Public invited to open house at Deep Bay Marine Field Station

Marilyn Assaf

Vancouver Island University

Monday, March 25 2013

Families looking for something fun and educational over the Easter weekend may want to check out the open house at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station in Bowser on Saturday, March 30. 

Touch tanks and large aquaria brimming with colourful marine creatures from local waters will delight young and old alike, along with plenty of fun-filled activities throughout the day including artists demonstrations, a First Nations interpretive walk, displays and face painting. An oyster bar, refreshments and snacks will also be available, as well as door prizes. 

“The open house is part of our contribution to the Brant Festival this year,” said manager Brian Kingzett. “We know many families have visitors during the Easter long weekend and will be looking for things to do. The open house provides a perfect day trip from just about anywhere on Vancouver Island.” 

The Deep Bay Marine Field Station, located about an hour’s drive north of Nanaimo in the community of Bowser, is a key research facility for Vancouver Island University and is fast becoming a popular tourism destination for the region. 

The facility supports coastal and marine research related to sustainable shellfish aquaculture development, preservation of coastal ecosystems and interdisciplinary projects involving local communities. It is also open to the public year round as a marine science centre. The touch tanks and aquaria offer hands-on learning opportunities to educate schoolchildren, community members and other groups about marine life. 

The building is an attraction in itself with a distinctive clamshell shaped roof and unique sustainability features. “We’re one of the greenest buildings on the Island,” said Kingzett. 

With its stunning panoramic views and on-site culinary facilities, the field station is becoming a popular venue for weddings, celebrations, conferences, workshops and other events. Staff at the field station are available to help arrange interpretive tours for school and community groups and individuals, customized workshops, birthday parties and overnight programs. 

The field station is open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can take a self- guided tour of the facility, learn about what makes the unique building so ‘green’, marine conservation issues and how to help protect the environment. During certain times of the year, visitors can observe research currently underway in labs from the viewing mezzanine. 

“And of course everyone raves about the amazing views of Baynes Sound from our deck,” said Kingzett.

Admission is free during the March 30 open house. Regular admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, or $15 for a family of four (two adults, two children). 

For more information, visit www.viu.ca/deepbay.