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Marine Education Center

Sea Camp

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global health crisis, the Marine Education Center, by following policies set by The University of Southern Mississippi, is canceling all person-to-person educational programming through August 2020 including our summer camps. The University remains open, and our team at the MEC will use this time of disruption to conceive and execute innovative on-line programs that continue our mission of education and outreach for USM's School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

campers on suspension bridge
Summer 2020 marks year 33 for Sea Camp

Marine educators provide students with a rich educational experience wrapped up in lots of fun, games and hands-on activities.

kids on peetsyParticipants explore coastal salt marshes with educators aboard the university research vessel, the Miss Peetsy B. Activities include live animal encounters with coastal wildlife and opportunities to fish, crab, seine and sieve. Students will participate in field trips appropriate for their ages, such as exploring beach habitats or a day at Ship Island.


Sea Camp Handbook

Summer Camp Flyer

Grades 1st - 2nd — $235, 3rd - 4th — $260, 5th - 6th — $285

June 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26    |   July 6-10, 13-17, 20-24

Online Registration - Registration for Sea Camp is offered only online. Paper forms are no longer used. University faculty, staff and students receive 20% Discount on camp tuition!

Fees are $235 for 1st and 2nd grades, $260 for 3rd and 4th grades and $285 for 5th and 6th grades. Sea Camp registration requires a $50.00 non-refundable deposit.

For more information, contact the Marine Education Center by email or call 228.818.8095.

Drop-off 7:45-8:00 a.m. and pick-up is between 2:45-3:00 p.m.

Note: For GCRL, Ocean Springs campers, 3rd-6th graders, drop-off on Thursdays is 8:00 a.m. and pick-up is at 5:00 p.m. to accommodate the trip to Ship Island.

Sea Camp participants are put into one of three groups that include activities age appropriate for each of the groups. 

  • Group A: 1st and 2nd grades
  • Group B: 3rd and 4th grades
  • Group C: 5th and 6th grades

Over the past 33 years, GCRL’s Sea Camp has become a summer tradition on the Coast.  Since 1989, more than 12,000 students have enjoyed this fun and educational program. During its life, Sea Camp has evolved to be more than an educational experience; it’s also become a family affair. Many of today’s students are the children of former Sea Campers. Other Sea Camp students have returned as staff members and then gone on to complete college degrees in marine sciences and become scientists and educators themselves.

Sea Camp is designed to foster an awareness and understanding of the coast’s fragile marine and aquatic environments in children ages 6 to 13. Campers learn about coastal stewardship through both classroom and field experiences.  Hands-on experience such as crabbing, fishing, seining, and sieving bring these valuable lessons to life for the campers.

This year’s theme is Coastal Conservation. On trips to local beaches, marshes, and Ship Island students will explore all aspects of the Gulf of Mexico and the creatures that live there. Educational art projects are used to reinforce the marine science lessons. These experiences educate children in ocean literacy and environmental stewardship, and connect them to the research conducted by GCRL.

Sea Camp was born in 1989 at GCRL’s J.L. Scott Marine Education Center & Aquarium in Biloxi. The Center housed Mississippi's largest public aquarium and featured many marine educational programs. Like many other coast landmarks, the Marine Education Center was lost to the winds and waters of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. By the next summer, the Marine Education Center and Sea Camp had found a new home on the campus of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. The new location has the advantages of a large campus with live oaks, a cafeteria, a pier for fishing and learning to throw a cast net, and dozens of scientists nearby. Without skipping a beat after Katrina, Sea Camp continues to provide all the wonderful educational programming for which it is known.

Come explore the Mississippi Coast and the creatures that live here!

Gulf Coast Feature

Discover and explore the coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico.

Sea Camp is a great avenue to introduce young people to the rich diversity of coastal habitats and life found along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a fun and hands-on learning experience. Sea Camp is not only creating more knowledgeable environmental stewards but it is also helping form our future scientists.

Sam Clardy, Associate Director

Contact Us

Marine Education Center
101 Sweet Bay Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564

GCRL - Cedar Point

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