Marine News from the Great Lakes

South Bass Island visitors can experience Lake Erie science and history at Stone Lab sites

Published: Tuesday, July 4, 2017 6:00 am

Visitors to South Bass Island this summer have the chance to explore Lake Erie science and history at the South Bass Island Lighthouse, Aquatic Visitors Center and Gibraltar Island, which all open for tours this week.

South Bass Island Lighthouse, which was completed in 1897, is located at the southwest tip of the island and was in operation until 1962. The lighthouse grounds are open to the public dawn to dusk free of charge unless otherwise posted. Free tours will be offered from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays from June 19 through July 18, 2017. Visitors can climb the lighthouse stairs to take in the view from the top of the tower. Tours for groups of 10 or more may be scheduled April through November by calling 419-285-1800.

The Aquatic Visitors Center (AVC) served as the State Fish Hatchery at Put-in-Bay from 1907 through 1988 and still displays artifacts from those days. Now the facility is an educational center, giving visitors of all ages the chance to explore Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem through hands-on activities and aquaria containing live Lake Erie fish. Children ages 15 and younger can borrow fishing gear and fish for free off the 100-foot pier. A limited number of free life jackets, provided by the BoatUs Foundation are available for loan. AVC tours are free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays June 21 through September 9, 2017. Group tour reservations are available mid-May through October at a cost of $4 per person by calling 419-285-1800.

A science and history tour of Gibraltar Island is offered each Wednesday from June 21 through August 9, 2017. Groups tour the island, including Perry’s Lookout and the glacial grooves and see the outside of Cooke Castle before learning more about Stone Lab research. Tours can accommodate up to 70 people and are first-come, first-served. To attend, meet at 10:45 a.m. at the Boardwalk Restaurant dock, 341 Bayview Ave. in Put-in-Bay. Tours are $10 per person, $5 for children ages 6-12, plus $6 for round-trip fare to Gibraltar Island, payable to the water taxi driver.

The Friends of Stone Lab’s annual open house, this year scheduled for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, September 9, 2017, includes all three attractions. For details, visit

Gibraltar Island and the South Bass Island Lighthouse are owned by The Ohio State University, and all three attractions are managed by Ohio Sea Grant & Stone Laboratory. For more information on scheduling your trip, visit

Located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay harbor, Stone Laboratory is Ohio State's Island Campus on Lake Erie and the research, education, and outreach facility of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. The Ohio State University's Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit

tags: History

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