SIMS Discovery Centre

The next general opening of the Discovery Centre will be on 9th April 2017, 10am – 2pm. Or if you have a large group, why not book an organised tour.

The historic sandstone mine labs at the foreshore of Chowder Bay are the perfect backdrop for the new SIMS Discovery Centre, which has been more than a year in the making! The two historic rooms have been fitted out with a series of beautiful displays that showcase what SIMS is all about – research of the marine, coastal and estuarine environment. The impacts of human activities on our coasts and oceans are at the heart of much of SIMS’ research and the new centre.

The entry room is a celebration of Port Jackson i.e. Sydney Harbour showcasing the wonderful diversity of marine life, habitats and ecosystems we have at our doorstep. Rocky reefs, above and below the water, are particularly featured. Highlights of this exhibit are a 3-d model of the harbour, which shows the harbour’s complex shape and topography of the seafloor, and a virtual dive using 3-d virtual reality goggles. The virtual dive has been designed specifically for SIMS and aims to immerse visitors into the magical world of a local kelp forest, the most prominent ecosystem on our temperate rocky shores. Reactions of visitors so far have been overwhelmingly positive with comments such as “I don’t want to stop!” and “This is amazing!”.

“Leaving the harbour” – the second room leads visitors onto the open coast. The main themes explored here are the East Australian Current, the main boundary current along the east coast of Australia, and the impacts of climate change on this current system and coastal ecosystems. Exhibits in this room tell the story of individual scientists and their research projects. Gorgeously designed digital displays invite visitors to explore the stories behind the research and learn about topics such as coastal erosion, coral bleaching, toxic algal blooms and eddies to name just a few.  Scientists of the NSW Department of Primary Industries have also contributed to the display with a series of fascinating stories on the management of fisheries in a changing climate.

SIMS is very excited to be able to welcome visitors to its new centre, which offers something to everyone; physical models to touch, colourful images to enjoy, a virtual dive and modern touch screens to delve deeper into the research presented. We are looking forward to seeing you in the centre soon!

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