Education lies at the heart of the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Education and Recreation Center's mission. Programs offered aim to increase awareness, appreciation and understanding of wetlands, the environment and cultural history. Each year, thousands of visitors and students come to the center in Baytown at 1724 Market Street, to learn about wetlands and their inhabitants.
The Wetlands Center, located on the banks of Goose Creek, opened on January 26, 1998.
Eddie Gray, a member of the Goose Creek Stream Greenbelt Development Committee, sought the committee’s permission to purchase an abandoned bowling alley and turn it into a wetlands education center.
In 1996, after the land was purchased, the committee applied for and received a $350,000 matching grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to develop the center. Lee College and Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD) also entered into agreements to support and use the facility. Each contributes funds annually. The center property encompasses six acres. The 14,000 square-foot building includes staff offices, meeting rooms, a science lab, and an exhibit hall.
The Wetlands Center's 9,000 square foot Robert M. Craig Exhibit Hall features a variety of exhibits.
"Gator World," with its juvenile alligators and large wetlands mural, is a favorite with visitors young and old.
"The Land of Milk and Honey" highlights honeybees with a demonstration hive.
"The Coastal Connection Room" houses aquaria with fresh and saltwater inhabitants collected from local bays and estuaries.
"Wings Over Wetlands," covering an entire wall, shows the diversity of birds that inhabit wetlands area.
The snake exhibit is home to several native Texas snakes.
The Wetlands Center staff provides tours if reserved in advance or visitors may take a self-guided tour.
The Wetlands Center is an official site on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.