Marine Center

Palacios ISD Marine Education Center

Palacios ISD Marine Education Center

is an educational facility located in Matagorda County on Tres Palacios Bay, an inlet of Matagorda Bay, off the Gulf of Mexico. Palacios is 110 miles southwest of Houston, 110 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, and 175 miles southeast of Austin.  The Marine Education Center is a Palacios ISD K-12 Program that provides supportive education to students and teachers through hands-on marine oriented activities, history and nature studies.

The Texas State Marine Education Center is in association with Matagorda County Navigation District No. 1 and Palacios Independent School District. Since the Center's beginning in 1988, more than 100,000 youth and adults have benefited from its unique program. Talented staff members have developed dozens of marine-related lessons that allow individuals the opportunity to go into the field to study marine life.

The Center's wetlands encompass an estuarine beach, salt-water marsh and coastal prairie.  Students learn about erosion, plants, sea life, birds, water quality, pollution, history and a variety of other topics.

The Marine Education Center consists of an administration-classroom building, marine science laboratory, aquaculture laboratory, 708' x 20' pier, 1-1/4 mile nature trail with elevated observatory platform, 80+ acres of coastal marsh, and 2,400 linear feet of bay front.



Fish Printing

"Gyo" means fish and "taku" means rubbing or impression.

This art form gave people the ability to record their catch and preserve the record just as we would do with a picture today. This was also a way for fisherman to display their catch for sale in the market. 

On the Pier

Fishing from the Pier

We do a variety of activities from the pier at the marine center. Some of those activities include observation of the salt marsh, bird watching, plankton collection, erosion and deposition, water quality, and beach access.


In the Lab

Learning in the lab is always a hands on experience.  Lessons conducted in the lab include "Look Who is Coming to Dinner", an oyster habitat lesson, fish printing, and "Clouds in a Bottle" a weather lesson.  The lab is also home to our touch tank which has a revolving cast of specimens captured during our seining and trawling lessons.


On the Trail

You never know what you will see when exploring the nature trail. In the spring you are sure to see wild flowers, honeysuckle vines, dewberries, and singing birds. On occasion you will see a rabbit, butterflies galore, insects (of all kinds), and snakes. You may also see foot prints and other evidence of nocturnal activities while exploring the trail. No matter what, you are sure to see beautiful views of nature, the marsh, and Matagorda Bay while exploring the trail. 



In the Salt Marsh

During this lesson students learn the importance of the marsh habitat and the organisms that live there. Students get to explore the marsh and collect critters like the periwinkle snail and fiddler crabs. In addition students learn about the many plants that grow in the marsh and the vital role they play in preventing erosion and providing a safe haven for other organisms.



In The Seine

Seining for organisms helps students understand the stages many marine organisms go through before they end up on our plates. In addition, students get to try their hand at seining which is not as easy as it looks.