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Bivalve Discovery Tour

Museum Tour – hands-on, interactive exploration

Step back in time to the Oyster Shipping Sheds & Wharves and visit the thriving Maurice River Cove “Oyster Capital of the World” during the 19-teens and 1920s.  Through photographs, artifacts and oral history, the Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center preserves the essence of place and its people’s heritage and legacy.

Our museum is designed to engage and inspire students in the history of the Bayshore Region through hands-on, interactive activities and inquiry-based exhibits.  Students will reenact the jobs of the men and women of the oyster industry and learn how the oyster shaped the culture, industry and environment of the Delaware Bay and its people.

The staff and docent-led programs are vibrant and lively that engages students and gets them moving and asking questions.   Your group will be divided into three smaller groups that will rotate among three stations:

  • Oyster Processing – Students will learn the steps to process, pack, ship and market oysters in the facility where it actually happened during the Shell Trade when oysters were shipped still in the shell. More than a history lesson, the station includes the importance of accurate counting, a tidal river, salinity, water temperature, a balanced ecosystem and conservation. Students are assigned the jobs and given the tools needed to get the job done.  Will the class be able to pack the oysters before the train departs?
  • Shucking House – Students put on their aprons and report to the Shucking House. They see an oyster shucked and examine it in its shell.  They then play the various roles needed to make a successful oyster house.  Through the humanities, students learn who worked in the shucking house and their working and living conditions in Shellpile, New Jersey.  How many oysters will the students have to “shuck” to make a decent pay?
  • Tool Time – Schooners, sloops and skiffs allowed people the means to go out on the water and made oystering possible.  These boats were traditionally built in many shipbuilding towns along the rivers and creeks that connect to the Delaware Bay.  Students learn about local geography and what natural resources were needed to build boats.   The students are again divided into groups of three and use real antique tools to drill holes into wood, caulk seams between planks and plane down wood.    Which tool will be their favorite?

Wetlands Walk

This guided tour provides an excellent opportunity for students to be exposed to the beauty and importance of the wetlands.

The salt marshes surrounding Bivalve, New Jersey, provides a vital habitat for plants & animals, including migratory birds, spawning species and their newly hatched young.  They also prevent flooding and provide storm drainage, improve water quality and minimize erosion of upland areas.

Students will learn about the impact of human activity on wetlands and help make a positive one by picking up trash and recyclables during the walk.

Engage in hands-on identification of birds, plants and marine life and learn why wetlands are so important.

Come and experience the sights, the sounds, the smells and even the textures that this diverse resource has to offer!

Program information and Pricing

All the programs are designed for 3rd grade and above.  To help prepare students for their visit or as a follow up, educators can download the Pre- and Post-Visit activities.

Capacity: 40-50 students.  Please contact the Museum Curator at museum@bayshorecenter.org or 856.785.2060 x 109 to customize the program for younger students or to accommodate learning needs or larger groups.

The museum and wetlands are accessible for people using wheelchairs, power chairs or walkers.

Bivalve Discovery Tour – 3 hours

Includes Wetlands Walk and Museum Tour
20 students…$190
40 students…$375

Wetlands Walk Only – 2 hours
20 students…$140
40 students…$275

Museum Tour Only – 1 hour
20 students…$50
40 students…$100


Spend the day in Bivalve - tour and sail!

Bivalve Discovery Tour combined with three-hour sail aboard the Schooner AJ Meerwald…$1,000

Capacity:  The Schooner AJ Meerwald can accommodate up to 41 total passengers including students, teachers and chaperones.

Picnic on the wharves where shorebirds and fiddler crabs often entertain both students and educators alike as they enjoy lunch on the historic Bivalve wharves while gazing across the Maurice River into the vast, peaceful marshlands.

Contact the Shipboard Program Coordinator at education@bayshorecenter.org or 856-785-2060 ext. 107 with questions or to book a Bivalve Discovery Tour and a sail aboard the Schooner AJ Meerwald.