Virginia Institute of Marine Science

CBNERR Public Programs

Community outreach is a priority for the CBNERR Education department. Reserve staff provide environmental programs at Estuaries Day, Marine Science Day, Dragon Run Day, as well as offering a Discovery Lab series open to the public on various marine science topics.

Discovery Labs

The monthly Discovery Lab series provides fun, family-friendly experiences and lifelong learning. Each lab focuses on a specific topic through a series of stations that provide hands-on activities for kids and adults. Participants look through microscopes, observe live animals, partake in crafts and games, and view research posters.  Both VIMS faculty and students participate as speakers, sharing their research with the general public in an intimate setting. 

2016 Topics

Registration is required.  Registration forms are available for the current month's lab only. For more information about each lab, please see our flyer.

January 19—The Benthos

February 16—Plankton

March 15—Marine Mammals

April 19—Bivalves

June 21—Plant Adaptations Registration Open

July 19—Rays

August 23—Eels

October 18—Mad Lab

Time and Place
  • Discovery Labs typically take place on the third or fourth Tuesday of each month.
  • The labs run from 6-8 pm with a speaker at 6:30 pm.
  • The labs take place in the Catlett-Burress Research and Education Teaching lab (Building #132 on VIMS campus map).
  • Driving directions (pdf).

Discovery Labs are appropriate for all ages.


Discovery Labs are free.

Discovery Days (Homeschools)

Discovery Days are daytime sessions of our January, February, March, and April labs for the families of homeschool students.  These labs take place the day immediately following the original Discovery Lab. We will have recordings of our speakers available in addition to all of the activities and exhibits that are available at the nightly labs. 

There will be two sessions offered for each Discovery Day. The first session will take place from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, and the second session will take place from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM.  While Discovery Days are free, registration is required due to limited space.  Registration information will be sent out approximately one month in advance of each event by CBNERR educator, Kristen Sharpe. If interested, please email so that you may be included in the monthly email correspondences.


Contact Sarah McGuire Nuss, 804-684-7878 for more information.

Past Discovery Lab and After Hours Presentations