Ocean Discovery Day

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All are welcome to Ocean Discovery Day where you'll discover Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at UNH! From ocean acoustics to plankton, there's something for everyone! Designed to engage explorers of all ages, Ocean Discovery Day offers a variety of hands-on activities and presentations.

Get a glimpse at the latest technology used to map the ocean floor, see how scientists use data sondes to monitor the water quality in the Great Bay Estuary and how acoustic technology is used to study marine life. Participants can operate a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), touch a sea star, try your hand at knot tying, marine-related arts and crafts, and so much more. This family-friendly event is FREE!



Student Day
Friday, Oct. 20, 2023
8:30 am – 2:00 pm

Public Open House
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023
10:00 am – 3:00 pm


Jere A. Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory
UNH Campus
24 Colovos Road
Durham, NH 03824


Parking for each event varies. Please see individual program page for parking information.

For directions to the UNH Durham campus as well as parking and campus maps, visit the UNH Transportation Center website.

Program and Activities

2023's program will be available closer to the event, until then, take a look at some of the activities from our last Ocean Discovery Day!

3-D Topography Sandbox - Possibly the coolest sandbox ever! You can "move mountains" with our 3D topography sandbox. Every hill, valley, or mountain you create in the sand will automatically change color to match its new "elevation" – and it's all projected on the screen!

Aquaculture – Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) is a self-contained aquaculture system that allows multiple species to grow at the same time within a single floating structure. “Multi-trophic” refers to levels of a food web. Each of the different species in the IMTA system provides a benefit to the others: Steelhead trout, blue mussels, kelp and dulse. Find out why aquaculture is important to the local economy.

Aerial Dance Team

Autonomous Surface Vehicles – These unmanned surface vehicles play a vital role in collecting data for our researchers. Demonstrations at 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. in the wave tank in the High Bay.

Autonomous Surface Vehicles – UNH Student Team

Character Corner – You and your friends can take a selfie with Will the Krill in our Character Corner. Post #UNHOCEAN

Coastal Bathymetry Survey System (CBASS) – This modified jet ski is used to help measure our coastal shores.

Marine Invertebrates with the Coastal Marine Laboratory – GPS on a lobster?!? Find out what researchers are learning as the track lobsters in their natural habitat.

Coastal Rompers Girl Scout Troop

COLSA – Admissions – Thinking about a career in Marine Biology? Come talk to our admission staff about how we can help you!

Deep Ocean Exploration SeaPerch Program – Drive a Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV).

Diving Demonostrations - 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. in the "big tank"!

Does it Float – Buoyancy – What makes some objects floats and others sink?

Drones – Researchers rely on drones to help monitor our coastal waters.

Earth Sciences/IODP (International Ocean Discovery Program) Scientific Ocean Drilling

Estuaries - Estuaries occur where "rivers meet the sea." They provide critical wildlife habitat, nurseries for many marine species, buffering from coastal flooding, recreational enjoyment, and safe harbor for marine commerce and the maritime industry. New Hampshire is home to two major estuaries: the Great Bay Estuary and the Hampton-Seabrook Estuary.

Fish Printing – Using fish to create art. 

Fresh Water Quality and Water Chemistry- The exhibit will be a simulation of land use and ecosystem effects on water quality. A water quality sensor will measure turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, organic matter, temperature. Visitors will be guided through ecosystem manipulations, such as road salt application, algae blooms, fertilizer application, leaf fall, and they can watch how water chemistry changes on a computer monitor in real time. The exhibit will promote watershed health and ecosystem thinking, as well as exposure to some of the technologies used in research.

Friends of the Earth, Sea & Space Center

Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association - Marine Education Resources

Jelly Fish

Kelp – Are you taller than a kelp blade? And Tiny Critters in the Great Bay.

Knot Tying

Lobsters! Have you ever measured a lobster? How about banding a lobster? Give both a try at this exhibit!

Lumpfish – Have you ever heard of a lumpfish? Find out why UNH scientists and students are studying lumpfish here in New Hampshire.

Mapping the Sea Floor – Over 70% of the earth is covered by water, yet on 10% of it is mapped. Find out how UNH scientists are mapping the ocean floors and why.

Marine Mammals Program – Ever wonder how a whale stays warm in the fridge ocean waters or how long is a humpback whale? Visit the Marine Mammals table to find the answers to both questions and more!

Marine Microbes – Small but Mighty!

Marine Phytoplankton Demonstrations

New Hampshire Community Seafood Program

Ocean Currents - Boats and Drifters with Educational Passages – Educational Passages offers school groups an opportunity to build and set sail drifters. Learn how!

Ocean Exploration through Telepresence – Find out how researchers are remotely exploring the ocean.

Ocean Visualization – Researchers collect and data this data is transferred into advanced visualization tools through the “VisLab”.

Oyster River Cat – Sailboat – Learn how you can build your own sailboat!

Plate Tectonics – Plate tectonics is a scientific theory describing the large-scale motion of seven large plates and the movements of smaller plates. What happens when these plates move?

Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) – PREP is working to help keep our estuaries healthy. Learn how.

Salt Marsh Resilience to Sea-Level Rise – Learn how salt marshes are affected by sea level rise.

SCUBA – SCUBA equipment demos.

Seacoast Science Center - What should you do if you spot a seal or other marine mammal on the beach? Our partners from The Seacoast Science Center's Marine Mammal Rescue Team know the answers and will share with you at Ocean Discovery Day!

Settle Down! Surfs Up! – What happens when the oceans over wash our sea walls?

Sounds in The Sea: Ocean Acoustics - Art and Science - Artist Lindsay Olson from Columbia College Chicago will display textile-based art that visually documents the underwater soundscape of sea life in the Atlantic Ocean. (10:00 am – 12:30 pm only)

Squid Dissection – Dissect a squid! This is a popular activity that takes approximately 45 minutes. Participants can expect to wait in line for the activity. Activity will run until we runout of squid.

Underwater Robotics w/UNH's ROV Teams – UNH students design and construct their own underwater remotely operated vehicles.

Water Quality with UNH’s Earth Systems Research Center – Learn how land use and our ecosystems affect water quality. Visitors will be guided through ecosystem manipulations, such as road salt application, algae blooms, fertilizer application, leaf fall, and they can watch how water chemistry changes on a computer monitor in real time.

Under the Gulf of Maine

UNH Research Vessels – R/V Challenger and R/V Gulf Surveyor – Research vessels are an important tool to marine scientists. Learn the different ways vessels are to conduct marine research.

Weather Forecasting/Visualization – Check out the interactive weather forecasting map.

And so much more!