Are the barnacles feeding? Will the hermit crab switch shells yet again? Here you'll learn about all the exciting happenings at our Marine Life Touch Tank in Portsmouth and our Blue Ocean Discovery Center in Hampton Beach, NH!

Locations and Hours:
- Blue Ocean Discovery Center, 170 Ocean Boulevard, Hampton Beach, NH (just north of the Sea Shell stage). Open 10 AM-7 PM daily until early September, and weekends in the fall and spring. Like Us on Facebook

- Marine Life Touch Tank in Portsmouth, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company dock, 315 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH. Open Tuesday-Friday, 9 AM-12 PM until late August. Like Us on Facebook
We'd love to hear your questions and comments! Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I have been following the real time activities of a NOAA research vessel off the Massachusetts coast.  See link


You get to experience the data, views, and conditions experienced by this research expedition in real time...in your PJS, with a beverage...and with expert color commentary.  No duct taping the bunk sheets to the mattress on a R/V reality needed.  No guessing what the strange albino thing is.  An expert tells you!!!  Watch the different views and data feeds and experience what it must be like to be in the control room in Houston ( a tiny bit perhaps?)

So completely interesting and inspiring and yikes how can there still be so much to learn?  Yes.  Please use my taxes for this.  Excuse me while I go grab a beverage and play desktop scientist.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Be the Difference

This group came to Hampton at 3:30 on a Saturday to participate in our daily beach clean up.  They braved parking and traffic and 10 of them helped clean the beach.  And the beach....well the beach was so CLEAN today except for the ever present cigarette butts.  The kids were calling what little trash they saw and racing to collect it.  8# of trash was collected in total.  Afterwards critters were visited and crafts were made by even the biggest of the kids.  Thank you so much!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wish Upon a Sea Star

Have you ever seen a shooting star and made a wish? Well, we wished on our sea stars that our touch tank in Hampton would be totally awesome and people would love it. And.....guess what!? Our wish came true. People love our touch tank and we have had the pleasure of educating and meeting over 2,500 people in our first month. We couldn't have had this much success without our amazing animals.

Pictured below are the fabulous Jonah crab and a large Northern sea star. Jonah crabs are a native of New England. They like to hide themselves in the rocks of the tidal zone. When handled they often draw into themselves; almost like the way a tortoise draws into its shell. They have a bumpy and pinkish colored carapace (shell) with black tips on the end of their pincher claws. They are often confused with rock crabs, another native crab of New England. However, rock crabs have a smoother and pointer carapace which is often more red in color. Yet, they are still hard to tell apart but the crab pictured below is an excellent example of a Jonah crab.

As for our sea star, it is the most common sea star found in the area. They have five arms. They may have six arms but this is very rare and then they are called a Polar star. If they lose an arm it will grow back. This is called autonomy. The regrowth may take months or years and at this time the animals is susceptible to disease and predation. The Northern sea stars have small spikes on top to protect their soft bodies. They move very slowly and can travel only one mile in a week. I thought snails were slow! Sea stars enjoy feeding on mussels, clams and other shelled animals. They shoot their stomachs outside of their body, excrete digestive juices and then suck their stomach back in once their food is digested.

We love our animals and you will too. Hope to see you soon.

~ Your marine loving friends at the Blue Ocean Society

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Marshmallow Sea Urchins!

This week join Blue Ocean Society at the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company dock to visit with our critters and make a take home craft. This week's craft is the ever popular marshmallow sea urchin! Some of you may remember this craft from last year too.

Here is one of our faithful visitors, Ned, with his sea creature creation!

We also have some new additions to the tank that are worth checking out. Our sea anemones have been scooting around the tank lately, and we never know where they will pop up next!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cleaning Our Beaches

Today we had the awesome help of Exavier, a young boy that was very unhappy about all the trash on the beach so he decided he wanted to help us with one of our daily clean ups. He collected one huge bag of trash weighing 7 pounds. And you want to know the sad part, this was only in about 20 minutes of walking around Hampton Beach. However, in order to make this a less sad situation, the Discovery Center has been doing a beach clean up everyday. In one month, we have collected over one hundred pounds of trash so that we can help keep our oceans clean. Trash is not only disgusting to look at while you are trying to enjoy a lovely day at the beach, but it is also harmful to marine animals and humans. Trash is dirty and is the perfect place for bacteria to grow, therefore it can contaminate water where humans swim. It can also entangle marine animals such as whales, dolphins and sharks. Oops sharks aren't a marine mammal, they are a fish right everyone? Yes, they are a fish because they use gills to breathe and they do not have calcium bones but cartilage instead. Trash can also be ingested by marine birds causing them to fill on plastics and eventually causing them to starve. Therefore, in order to help reduce the horrible effects of trash we at the Blue Ocean Society do a beach clean up everyday at 3:30 PM at our Hampton Beach Discovery Center. Please join us and do your part to make the ocean a little bit cleaner for everyone.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lunch Time at the Portsmouth Touch Tank

It was feeding day down at our touch tank for the crabs. Join us at the tank every Tuesday through Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. We have public feedings at 11:30 AM on Tuesday and Friday.

Check out this green crab prying open a blue lip mussel for his lunch.

Green crabs are an invasive species from Europe. The cold waters here used to keep our native species safe from this invasive, however with warming ocean temperatures the green crab is starting to settle right in. This could cause problems for native species such as scallops, mussels, and clams which are now eaten by the ever increasing population of green crabs.

Come join Blue Ocean Society at one of our touch tank locations to learn more about the green crab and other species found in the Gulf of Maine.

Rainy Day Tide Pool Meditation


It's cold and rainy outside but these 4 kids are having an authentic tide pool experience with some of our periwinkles.  Listen and you will hear a hum.  No they are not meditating...maybe they are.  When you hum to a periwinkle they will usually open up and venture out of their shell.  This innocuous little animal suddenly becomes animated and responsive as it slowly opens up and then peeks out of its shell.    The meditation pays off and these kids will never overlook a periwinkle again.