The first of its kind among the 550-plus refuges in the National Refuge System, the new Learning Lavatories (#LearningLav) exhibit at the Refuge debuts to the public on Friday, October 13, at 9:30 a.m. Refreshments will follow in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center.
Funded by a $125,000 grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) and contributions from private donors, Project #LearningLav has created educational imagery inside the center’s lavatories and on the outdoor wall leading to them. The outdoor mural immerses visitors in a virtual underwater experience, where they come eye-to-eye with 3-D manatees and look up to see an alligator and other 3-D wildlife sculptures swimming overhead.
Inside, the lavatories were renovated to green standards and continue the interpretive underwater motif, featuring a photo-tile mangroves mural and more wildlife sculptures. In coming weeks, stall doors will be wrapped with wildlife imagery. The refuge will also add educational teaser messages and an activity sheet to accompany the exhibit. They will be designed to entice visitors into the Visitor and Education Center to learn more.