Maria Mitchell Aquarium, Nantucket

February 11, 2023

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The aquarium, which is on the water’s edge of Nantucket Harbor, is a fitting place to learn about the island’s fascinating marine life.

Everything from jellyfish and crabs to tropical fish and sea stars is on display, and the exhibits are continuously changing. At the end of each season, the aquarium releases all of the locally collected species back into the wild.

Jack Dubinsky, the aquarium’s director, leads a group of enthusiastic student interns and volunteers on expeditions to the beaches of Nantucket in search of marine species to display at the aquarium’s flagship location on Washington Street. By using snorkels, seines, and a thorough coastline search, they bring in over a hundred different marine animals, which represent approximately 70 different species each season.

At the end of the summer, the MMA hosts about 200 people for Release Day. This is when we say our final goodbyes to our aquatic friends and let them go back into the ocean.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a non-profit, private organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA is dedicated to continuing Maria Mitchell’s (a native of Nantucket) work as an educator, an astronomer, a naturalist, and a librarian. The Maria Mitchell Association maintains two observatories, a natural history museum, an aquarium, a research facility, and Maria Mitchell’s original birthplace. Through the course of the year, they provide a wide range of educational programming in the areas of science and history appropriate for audiences of all ages.

The MMA has grand ambition in making the next steps in its evolution. A move has been in the works for more than 10 years and it’s scheduled to happen at the end of 2023. The new building will provide more learning opportunities via actual experience,  public spaces, and rain gardens.