We've Come a Long Way

Thirty years ago, local school teachers grabbed a seine net and took a group of island visitors out to the surf. Thus was born our Tybee Island Marine Science Center.

Since 2007, over a half-million people, children to retirees, connected to the coast through the Center’s education and conservation programs.

In 2009, we developed a workplace training program for new biologists. Today, there are 72 seasoned marine science educators—working from Hawaii to Maine—who prepared for their careers with us on Tybee Island.

Sidewalk to the Sea brings Savannah’s inner city students to the island for a Coastal Classroom. Only 15 miles from the coast, this field trip is the first time many kids will see their ocean. Since 2011, with support from the City of Tybee Island, 36,800 students have gone through the program.

We’ve accomplished all of this with a single classroom, an apartment-sized exhibit gallery, and an island. Imagine the impact we’ll make with seven classrooms, a 3,500 sq. ft. exhibit gallery, and much more in our spectacular new facility—currently under construction—on Tybee’s North Beach.

Now We're Extending Our Reach

Our new Center is located on four-fifths of an acre and situated for minimal impact on the dune system and to catch prevailing winds for passive cooling and ventilation. The conditioned interior space is 5,400 sq. ft. and the ground-level open-air undercroft, of that same dimension, doubles the usable area for classes and programs. 

We are grateful to the City of Tybee Island for funding the construction of our new science center on Tybee’s North Beach.

Views include the Calibogue Sound at the Savannah River entrance and the Atlantic Ocean.

We project an increase of almost 50% in center visitation.

That means each year, we will have the capacity to reach over 100,000 people, kids to retirees, and personally connect them to wonder of our coast.

Activities include: 

Hand’s-on exploration activity, demonstrations, displays, exhibits, films, presentation kiosks, and nature-based play sites are planned throughout the facility and grounds. 

  • Open Air Gallery 
  • West Gallery 
  • East Gallery 
  • ShipWatch Loft 
  • Harbor Viewing Deck 
  • Sound Overlooks 
  • Coastal Cinema 
  • Amphitheater

Highlights include:

An elevator and ramped walkway make the center’s programs accessible to everyone.

Life-size model of a right whale fluke and the five sea turtles that nest on our beaches.

Husbandry’s animal care, collection, and rescue activities will be a working exhibit.

A 50-seat amphitheater overlooks the the shipping channel for interpreting maritime activity.

Sustainable elements include:

Cladding is 70% recycled material made with fly-ash, a coal combustion by-product.

Southern-grown black locust hardwood from North Carolina.

Cistern for harvesting rainwater for irrigation and tank usage.

Throughout the windows provide .45 visible light transmittance for the  protection of our sea turtles.

Next We'll Bring the Outside In

The island, its beaches, marsh, and tidal creeks, the ocean and Savannah River are our classrooms. Field programming is the true immersive experience, but we can’t take everyone into the field, so we need to bring the outdoors in. We’re working to create the hands-on exhibits, displays, and nature-based play spaces that will enable us to provide immersive marine science-based and conservation educational experiences that are fun and informative. Below are the early concept designs.

Open Air Gallery

Under Croft

Main Floor

Our Campaign: Bringing The Outside In

Raised to Date

Raised To Date

Bringing The Outside In is our capital fundraising effort to create an outdoor marine science education experience—indoors.

Through the generosity of the City of Tybee Island, the W.C. Fleetwood Family Foundation, the Makel family, Ikea Savannah Distribution Center we have a new facility, almost an acre of land, and all the furnishings for the science center's classrooms, operations, and gift shop. We now face our final challenge of obtaining the exhibits, displays, and nature-based play spaces that will bring the Tybee Island Marine Science Center to life. 

We cannot raise this amount alone, but with the right people and the right partnerships, we can complete a center that fosters, educates, and celebrates our special environment.

Partnership Opportunities - Click to Expand

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Our Current Partners - Thank You!

