Aquatic Resources Education Center

The Aquatic Resources Education Center, operated by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, focuses on wetlands, fishing and other aquatic education themes.

Calling all photographers! Please submit your photographs for the first annual Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) nature photography contest. Learn More.

Aquatic Resources Education Center

Contact Us

Mary Rivera
Aquatic Resources Education Center
2520 Lighthouse Road
Smyrna, DE 19977

The Aquatic Resources Education Center is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The boardwalk trail and fishing ponds are open to the public, but no restroom facilities are available. Please wear a mask and maintain proper distancing. If you go fishing, you must have a Delaware fishing license and fish only in the two designated fishing ponds. The Center now offers a virtual version of the Eco-Explorers field trip program.

Visit Us on the Bayshore

The Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) is located along the scenic Delaware Bayshore Byway (Route 9), about 5 miles north of the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

Nestled within the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, the center features several ponds, a 940-foot tidal marsh boardwalk and various other natural areas.

It offers a prime venue for exploring the Delaware Bay coastal ecosystem and the abundant wildlife it supports. Catch and release fishing is permitted at two designated ponds.

The new education building has several large aquariums and other educational displays.

AREC Boardwalk

At the Aquatic Resources Education Center, you can…

Listen to the wind ruffle the salt grass as you stroll along the boardwalk.

Catch a glimpse of ships sailing out on the Bay as egrets and herons stalk the stream in search of tasty fish.

Watch fiddler crabs in their world of mud.

Test your angling skills at one of the fishing ponds.

Hike out to Taylors Gut or drive to the observation tower for more beautiful vistas

Walk the interpretive trail to learn more about the rich history of this exquisite corner of Delaware and the fish and critters that live here.

Become a Volunteer

Eco-Explorers Program

Volunteers with the Eco-Explorers Program teach small groups of students about the wonders of the tidal salt marsh ecosystem and guide students as they learn about fish, macro-invertebrates, plants, and water quality. This is a great opportunity to work outside in a beautiful salt marsh! Volunteer schedules are flexible. Training is provided.

Take a Kid Fishing! and Family Fishing Programs

Volunteers with the Take a Kid Fishing! and other family fishing programs do not need to have any special knowledge of fishing. Some are avid anglers, other volunteer to assist with activities like knot tying or fish printing. There is something for everyone who would like to get outdoors and join other volunteers in a great program for kids!

To volunteer with the Aquatic Resources Education Center, contact Mary Rivera.