The world’s largest private marine research organization is based on Cape Cod in the small town of Woods Hole. Dedicated to protecting and exploring the Earth’s oceans while striving to promote an understanding of the delicate balance between a sustainable planet and the health of its marine life, the scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are on a mission of grand proportions.
Part of that mission is played out at WHOI's Ocean Science Exhibit Center. Visitors can simulate a deep sea exploration experience by entering a full-sized model of Alvin, the submersible vehicle used to explore the wreck of the Titanic, while watching dramatic footage of actual undersea expeditions. A video highlighting the discovery and exploration of underwater relics from the ill-fated Titanic is included in the exhibit.
The 90-minute Summer Walking Tour features a behind-the-scenes look at the WHOI dock area and includes a close-up view of any research vessel that may be in port at the time; history of the institution is also discussed, and an update of the latest research being conducted at the facility is covered with a Q &A session ending the tour. In an effort to engage the community and encourage dialogue on socially relevant topics including climate change, pollution, and hurricane prediction, WHOI hosts a weekly informal gathering every Friday evening, called the Peanut Butter Club, open to both residents and visitors.
The gift shop is definitely worth a visit if only to enjoy the mind-blowing photos of undersea creatures, which grace the covers of books, magazines and posters.
The neighborhood hums with coffee shops, cafés and restaurants; for a slice of handmade goodness, check out Pie in the Sky. Owned by a former ship’s cook and baker, Pie continues to churn out award winning pies, cookies, bread, soups and sandwiches all made from scratch and served with organic fair trade coffee from beans they roast themselves. The Landfall Restaurant boasts creativity both with its menu offerings and with its décor. Try the popular seafood nachos with watermelon salsa while you sit in a building reconstructed from shipwrecked lumber and 19th century schooner ribs. Views of the harbor are at eye level; as retold by a local merchant, “When hurricanes come, the owners just take the French doors off, clear everything out, and wait for the tidal surge to wash through the restaurant. That's how close this place is to the water.”
- Ocean Science Exhibit Center Hours:
- May through October: Monday through Saturday: 10am to 4:30pm
- November and December: Tuesday through Friday: 10am to 4:30pm
- Summer Walking Tours:
- Summer Walking Tours at the Information Office, 93 Water Street, Woods Hole
- Tours begin weekdays at 10:30am and 1:30pm
- Admission: Free, reservations required, call: 508-289-2252
- Suggested donation: $2/person aged 10 and over
- Insider Tip:
- Because public parking is extremely limited in the village of Woods Hole, visitors are encouraged to park in the town of Falmouth and take the WHOOSH trolley to Woods Hole. For trolley information, contact Cape Cod Regional Transport Authority: www.capecodtransit.org/
- Location: Co-op Building, MS #16 , Woods Hole, MA
- Phone: 508-289-2252
- Website: www.whoi.edu