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Families learn about marine animals and their environment at free Jones Beach festival

A harbor seal at the Jones Beach Fishing

A harbor seal at the Jones Beach Fishing Pier. Credit: Linda Karlin

Families can match half a dozen marine mammals to the sounds they make, hear a dressed-up Captain Jones tell the story of Jones Beach, and wander through a kelp forest during the Marine Mammals Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center at Jones Beach.

The free event is the second in a series of Nature Center mini-festivals planned for 2019 that are meant to educate families about the environment, says Pam Hunter, environmental educator for the New York State Parks Long Island Regional Environmental Education Office. January offered a Winter Festival, and Earth Day will be celebrated with a festival in April, Hunter says. Also on the agenda is a pollinator festival honoring bees and butterflies and an astronomy festival, she says.  

During the Marine Mammals Festival, participants can visit a variety of stations at the nature center that also include putting together a dolphin jigsaw puzzle, learning about baleen whales that eat by straining seawater through thick fibers that hang from their mouths to capture fish, and making an otter-related craft. A self-guided seal walk will also be offered, Hunter says.

The Nature Center is at the West End of Jones Beach State Park. For more information, call 516-780-3295 or visit

Families can hear Captain Jones tell stories, match marine animals with the sounds they make, and more.


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