The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute welcomes the public to the 19th annual MarineQuest open house on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This fun, free event introduces visitors of all ages to the state’s fish and wildlife and their habitats at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) headquarters, 100 8th Ave. S.E., in downtown St. Petersburg.

Held in conjunction with the third annual St. Petersburg Science Festival, MarineQuest offers more than 60 exhibits from FWRI and other government agencies and conservation groups.

Visitors to MarineQuest 2013 will see live fish and wildlife, including sharks, rays, alligators and snakes. Touch tanks feature critters from Tampa Bay and the Florida Keys.

Some of the state’s top researchers will demonstrate how they rescue distressed manatees, tag fish and monitor red tide. They will also provide pointers on identifying Florida panther tracks.

Experts on sea turtles, scallops and sharks and rays will entertain audiences with presentations about their research.

The Choctaw bass, a freshwater fish species newly discovered by FWRI scientists and rarely seen by the public, will be on display.

Visitors can hone their bow-and-arrow skills at the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network’s archery station. Children can get creative, with wildlife origami, marine magnets and the Japanese art of “gyotaku” – fish printing. Wearable art offerings include face painting and marine tattoos.

Free event parking is available at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg parking garage at the corner of 5th Ave. S. and 3rd St. S.

Sponsors include the Tampa Bay Times, the city of St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

For more information about MarineQuest 2013, visit, and “like” FWRI on Facebook at

This event is designed to provide equal opportunity for enjoyment by all participants. To request any particular aids or services pursuant to disability laws, please contact the event planner at 727-896-8626 or the city of St. Petersburg Community Affairs Division

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