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The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

Woman training a dolphin - Institute For Marine Mammal Studies
Mary Piper
Mary Piper
September 4, 2020

Only a few steps away from the beach and 10 minutes from Gulfport attractions, The Inn at Long Beach, MS is in the heart of everything there is to see and do on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi! One of the area’s main attractions is visiting the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, located in Gulfport. Are you wondering what to do around the Institute For Marine Mammal Studies? Here’s everything you need to know.


Kids looking at a stingray through the glass

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) is an active rescue and rehabilitation center for marine life that calls the Gulf Coast of Mississippi home. A team of trainers, vets, and animal specialists respond to stranded and sick beached animals locally or as far away as Louisiana and Alabama. IMMS has rescued dolphins, sea turtles, pygmy killer whales, and other marine life. The institute is a nonprofit organization that leads the way with conservation efforts, education, and research opportunities for students and specialists in the area. They offer field trips, summer camps, and outreach programs to local youth to inspire marine biologists’ next generation. The rehabilitation center operates separately from the facility that’s open to the general public, but you can tour certain areas during your visit.


Ocean Adventures Marine Park building

The marine park is open to the general public and gets you up close and personal with marine life. The park offers many attractions, shows, and exhibits that the whole family will enjoy.

Purchasing a general admission ticket gives you access to the marine park and IMMS Discovery Center. Spend a day exploring, learning, and interacting with marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, and more! The park also hosts several non-marine animal exhibits, including an aviary with tropical birds (where you can feed parakeets) and a reptile exhibit.

Head over to the marine park’s arena to see dolphins and sea lions show their tricks. There is also an underwater viewing area to see the show from above the water and below! Then, take the tour tram over to the IMMS Discovery Center, where you can view in-depth presentations about the center’s efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and care for marine life.


Stingray in a pool

The Institute also offers several add-on experiences that are well worth the additional price. These programs allow you to touch, feed and encounter the various animals at the Institute, including dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, and sharks. Choose an experience based on whether you want to dive right into the dolphin or stingray pool or see them from a close distance on the dock.


General admission tickets allow you to access the animal shows, stingray touch experiences, reptile presentations, the aquarium, and the IMMS Discovery Center. There are additional fees for the dolphin and other marine life encounters. There is a playground, snack bar, and picnic tables to enjoy a full day. General admission tickets must be purchased in advance for $15 per person and $13 for children ages 3 through 12. Senior and active military discounts are available. There are three different admission times to help manage park occupancy at this time. When you purchase your tickets, you can specify choosing to arrive at 9 am, 11:30 am, or 1:30 pm. The park is open until 4 pm daily.


The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is 20 minutes from The Inn at Long Beach. Our hotel is so close to many Gulfport attractions; you can rest easy in our comfy beds after a long day of beachcombing or sightseeing. Make your reservation online today!

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