Opened in 1998 in a former private residence in downtown Delray Beach, Florida, Sandoway Discovery Center is a nonprofit center focused on the native coastal environment and its inhabitants. The Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has plans to expand the outdoor area with an additional touch tank for stingrays in the coming year.
The Center is closed on Mondays- more information on hours here.
The Center offers free, two hour parking for visitors (be quick- there are only 12 spots available). Ask the reception staff for a display for your car. There is a metered lot directly behind the Center, and street metered parking ($1.50/hour- two hour limit)
The first floor of the Center and the outside pool is handicap accessible. Stroller parking is available on the front porch.
Restrooms are located on the first floor and there is a small gift shop near the reception area.
Make sure to check out the daily feeding schedule here.
Plan on 90-120 minutes to fully explore the Center and watch a feeding presentation.
10 Things to Do at Sandoway Discovery Center
1. Say hello to the blue and gold macaw Mr. Crystal and Maggie, the tortoise, who greet visitors on the front porch.
2. Learn the different between reptiles and amphibians and other fun trivia through several interactive touch screens throughout the Center.
3. Look through the microscopes to get a closer look at various objects from the sea (and grab a grade specific list of experiments.
4. Practice shark tagging skills (use the checklists to track your progress).
5. Choose a favorite fish or starfish in the 15,000 gallon Coral Reef Aquarium. There are opportunities to touch various star fish throughout the day.
6. Research the anatomy of sharks and the various types of shark teeth (sharks have 50-100 teeth!)
7. (Quietly!) spy on a Virginia opossum and owl in the Nocturnal Room upstairs.
8. Open all the drawers in the Shell Gallery to see shells from around the world. Make sure to listen for ocean sounds inside some of the larger shells!
9. Relax with a good beach-themed book in the children’s room upstairs. There are bean bags in the reading nook, a coloring station, and sets of binoculars to take out on the observation deck to watch the ocean waves across the street.
10. Watch an animal feeding and listen to a staff member explain the habitats of sharks, alligators, and stingrays. This was our favorite part of our visit. We watched three nurse sharks and a puffer fish fight over food as a staff member told stories, shared trivia and answers tons of questions. Each feeding last about 15-20 questions and the staff was enthusiastic, friendly, and knowledgeable.
Nearby Fun: The Atlantic Ocean is directly across the street. Be sure to check out the beautiful beach and be on the lookout for shells. Less than a quarter mile away is Atlantic Avenue, with dozens of shops and restaurants. Two casual, family friendly restaurants are Bostons on the Beach for salad, seafood, and tacos and BurgerFi for burgers and fries.