The Marine Mammal Stranding Center (3625 Brigantine Blvd, Brigantine, 609-266-0538, http://www.mmsc.org) is devoted to rescuing stranded or injured whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and other sea animals found on NJ beaches. The are rehabilitated and eventually returned to their natural habitat. The center’s small Sea Lie Museum houses hands-on exhibits and offers occasional workshops. Hours change daily so call ahead.
The Meadowlands Environment Center (2 DeKorte Plaza, Lyndhurts, 201-460-8300, http://www.njmeadowlandscommission.org) is a great place to get a close look at NJ cedar swamps, salt marshes and the plant and animal life surrounding them. inside the Interactive Learning Center, you’ll find everything from dioramas to taxidermy to microscopes loaded with plant and animal specimens. Kids will love the Super Marsh, where plant and animals are larger than life–your little one can even climb an 8 foot long turtle once your indoor tour is complete, head out to the nature trails and onto the marsh. There are many routes to choose from, but the Marsh Discovery Trail is a manageable three-quarter mile walk along a floating boardwalk. It wraps around the marsh and brings you close to plant and animal life. Guided tours, nature walks, workshops, and canoe trips are also available.