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New touch tank opens at Dauphin Island

Courtesy Dauphin Island Sea Lab

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama — The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab opened its first outdoor touch tank in mid-March. The outdoor “Rays of the Bay” is a 6,400-gallon tank that houses cownose rays, southern stingrays and bonnethead sharks that visitors are allowed to gently touch.

“The Sea Lab has been a steady proponent of hands-on education; we believe that experiential learning leads to life-long learning, and what could be more hands-on than having the ability to stroke a ray or shark?” said John Dindo, associate director at the Sea Lab.

The Sea Lab operates the touch tank through a geothermal heating and cooling system that keeps the saltwater temperature at a comfortable 70 degrees year-round. 

The Estuarium is the public aquarium of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama’s marine education and research institution. Its exhibits explore the four key ecosystems of coastal Alabama: the Delta, Mobile Bay, the Barrier Islands and the Gulf of Mexico.