and personal with lake creatures by participating in hands-on activities at the Aquatic Visitors Center on South Bass Island each Saturday from 2 – 3 p.m. through August 20 and children under age 16 can fish from the pier. The schedule of Saturday topics includes:
- Aquatic Invaders of Lake Erie, July 16
- The Wide World of Plankton, July 23
- Live Snake Show, July 30
- Creepy Crawly Water Critters, August 6
- Making Fishing Lures, August 13
- Our Friend the Spider, August 20
The Aquatic Visitors Center is a former State Fish Hatchery nearly one mile west of downtown Put-In-Bay. The center is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and admission is free. For more information about the Center, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu/visit/avc .
Put-in-Bay visitors can learn about the Lake Erie research underway at Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory and see Cooke Castle during a Science and History Tour offered every Wednesday through August 17 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m on Gibraltar Island. Groups will take guided tours of the island and see Perry’s Lookout, the glacial grooves, Stone Lab buildings, and the castle’s exterior. The second part of the tour offers a close-up look at research conducted at Stone Lab.
To reach Gibraltar, visitors should meet at the Boardwalk Restaurant Harbor Taxi Landing on South Bass Island by 10:45 a.m. and catch a water taxi for a round-trip cost of $6. Tours are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, with a maximum of 75 people. A $10 tour fee supports Stone Lab student scholarships. For an additional $10, participants can order boxed lunches to enjoy after the tour. Orders must be placed when arriving on the island.
Visitors also have the opportunity to tour the South Bass Island lighthouse and learn about its history from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, June 20 – August 16. For $3, visitors can climb the stairs to take in a great view of Put-in-Bay from the top of the tower, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places. There are opportunities to speak with Stone Lab staff about Gibraltar Island and pick up some Ohio Sea Grant publications. Visitors can also see displays about Ohio’s geological past and Lake Erie current ecosystem and research issues.
Most Thursday evenings through August 11 Stone Lab will host guest lectures on a variety of current research projects and Lake Erie issues. Each lecture will begin at 7:45 p.m. and last until approximately 9 p.m. Lectures are preceded by short presentations on current research. Guests are invited to take a Lake Erie Water Taxi, at their own expense, at 7:15 p.m. from the Boardwalk Restaurant dock to Gibraltar Island, where they will be given a short tour before the lecture. Visit stonelab.osu.edu/events/guest-lectures for more details.
To learn more about the tours or lectures, contact the Stone Lab Bayview Office at 419.285.1800 or visit stonelab.osu.edu/tripsandtours/island-tours. Ohio State University owns and manages Gibraltar Island and the South Bass Island lighthouse, and operates the Aquatic Visitors Center through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 32 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.
Aquatic Visitors Center, Ohio Sea Grant Extension Educator