Where will Discovery Hall be?
Discovery Hall will be located on the north side of Coastal Highway 98 across the street from the existing laboratory on 72 acres of mixed pine woodlands. This places the new building on relatively high ground along the bluff of a small creek that flows into the boat basin leading out to the Gulf of Mexico.
There will be several looping paths through the woodlands to showcase the 100+year old longleaf pine forest* and associated species-rich flora and fauna. These trails will also meander through relatively open fields filled with passionflower and salt bush replete with associated longwing and monarch butterflies. Wildlife that can be seen along these trails includes bear, turkey, diamondback rattlesnakes, Great Blue Heron, and the speedy six-lined racerunner lizards. Alligators can be seen in the creek from time to time as well. These woodlands will be used for both demonstration projects as well as coastal research on plant and animal communities.
*The longleaf pine component is being restored to re-introduce fire to this tract that has not been burned in 60+ years. This is a work in progress that will take years to complete. We invite visitors to watch the progression happen season after season, starting with the first burn in February 2019.