What: New exhibit at Save the Bay Aquarium
Can you be more specific?: A 350 gallon, 12' x 2.5' tank featuring tropical fish rare to Narragansett Bay
When: Daily, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM through Labor Day
Admission: $8, children three years and under are free
Save The Bay, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving beautiful Narragansett Bay, is now offering a new exhibit called Bay of the Future featuring a 350-gallon, 12’ x 2.5’ tank. The largest warm-water exhibit in the history of the center, Bay of the Future features several tropical fish that normally live in the warmer waters off Florida and the southeastern coastline, but have been swept into local waters by the Gulf Stream. Some of these tropical strays include striped burrfish, crevalle jack, scamp grouper, pinfish, spotfin butterflyfish and short big-eye.
The fish are brought to Save the Bay by local fisherman and community members who know the fish would not survive the bay's cold winter waters. Save the Bay provides sanctuary and a long life for the fish, and in return they help educate visitors about marine life in Narragansett Bay and changing climate conditions.
Bay of the Future is meant to challenge guests with the question: what will Narragansett Bay look like in 1,000 years? According to Save The Bay Aquarium Manager Adam Kovarsky, water temperatures have risen four degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years. As a result, the organization has discovered a number of tropical fish that shouldn’t survive here but do. "The exhibit shows how the unnatural rising temperatures of our oceans can change the ecosystems by leading fish to travel from their natural habit into others. Animals can only travel so far north or south on our planet for cooler waters. As new animals move in, they displace the native locals,” Kovarsky says.
During educational programs at the aquarium, staff and volunteers aims to offer tips on how to help slow climate change and the negative effects that come with it, including car-pooling and taking advantage of public transportation, using alternative energy sources, turning lights off when not in use, and eating less meat. “Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air, which causes a heat-trapping blanket around the earth. By taking action to burn less fossil fuels, we can hopefully slow the warming of air and water temperatures,” Kovarsky says.
Over time, Bay of the Future the exhibit will evolve to reflect and mimic natural eelgrass beds and feature caves and crevices built of rocks from Narragansett Bay and the Caribbean. “We connect our community to our own local Bay through the many hands-on and close-up experiences at our Exploration Center and Aquarium," explains Kovarsky. "This new exhibit is especially exciting because it brings all of our tropical together in a way that really showcases the effects of climate change in our local waters."
Save The Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium is the only aquarium in Rhode Island featuring Narragansett Bay marine life exclusively. Twenty-five living and non-living exhibits, including touch tanks, an arts and crafts table and a climate change activity center, allow for interactive and hands-on experiences. At any given time, Center guests can see hundreds of animals representing about 50 different species, including Rhode Island’s endangered turtle, the Diamondback Terrapin.
Save The Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium is open daily from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM through Labor Day, and then Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM through Memorial Day. General Admission is $8, children three years and under and STB family members are free.