Flagship Leader - $100,000 up

  • City of Tybee Island
  • Georgia Ports Authority
  • David and Martha Makel
  • W.C. Fleetwood Family Foundation
  • Ansley and Sharon Williams – In Honor of Patrick Williams

Marine Champion - $75,000 up

  • Ikea Savannah Distribution Center

Island Sentinel - $50,000 up

  • Douglas and Barbara Duch


Ocean Guardian - $25,000 up

  • Nancy Daves – In Memory of Lindy S. Johnson
  • The Maggioni Family

Coastal Curator - $10,000 up

  • Jim and Linda Alexander
  • Craig and Diana Barrow
  • Mary Ann and Deric Beil
  • Lane A. Johnson, Esq
  • Little St. Simons Island
  • Mary Reynolds Morrison – Mary Lane Morrison Foundation
  • Cathy J. Sakas
  • Zelda and Sheldon Tenenbaum
  • Steve and Kathryn Williams

Sea Steward - $5,000 up

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous – In Honor of General Henry B. Sayler and Jessie Dixon Sayler
  • Linda Beam
  • Caretta Research Project
  • Coastal Georgia Foundation
  • Dionne Hoskins-Brown
  • Gary and Kathy Dennis
  • Dr. Pablo and Patricia Elizalde – In Honor of Douglas Duch
  • John Frey – In Memory of Mildred Frey and Dominique Audran
  • Jay and Linda Hellstrom
  • Jeanne and Tad Hutton
  • The Hutton Grandhildren -In Memory of Joe and Cissie Hutton
  • Debbie Kearney and Dale Williams
  • Lane Family Foundation
  • Jackie and Harry Moses
  • Michael and Cathy Neal
  • Diane and Henry Parkman
  • The Patel Family
  • Savannah’s World-Famous Crabettes
  • Pam and Dave Smith
  • Darlene Strickland – In Memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Kenneth and Sara Walma and Family
  • Anne P. West
  • Suzie Williams – In Memory of Nick Williams
  • Wormsloe Foundation

N.A. Right Whale $2,500 up

  • Anonymous
  • Scott Center and Tatsiana
  • Shakhmuts
  • Bobby Chu
  • Crabette Group
  • Mola Jung
  • Maria and Jerome Lancaster
  • Angela and Michael Margolit
  • John Rabun, Jr.
  • Sissy Schram Levy
  • Ruth Wilson and Medtronic Foundation Volunteer Grant Program – in honor of Jeanne Hutton

Loggerhead Sea Turtle - $1,000 up

  • Anonymous (2)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jay W. Andrews
  • Venetia Butler
  • Charles Ellis, III
  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation
  • Drs. Sam, Kristine and Catherine Evans
  • Georgia-Pacific Foundation
  • Otto and Comer Immel – In memory of Sam and Lilla Varnedoe
  • Barbara Ormond and Ted Ahlers
  • Carol Pride and Oliver Jones – In Honor of Savannah State University
  • Beth and Mark Reed
  • Cindy and Mark Stevens
  • Tybee Teeth
  • Jack Wardlaw
  • Michael and Linda Zoller

Bottlenose Dolphin - $500 up

  • Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tours – In Memory of Iris Scarbrough
  • James and Sally Chandler
  • Sue and Jim Cole
  • Jane Davis
  • Drs. John and Josepha DeVaro
  • Terri Doyle
  • Betsy and Jim Michaud
  • Michael G. and Marianne Pappas
  • Sandi Roth – Len and Kendall Cripe
  • Rock House Bar and Grill
  • Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers
  • Janet K. Will
  • Paul Wolff
  • Margaret and John Wylly

Goliath Grouper - $250 up

  • Luke Johnson
  • Patricia Leiby
  • Katherine and James McNaughton
  • Jonathan and Anna Salter
  • Steve and Kathy Salter
  • Jennie Scott
  • South Mountain Group – In Memory of George Leiby
  • Janet D. Stone
  • Dave and Cheryl Terry

Great Blue Heron $100 up

  • Anonymous (2)
  • Thomas J. Beytagh Jr.
  • Tim and Colleen Bozard
  • Alice M. Brook – In Memory of
  • Ruth A. Hoopes
  • Diane Butler
  • Mimi Cay
  • H. Lee and Kathy Cheek
  • Cheryl Clay – In Memory of Bruce Stephen Helmy and Wyman H. Sharpe
  • Debi Doverspike
  • Sharon and Don Edwards – In Honor of Anne Campbell
  • Nancy and Mike Futral
  • Captain P. Michelle Gillikin
  • Bill Goldstrohm
  • Robert and Anne Green
  • C. Hudson and Carolyn Harrison
  • Ruth Hoopes
  • John and Diane Jakubiec
  • Jennifer Leatherwood
  • Thomas Lynch
  • Bruce and Jane McElroy
  • Elaine T. McGruder
  • Kathleen McGuire and Robert Jones
  • Jared and Sarah Mullis – In Memory of Grace
  • Deborah and Roger Nicklas
  • Bill and Karen O’Brien
  • Michael and Cheryl Owen
  • Carol Pine
  • Tony Ploughe
  • Stu Putman
  • Maurice and Nancy Sheppard
  • Mark and Ruth Taylor
  • Brad and Cara Ward
  • Susan K. Weston – In Memory of Jack and Wilma McCusker

