Woods Hole Harbor is a village that recalls New England's past where tales of long-ago seafarers abound. It is also a village for the future. Woods Hole Harbor is busy with shoppers, residents, and scientists strolling its quaint streets. Passengers await the next ferry to Martha's Vineyard, board the "WHOOSH" trolley, and travel the Shining Sea Bikepath. Woods Hole Harbor is home to many wonderful restaurants, galleries and museums, boutique shops, and educational opportunities. It is decorated with beautiful gardens and scenic views.
Woods Hole Harbor has a humid continental climate with large differences in temperatures from season to season. Summers can be warm to hot and humid, and winters can bring severe cold. Deep snowfall is common during the winter, but precipitation is relatively even throughout the year. In the summer, rains accompany thunderstorms and occasional tropical storms. Temperatures range from an average high of 26.6°C (80°F) in July to an average low of -6.7°C (20°F) in January. Woods Hole Harbor gets about four inches of precipitation each month which may fall to three inches in June or July. In January, Woods Hole Harbor can get as much as 12 inches of snowfall.
The Woods Hole Harbor Science Aquarium is the United States' oldest marine aquarium. Established in 1885, it is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency's National Marine Fisheries Service in cooperation with the Marine Biological Laboratory. Visitors to the Woods Hole Harbor Science Aquarium will see non-releasable harbor seals, animals native to Northeast and Middle Atlantic waters as they learn about marine animals, environments, and science.
Touch tanks at the Woods Hole Harbor Science Aquarium hold a variety of sea creatures like lobsters, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and many others. Visitors can also go behind the scenes and watch staff clean tanks, feed animals, and work on life support systems. As many as 80 thousand people visit the Woods Hole Harbor Science Aquarium every year.
The Ocean Science Exhibit Center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution learn about the research the Institution conducts and the tools and develops its engineers and scientists create. Visitors can explore an interactive exhibit that covers the discovery and exploration of the doomed cruise ship Titanic. They can go inside a full-size model of the Alvin and learn about the tremendous pressure at the sea floor. They will learn about research into whales and dolphin and listen to recordings of their songs. Other exhibits cover life at hydrothermal vents in the ocean, toxic algae like red tide, and how the ocean floor sediments can contribute to our knowledge of climate change. This Woods Hole Harbor attraction is open from May through October on Monday through Saturday from 10am until 4:30pm. During November and December, it is open Tuesday through Friday with the same hours. From January through April, visitors can make appointments for tours conducted by Institution staff.
Another popular attraction at Woods Hole Harbor is the Marine Biological Laboratory. This international center for education, research, and training is the country's oldest private marine laboratory. Today, its staff of 275 scientists and support staff work in fields like developmental biology, microbiology, ecology, sensory physiology, molecular evolution, neurobiology, and global infectious disease. In the summer, over a thousand scientists and students arrive to study the diverse marine life in Woods Hole Harbor waters.
The village of Woods Hole is an international center for natural science. In addition to the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), the Woods Hole scientific community includes the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the United States Geological Survey, the National Academy of Sciences, Sea Education Association, and the Woods Hole Research Center.
In addition to public lectures and seminars held throughout the year, the Marine Biological Laboratory offers tours. Two daily summer tours at 1pm and 2pm are available from late June through late August. These hour-and-a-half tours involve a video presentation, a look at the marine animals at the Marine Resources Center, and a walking tour of the MBL campus. Reservations are required for groups of no more than 15 people, and they should be made at least a week beforehand.
In the Woods Hole Harbor's MBL Visitors Center exhibits living marine life and explains their significance to biomedical research. Visitors should check the schedule for the Center's hours before they arrive.