Join Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant in celebrating World Oceans Day at the University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium on June 8.

As part of the celebration, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant will offer family-friendly activities, including behind-the-scenes aquarium tours, hands-on science activities and reptile talks, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the UGA Aquarium on World Oceans Day will be free thanks to support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Visitors will discover the amazing marine animals living in coastal Georgia, including the aquarium’s newest residents, a common octopus and two baby American alligators.

This year, marine research and education organizations across Skidaway Island will participate in the event, including Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary and Skidaway Island State Park.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary will have a virtual reality activity that will allow visitors to take a few dives around Gray’s Reef. Their booth will be set up in front of a new exhibit about the live bottom reef at the aquarium. The educational display was made possible by a Hollings Award from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography will highlight current ocean research projects. Skidaway Island State Park will feature live reptiles and provide information about responsible recreational activities available to park visitors.

“We want to engage the community in the research, education and outreach that’s happening on Skidaway Island,” says Mark Risse, director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. “World Oceans Day provides us the opportunity to highlight the role of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant and our coastal partners in improving coastal and ocean health.”

June 8 is designated by the United Nations as World Oceans Day to celebrate conservation of this important resource around the world.

World Oceans Day kicks off the summer season at the UGA Aquarium. In June and July, visitors can sign up for a variety of recurring programs taking place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, including family field trips, behind-the-scenes aquarium tours, toddler touch tanks and turtle Tuesdays.

More information is available at http://gacoast.uga.edu/events/