Beaded Sea Star - $50 up

  • Susan and Larry Adams
  • Judith A. Cross – In Memory of Ruth A. Hoopes
  • Robert G. Glisson
  • Caroline and Roland Haskins – In Memory of Ruth A. Hoopes
  • The Insley Family
  • Annette T. Kendrick – In Memory of Ruth A. Hoopes
  • Raymond E. Mathieu and Patricia A. Wishnok

Campaign Leadership

Hover over an image to view our thoughts

Campaign Co-Chairs

"Our Precious Ocean and Vibrant Coast Are My Passions. The New Center Is Our Coast’s Shining Crown Jewel. Through it, we reach tens of thousands to promote stewardship and instill knowledge through enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff, captivating exhibits and fascinating hands-on exhibits."

Cathy J. Sakas

"Environmental education and conservation are critical steps in our path to a healthier coast and ocean. That is the primary role of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center and is why supporting the Center is so important."

Douglas E. Duch

Honorary Co-Chairs

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Helen D. Downing

"The Tybee Island Marine Science Center is locally based and globally connected to the mission of educating all people about the reasons we must protect our oceans and marine life. 'We are the ocean and the ocean is us.'"

Zelda Tenenbaum

I discovered a hidden gem in the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. With the new building, it will be a world class institution teaching environmental education and conservation, and hidden no more.

Linda Zoller

Tybee Island Marine Science Foundation Trustees

"After a career in ocean policy, the TIMSC is my way to continue to support marine conservation now that I am retired. And it’s my way of paying it forward to the next generation of ocean defenders. May their understanding of what they learn at the center lead them to cherish and fight for the future of our marine environment."

Nancy Daves

“Having experienced first hand the impact of the Tybee Marine Science Center on my grandchildren, I volunteered to serve on its board to help expand the Center’s reach to thousands more children to the wonders and needs of our marine neighbors.“

Jeanne M. Hutton

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Lane A. Johnson, Esq

"Our tidal coasts are a resource well worth preserving for future generations and I feel that the most effective way to achieve that preservation is through education. For our area I can think of no better educational opportunity than that offered by the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, even more-so when upgraded to a beautiful new state-of-the-art facility. I wholeheartedly support the Marine Science Center and feel lucky to be a part of its next iteration."

David D. Makel, Ph.D.

"My hope is that by giving to this campaign, we will be able increase the amount of people that understand how wonderful, complex and interconnected the Georgia Coast is and the need to protect it for future generations"

Michael J. Neal, Captain

A step inside the Tybee Island Marine Science Center builds appreciation for the vast significance of the marine realm to our world and way of life. I stand with TIMSC in the goal of deepening Ocean Literacy for all.

Carol Pride, Ph.D.

"When complete, the new Tybee Island Marine Science Center will be unlike anything else in our area. I am honored to be a part of the center's board and look forward to seeing the new center increase educational opportunities and awareness for local residents and visitors."

Karen Robertson

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Kathryn Williams

Project Updates

Here's How to Contact Us

Nancy K. Daves – nancydaves0711@gmail.com
Helen D. Downing – helenrdd@aol.com
Douglas E. Duch – dougduch@gmail.com
Jeanne M. Hutton – jeannehutton10@yahoo.com
Lane A. Johnson, Esq. – LaneJ840@gmail.com
David D. Makel, Ph.D. – 2alnutz@gmail.com
Michael J. Neal, Captain – BullRiverCruises@aol.com
Carol J. Pride, Ph.D. – pridec@savannahstate.edu
Karen Robertson – karen@robmark.com
Cathy J. Sakas – cathyjosakas@gmail.com
Zelda Tenenbaum – zbtenenbaum@gmail.com
Kathryn Williams – TybeeCreek@gmail.com
Linda K. Zoller – linda.kramer.zoller@gmail.com

Maria Procopio
Executive Director

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