Walk through the doors of the new Glazer Children’s Museum in downtown Tampa and you’ll face an impressive two-story exhibit with children hanging from the sky, pretending to be drops of water in the clouds. Water’s Journey was sponsored by the District as part of its education and outreach mission.
“Water’s Journey is a showpiece,” said Sarah Cole, the museum’s director of education. “People come up the stairs and say, ‘Wow!’ They just can’t help but to engage once they see it.”
The exhibit has become a prominent draw in a museum that is designed to appeal to children, and it takes a lion’s share of the visitors’ time. The museum expects that 100,000 people will visit the facility each year.
“Once kids go through the exhibit, they want to get right back in there,” said Cole. “Most of the other elements in the museum get about 5 to 10 minutes of the kids’ time. It’s more like 30 minutes for Water’s Journey. We had to increase the number of benches around the exhibit for the parents.”
The District partners with various museums and education centers to share in the costs of water-related exhibits and displays. These partnerships allow the District to enhance our reach by educating thousands of visitors each year. We invite you to spend a fun day with friends and family by visiting one of our partners.
The Brooker Creek Preserve and its Environmental Education Center are designed for the education and enjoyment of visitors as well as for the protection of the watershed. The Environmental Education Center, owned and operated by Pinellas County, offers hands-on exhibits to educate students and adults about the ecology and history of the Brooker Creek watershed. Monthly educational programming is offered, such as guided hikes, environmental workshops, summer camps and special events. The Preserve offers recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching and equestrian use.
The Water’s Journey exhibit provides visitors the opportunity to become drops of water and follow the journey water takes — from the aquifer to the clouds — while climbing on a 35-foot-tall structure. Children and adults alike are challenged to participate in the water cycle with their whole bodies. Along the way, you’ll encounter some animals and insects that make their home in Florida watersheds. The Watch That Water exhibit teaches children about water use and how much water can be saved (or wasted) through everyday actions.
Managed by the Polk County Natural Resources Division, the Nature Discovery Center provides educational opportunities for Polk County students, teachers and visitors to learn about the Peace River watershed. The Center is open to the public six days a week. The Center’s interactive exhibits convey the importance of water and its role in our environment. These exhibits focus on the Green Swamp, central Florida lakes, water systems, and the plant and animal species found within the Peace River watershed.
The Water Matters! exhibit is a hands-on display that illustrates the water cycle and explains the importance of protecting natural water resources. The exhibit includes an activated water cycle, a flowing river and a large globe.
The BioWorks Butterfly Garden is a model of an engineered wetland that has been educating MOSI guests since 1996. The exhibit highlights native landscaping, water conservation and the use of butterflies as environmental indicators. Also at MOSI, a series of signs leads visitors through the stormwater system — from the parking lot, through weirs, then into the natural wetlands associated with a large sinkhole on the south side of the property. The signs introduce the basic concepts of stormwater management, natural filtration systems and personal actions to improve water quality.
Pasco County students and public visitors to the Starkey Environmental Education Center will enjoy various exhibits that include educational displays about watersheds, water conservation, wetlands and uplands, and two interactive games teaching visitors about the park’s wildlife. Historical exhibits highlight Jay B. Starkey, Tocobaga Indians, the McNeill homestead and turpentine activities that occurred in the park.
The Florida Aquarium parking facility serves as a research site for stormwater runoff while educating more than 670,000 annual visitors to the Aquarium. Visitors are taught how stormwater runoff occurs after a rainfall and can collect many different types of pollution, including debris, dirt and chemicals, before it reaches a body of water.
Weedon Island Preserve is a 3,100-acre preserve located on Tampa Bay in north St. Petersburg. The Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center contains Tampa Bay watershed exhibits that focus on the estuarine ecosystem, including associated wildlife, benefits to the environment and conservation measures.