By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Nature centers and educational facilities in St. Lucie County are teaming up to offer National Estuaries Day, a free event for families on Sept. 29.
The Smithsonian Marine Station, located at Museum Pointe Park on South Hutchinson Island will be holding its second annual festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The turnout was wonderful last year," said Cristin Ryan, with the Smithsonian Marine Station. "We estimated more than 1,500 residents came out and enjoyed the festival."
The festival includes live entertainment by the Humdingers, hands-on activities for children, touch tanks, meet the Smithsonian scientist stations and numerous demonstrations.
"This year it's going to be even better, because we have even more exhibitors with great hands-on activities," she said.
Exhibitors include the Ocean Research and Conservation Association, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Coast Guard.
The Treasure Coast Wildlife Center will have a live animal show at noon. Tim Brown, executive director, will talk about alligators and other animals while bringing live ones for people to see on the Smithsonian's main stage.
At the same time, the two facilities located next door, the St. Lucie County Aquarium and the St. Lucie County Regional History Center, will offer free admission, as well.
Meanwhile, across the Indian River Lagoon at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, the educational facility will conduct its own event.
There will be informal presentations by staff scientists, live displays of Indian River Lagoon organisms, hands-on activities and pontoon boat tours. The boat tours are $10, but the rest is free.
There will be free continuous shuttle service from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. traveling between Harbor Branch and the Smithsonian events. The Fort Pierce trolley will also be transporting people from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from the downtown Fort Pierce farmer's market to the event.
"There will be lots of parking along Seaway Drive and the trolleys will be running throughout the day," Ms. Ryan said. "We're really excited. It's going to be lots of fun for the entire family."
For more information, call (772) 462-6216.