Put-in-Bay Visitors to South Bass Island this summer have the chance to explore Lake Erie science and history at the South Bass Island Lighthouse, the Aquatic Visitors Center and on Gibraltar Island.
The South Bass Island Lighthouse, which was completed in 1897, is located at the southwest tip of the island and was in operation until 1962. The lighthouse grounds are open to the public dawn to dusk free of charge unless otherwise posted. Free tours will be offered from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on June 8, July 13, August 10, September 7 and October 12, 2019. Visitors can climb the lighthouse stairs to take in the view from the top of the tower. Tours for groups of 10 or more may be scheduled April through November by calling 419-285-1800.
The Aquatic Visitors Center is an educational facility, giving visitors of all ages the chance to explore Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem through hands-on activities and aquaria containing live Lake Erie fish. Children ages 15 and younger can borrow fishing gear and fish for free off the 100-foot pier. A limited number of free life jackets, provided by the BoatUs Foundation, are available for loan. AVC tours are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays June 19 through August 24, 2019. Group tour reservations are available mid-May through October at a cost of $5 per person by calling 419-285-1800.
Two science and history tours of Gibraltar Island are offered each Thursday from June 20 through August 8, 2018 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Groups tour the island, including Perry’s Lookout and the glacial grooves and see the outside of Cooke Castle before learning more about Stone Lab research. Tours can accommodate up to 70 people and are first-come, first-served. To attend, meet at 9:45 a.m. or 12:45 p.m. at the Boardwalk Restaurant dock, 341 Bayview Ave. in Put-in-Bay. Tours are $10 per person, $5 for children ages 6-12, plus $6 for round-trip fare to Gibraltar Island, payable to the water taxi driver.
Gibraltar Island and the South Bass Island Lighthouse are owned by The Ohio State University, and all three attractions are managed by Ohio Sea Grant & Stone Laboratory. For more information on scheduling your trip, visit go.osu.edu/tours.
The Friends of Stone Lab’s annual open house, this year scheduled for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, September 7, 2019, includes all three attractions. For details, visit go.osu.edu/SLopenhouse.
Stone Lab staff and instructors will also attend events at the Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center as part of Wild Tuesdays, which run June 18 through August 6, 2019. Dr. Kristin Stanford, Stone Lab’s education and outreach coordinator, will bring Lake Erie Watersnakes and other slithery island residents to the event on July 16. Lisa Brohl of the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy, who teaches local plants courses and workshops, will cover dragonflies and damselflies on July 10, and Dr. Doug Kane of Defiance College, who teaches ecology courses, will talk about plankton and its role in Lake Erie on July 23.
Located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay harbor, Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s island campus on Lake Erie and the research, education, and outreach facility of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 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.