Head to Woods Hole for a day of ocean discovery

See 140 different species of marine animals at the Woods Hole Aquarium. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

Vacations are for unplugging, but if you want to keep your noggin in tip-top shape during your Cape Cod stay head to Woods Hole. 

Woods Hole, a village of Falmouth, is home to some of the world's most prestigious oceanographic research organizations. 

Along with visitors to this picturesque hamlet and tourists catching a ferry to Martha's Vineyard, Woods Hole plays host to a steady stream of researchers and scientists. 

Three of the major facilities have visitor centers--each telling an interesting scientific study.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Open mid-April through December, the Ocean Science Exhibit Center has several exhibits about the ocean research conducted by the institution. One of the exhibits focuses on Alvin, the deep submersible used to discover and explore the wreck of the Titanic in the mid 1980s. Visitors can even step inside a full-sized model of the inner sphere of Alvin.

There is a suggested donation of $3 for visitors ten and over. The Ocean Science Exhibit Center is at 15 School Street in Woods Hole.

Marine Biological Laboratory

The Marine Biological Laboratory, or MBL, has been in operation since 1888. 

The Pierce Exhibit Center is open May through October and is open by appointment only, November through April. The exhibits at the center tell the story of MBL's impact on life science. Admission is free.

The Pierce Exhibit Center and MBL Gift Shop are at 100 Water Street in Woods Hole.

Woods Hole Science Aquarium

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium is open year-round, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Established in 1885, it is the oldest marine aquarium in the country.

This small aquarium is home to 140 species of marine animals including two non-releasable harbor seals, LuSeal and Bumper. 

Admission to the aquarium is free, but donations are welcomed. In addition to the impressive tanks and behind-the-scenes view of the aquarium, consider catching a seal feeding, most days at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

The Woods Hole Aquarium is at 166 Water Street in Woods Hole.

Parking in Woods Hole is at a minimum. Consider parking near Falmouth's Main Street and take the WHOOSH Trolley to Woods Hole. Trolley service operates seven days a week during the summer. Catch the trolley at a designated stop, or flag the driver down anywhere along the route.

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The CapeCodTravel staff aims to bring you the best of Cape Cod including tips from hospitality experts about the best places to eat, the best places to stay and how to make the most of your Cape Cod vacation.