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Aquatic Visitors Center

Aquatic Visitors Center
310 OH-357
Put-in-Bay, OH 43456 419-285-3701

Looking for some FREE Put-in-Bay Attractions this summer? One of the best educational Put-in-Bay Attractions is the Aquatic Visitors Center, made possible by the Ohio Sea Grant. Experience science up close and personal at this historic location, located on Ohio State University's island campus. Between June 20th and August 25th, visit the Aquatic Visitor Center free of charge.
Children under the age of 16 can borrow a pole and bait provided by ODNR Division of Wildlife. Fish such as: bluegill, bass, yellow perch, and/or pumpkinseed are all available to catch! Families will also learn about the food chain during their visit. Freshly caught round gobies, an invasive species, are fed to the hungry fish in the aquaria daily. Feeding round gobies to the other fish help maintain the ecosystem balance.


From 1907 through 1988 the Aquatic Visitor Center served as the State Fish Hatchery. Prior to 1992, this center wasn't open to the public. ODNR Division of Wildlife converted the hatchery building into the Aquatic Visitor Center. Now you will find it too be one of the favorite Put-in-Bay Attractions visited.

With over 80 years of operation, this hatchery has raised a variety of fish species. Walleye, sauger, whitefish, herring, yellow perch, coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead have all been raised on site. You will also find countless artifacts on display.



Another reason the Aquatic Visitors Center is such a favorite Put-In-Bay attraction is their environmental research. On-site you will find the nation's oldest biological freshwater field station, Stone Laboratory. It is located on Gibraltar Island. Guest can learn about the pressing problems facing Lake Erie and current research projects seeking solutions. Walleye tracking, fish biology, and aquatic invasive species are all studied in great detail. Based on the data collected, the researchers can provide suggested solutions for the government to consider.


Things to Do

- Learn about the Lake Erie ecosystem with hands-on experiments
- Explore Lake Eries tiny inhabitants with microscopes
- Discover and observe live Lake Erie fish species
- Find out about the history and current Fish Hatchery operations
- Take a guided tour (for an additional $4 p/p)
Once you've learned all about Lake Erie fishing history, consider going deeper and renting a kayak. Kayak The Bay is very close to the Aquatic Visitor Center. This is the perfect way to apply what you learned and burn off a few calories along the way. Hope you enjoy your educational visit and have fun too!