Visit Mote’s Marine Science Education & Outreach Center at the Anna Maria City Pier

Prepare to embark on a captivating journey into the depths of marine science, conservation, and education. Nestled along the picturesque coastline, MOTE Marine stands as a beacon of knowledge and a hub of innovation in the field of marine research.

Discover the wonders of the underwater viewing area, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of marine life without getting wet. Immerse yourself in the interactive touch pool, where you can connect with fascinating creatures through tactile experiences. Unleash your creativity at the “Draw Alive” station, where art and technology converge to bring your marine-themed creations to life.

From its rich history and groundbreaking research to its engaging attractions and educational programs, the Mote Marine Science Education & Outreach Center is one of the best things to do on Anna Maria Island!

Kid looking at shark in an aquarium
Photo from Shutterstock

Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center


The Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center is a world-renowned institution dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the marine world and promoting environmental conservation. With a history spanning several decades, Mote Marine Laboratory, the center’s parent organization, has been at the forefront of marine research, driving scientific discoveries and pioneering groundbreaking studies. 

Establishing the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center on Anna Maria Island is a milestone in the organization’s public engagement and commitment to education.

At the core of the center’s mission is the pursuit of scientific excellence. It boasts state-of-the-art laboratories, cutting-edge research facilities, and a team of esteemed scientists who conduct vital studies on a range of marine topics.

From investigating the behavior and communication patterns of dolphins to studying the impacts of pollution and climate change on marine ecosystems, the center’s research endeavors contribute valuable insights to the field of marine science.

In addition to its research activities, the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center places significant emphasis on education and outreach. Through engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs, the center seeks to ignite curiosity and inspire a sense of wonder about the marine world, making it one of the best family-friendly things to do on Anna Maria Island!

By providing hands-on experiences and access to experts, the center nurtures a love for the ocean, encourages scientific inquiry, and empowers visitors to become advocates for marine conservation.


Underwater Viewing Area

The underwater viewing area at the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the enchanting beauty of marine life up close. As you step into the viewing area, you are transported into an immersive marine environment. 

Large windows provide a portal to the underwater realm, where a diverse array of fish, vibrant corals, and intricate ecosystems come to life. Observe the graceful movements of sea turtles, marvel at the vibrant hues of tropical fish, and witness the delicate dance of marine creatures as they navigate their watery home. 

The underwater viewing area serves as a window to the wonders of the ocean, fostering a sense of awe and deepening our understanding of marine ecosystems.

Touch tank
Photo from Shutterstock

Touch Pool

The touch pool at the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center offers an interactive experience that allows visitors to connect with marine life through touch. Here, you can dip your hands into the shallow pool and feel the textures of fascinating creatures that inhabit our oceans. 

Run your fingers over the smooth skin of a stingray, gently touch the spiny exoskeleton of a sea urchin, or observe the intricate patterns on the shells of hermit crabs. Trained staff members are present to guide visitors, provide information about the animals, and ensure a safe and enriching experience. 

The touch pool encourages hands-on learning, promoting a deeper appreciation for the wonders of marine biodiversity and the need for its protection.

Plan Your Visit

Ready to start planning your Anna Maria Island Adventure? Whether you’re looking to explore sea life or spend your days relaxing in the sand, our family-friendly resort is the perfect place to call home while you’re here. View all of our accommodations and start planning your getaway today!

Otters & Their Waters

This exhibit features some of the Mote’s furry family members, Huck, Pippi, and Jane! These three Mote inhabitants were once orphaned and too young to survive alone, but through the help of the center and their wildlife rehabilitators, they were raised and now call the center home!

Guests get an “otters eye” view of the homes and habitats of North American river otters and watch as splash, play, and live!

“Draw Alive” Station

The “Draw Alive” station at the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center offers a unique blend of art and technology, inviting visitors to unleash their creativity and witness their drawings come to life. Equipped with digital drawing tools, participants can let their imagination soar as they create marine-themed artwork. 

Once the artwork is complete, it is scanned and magically transformed into animated scenes featuring marine creatures. Watch as your artwork swims, dives, and interacts on a digital screen, bringing your imagination to life in a captivating way. 

The “Draw Alive” station not only fosters artistic expression but also emphasizes the interconnectedness of art and science, encouraging visitors to explore the beauty of marine life from a different perspective.

Swimming otter
Photo from Shutterstock

Hours and Location

Conveniently located at the Anna Maria City Pier, the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center offers visitors a picturesque setting and easy accessibility. Situated along the coast of Anna Maria Island, the center benefits from its coastal location, allowing for a deeper understanding of the local marine ecosystems and their conservation needs.

To accommodate visitors, the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center opens its doors from Monday to Saturday, providing ample opportunities to explore its exhibits and engage with the educational programs. Operating hours are from 10 am to 5 pm, ensuring visitors have sufficient time to immerse themselves in the various attractions, participate in informative presentations, and interact with knowledgeable staff members.

The center’s location also offers visitors the chance to explore the Anna Maria City Pier and its surrounding attractions. After a visit to the center, take a stroll along the pier, enjoy panoramic views of the coastline, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of this charming coastal town.

Where to Stay on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is renowned for its pristine beaches, stunning natural beauty, and laid-back island vibes. To fully embrace the island experience and optimize your visit to the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center, staying at one of the island’s exceptional accommodations is a must!

An Anna Maria Island beach resort stay stands out as a premier option, and there is no better place than Anna Maria Beach Resort! Providing guests with an idyllic retreat steps away from the sand and surf, our Anna Maria Island resort accommodations are the perfect place to relax and unwind. The resort features a range of well-appointed rooms and suites, each thoughtfully designed to offer comfort, relaxation, and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can indulge in the resort’s amenities, including pools, hot tubs, and private beach access, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and rejuvenation.

The proximity of The Anna Maria Beach Resort to the Mote Marine Science & Outreach Center ensures convenience and ease of access. Guests can enjoy leisurely mornings exploring the exhibits, embark on afternoon beach adventures, and return to the resort to unwind and relax before another day of fun. Our resort’s dedicated staff is committed to ensuring a memorable stay, providing personalized service, and catering to the unique needs of each guest. Don’t just take our word for it. Book your stay today and experience a vacation like no other on beautiful Anna Maria Island!