Visitors to South Bass Island this summer have the chance to explore Lake Erie science and history at the South Bass Island Lighthouse, the Aquatic Visitors Center and on Gibraltar Island. Stone Lab is also offering scheduled tours for private groups by reservation this year.
The 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, with physical distancing protocols in place. Tours for groups of five or fewer are offered on Fridays from 9-9:30 a.m., 9:30-10 a.m., 10-10:30 a.m. and 10:30-11 a.m. (or by appointment) starting May 7, at a cost of $5 per person (free for children 3 and under). The tour registration form is available at go.osu.edu/lighthouse.
The Aquatic Visitors Center is an educational facility in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, 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. AVC tours for up to 10 people happen on Tuesdays from 10-11 a.m. (or by appointment) starting May 18. The cost is $5 per person, and free for kids 3 and under. More information and the tour registration form are available at go.osu.edu/avc.
Science and history tours of Gibraltar Island are offered Mondays and Thursdays at 10-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1-2 p.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. (or by appointment) starting May 6. Groups of up to ten people tour the island, including Perry’s Lookout and the glacial grooves and see the outside of Cooke Castle before learning more about Stone Lab programs. Registered guests meet at the Boardwalk Restaurant dock, 341 Bayview Ave. Put-in-Bay, Ohio 15 minutes before their tour is scheduled to start. Tours are $10 per person, free for children 3 and under, plus $6 for round-trip fare to Gibraltar Island, payable to the water taxi driver. The tour reservation form is available at go.osu.edu/gibraltar.
Private groups of up to ten people are also able to schedule Lake Erie Science Tours for their group, which range from one-hour island cruises on a Stone Lab vessel to half-day trips to neighboring Lake Erie islands. A complete list of tour options, along with cost information and a link to the reservation form, is available at go.osu.edu/sciencetours.
To comply with The Ohio State University’s COVID-19 protocols, face masks must be worn properly (over nose, mouth and chin) at all times, including in outdoor settings, even when individuals can maintain 6 feet or more of physical distancing. Full details for required Personal Safety Practices on Ohio State properties are available at safeandhealthy.osu.edu/personal-protection-hygiene.
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 go.osu.edu/SLtours.
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 Sea Grant College Program is part of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 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 ohioseagrant.osu.edu.