Saturday, May 10, 2008

Barrier Island Center Grand Opening is Grand!

(Photo courtesy of Wayne Matchett)
Today's Grand Opening of the Barrier Island Center, located in the south end of Brevard County, Florida, was picture-perfect!

The official ribbon cutting ceremony started at 8:00. In this photo, Ray Mojica, Manager of the Center and a guiding force behind its design and implementation, gets plenty of help from his children.

Once inside, visitors were amazed at the beautiful artwork, the captivating interactive displays, and the attention to detail. (As soon as I figure out how to get a slideshow into this blog, I'll upload a better selection of photos.) From the graceful "wave" sign inside the front door, to the back observation deck, this Center is a jewel not to be missed, especially if you have children.

The artwork for the exhibits in the Center was created by Melbourne Beach graphic design artist and scientific illustrator Dawn Witherington, and is simply stunning in its beauty and detail.

Manager Ray Mojica is a computer whiz, and it shows in the wonderful interactive displays that entertain as well as instruct.

Leslie Sprague and her volunteers have created a gift shop that is a treat in itself. And don't miss Donna Lee Crawford's simple but elegant plant arrangement at the Welcome Desk. Grace and the children's activity center will ensure that learning is great fun at the same time. So much good stuff in one tidy building!

The Barrier Island Sanctuary Management and Education Center (Barrier Island Center) is an educational center located in the heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a major nesting site for sea turtles. How this Center came to be a reality is a story of cooperation between agencies and organizations - The Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Land Program (EEL), the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, and the Richard K. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon Foundation donated the 34-acre parcel to Brevard County, the EEL Program developed and now manages the Center, and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation has partnered with the EEL Program to conduct the educational programs offered at the Center.

The Center offers visitors a variety of sea turtle-related exhibits and educational activities, including guided hikes and turtle walks. It is fully handicapped-accessible.

The Center is located on A1A, 14 miles south of the Melbourne Causeway (192), and 3 miles north of Sebastian Inlet State Park. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, or to sign up for turtle walks in June and July, call 321-723-3556.

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