The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago. Learn more about the Marine Biological Laboratory by visiting the Pierce Exhibit Center at 100 Water Street open from April - October. Free public tours are available M-F in July and August at 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM. Reservations are required.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Jun 2014 • Couples
This is definitely not your average aquarium visit. For those of us that enjoy learning about marine life, sea creatures' contributions to our ecosystems, their anatomical oddities and gifts, how neuroscientists are learning from the oldest creatures in the world--then this is for you. The tour is educational and run by volunteers. They take you back stage to see their water tanks and live sea-inhabitants and allow you to enjoy a hands-on experience with many of them. I promise you that you will learn at least one fascinating fact.
Written July 21, 2014
Jul 2018 • Solo
I love woods hole and the research being done. I don’t love seeing perfectly healthy, intelligent animals being held captive. The poor female octopus in the gift shop spends her days banging her head into the corner of her small fish tank she sadly calls home. PETA can do nothing as the laws aren’t in place to protect these poor creatures. She just wants to be free.
Written July 23, 2018
Thank you for visiting the Marine Biological Laboratory on your recent trip to Woods Hole and thank you for your concern about the welfare of the octopus located in our Exhibit Center. The health of the animals in our care is of utmost concern to us. Our highly-trained and experienced animal care specialists evaluate the health of all animals at the laboratory daily to make their stay with us as comfortable as possible. In the wild, many octopus species, including the species on display in the exhibit center, Octopus vulgaris, live in dens and prefer to inhabit small spaces. For this species the tank size in the exhibit center is appropriate and we ensure this is the case through our daily monitoring. Cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish, nautilus) can provide unique scientific value and MBL researchers are embarking on a groundbreaking new effort to culture cephalopods in the laboratory with the goal of creating a new model organism. You can learn more about this work and all MBL research by taking a free MBL tour (mbl.edu/tours) or by visiting mbl.edu/cephalopods.
Written July 24, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Aug 2017 • Couples
I had signed up in advance for one of their twice a day limited space tours. It starts in the visitor center & moves across the street to the holding tanks where we saw horseshoe crabs and starfish. The two children on the tour were totally fascinated by all this and even the adults were having fun. We went outside to see the striped bass swimming around in the pond at the rear of the lab. We then went to the library which was ok but nothing special. Good history lesson about some of the famous researchers. Since the tour is free and the volunteer docent seems to enjoy his "work" I thought it was an ok use of an hour.
Written September 11, 2017
Jul 2017 • Solo
Great little piece of history at the laboratory and so many scientific discoveries have taken place there. Amazing lab for biology students to spend a summer researching marine biology.
Written July 31, 2017
Aug 2015 • Couples
Our docent-led tour of MBL was very interesting. I enjoyed entering the lab containing tanks of sea creatures used for study. In the library we saw scientists at work. This was an hour very well spent.
Written August 15, 2015
Jul 2018 • Friends
Woods Hole and it’s institutions line the Main Street of the village. For some inkling of what goes on there visit the WHOI visitors center on School St, it’s in an old white church building. Also the fisheries’ aquarium at the other end of Main Street is worth an hour or so, be sure to go up the stairs at the end to see the live specimen tanks. Ask questions of the staff, great for little ones. Mid town, the MBL also has a visitor center, again ask about tours. The best way is to know someone who works there and ask them for a tour, I know that’s not many of you. Woods Hole is steeped in so much science from basic research in biology to WHOI’s Alvin submersible, that found the Titanic and so much more. It is literally a world treasure, but you have to dig a little and be resourceful to discover the jewels.
Written August 18, 2018
Jul 2016 • Couples
Spent the evening there on Friday. Saw the rare books on display. Saw two Nobel certificates, and held T.H. Morgan's Nobel medal, then attended the Friday evening lecture with my favourite novice scientist. What could be better. Oh yeah, stopped off at the Captain Kidd afterwards for appetizers. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Written July 31, 2016
Aug 2015 • Friends
The first US Fisheries agency was headquartered in Woods Hole. Its successor, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration still maintains a large presence in Woods Hole with it National Marine Fisheries Commission. In the 1880s, scientists from the US Fisheries formed a partner organization called the Marine Biological Laboratory. Affiliated with the University of Chicago, MBL has over 50 Nobel Laureates having been affiliated with it over its history.
Written October 26, 2015
Sep 2015 • Solo
Free on weekdays! If you are a hobbyist this is a must see. I enjoyed viewing so many of the adult specimens found off our waters.
Written October 2, 2015
Jul 2015 • Family
We had a good time walking around and learning the history. A fun, but not execellent app that helps you get around and learn. Nice people who were willing to answer questions. Aquarium was fun too.
Written August 1, 2015
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Marine Biological Laboratory - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)
Frequently Asked Questions about Marine Biological Laboratory
- Marine Biological Laboratory is open:
- Mon - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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