Inside the walls of the Homarus Centre in Shediac, N.B., there may be a little bit of everything, but the star is the entire centre is lobsters.
The goal is to bring the Northumberland Strait ecosystem to life in a new way and in a way that puts education at the forefront, according to director Pierre Dupuis.
“Here in the centre, you’re going to learn a lot about the lifecycle of the lobster,” he said.
“You do learn about other types of species that we have in the strait of the Northumberland strait, but we focus a lot on the lifestyle of the lobster.”
Hoping to provide an experience that is unlike any other, the Homarus Centre includes a guided tour to start each visit, which is offered in both English and French.
“The biggest takeaway is learning about the lobster that’s something you never learned about and my parents came in and they came out and said ‘I learned stuff that I didn’t know’ and they’ve been around this industry all their life,” said Dupuis.
The space includes walls full of information, a mini hatchery, a peek into research labs and the chance to get up close and personal with some sea creatures to wrap up the visit.
“I seen like where they put their eggs and I even seen like a real crab and hold it,” said 6-year-old, Isabella Vautour.
“I learned lobsters and what they do with their babies,” she added.
For lobster lovers, like 8-year-old Eli Altasaini, soaking in everything the centre had to offer was a great way to spend a Thursday.
“I felt really, really excited,” he said.
Even though he’s been a big lobster fan for the last two years, he walked away with some new information as well.
“The lobsters taste with their feet and that they’re very territorial and that they’ll fight over territories.”
The centre had a soft opening last July and officially opened to the public with its grand opening in June.
Dupuis says, on average, it sees around 125 visitors walk through the centre each day, which climbs on rainy days.
“Reaction has been very positive. People are happy, they come out of here, they have a different experience that they’ve never had anywhere else,” he said.
While it’s definitely full of fun and games, the Homarus Centre also plays an important role for the Maritime Fishermen’s Union when it comes to research.
“We have around 1,300 members that are out on the water looking around and seeing change in climate, change of habitat, change of how the species react, so they have questions so this way here we can collect what they see, collect it as data, so we can have a discussion with the DFO,” explained Dupuis.
Adding, “Right now, we have basically the hatchery, so we release small larvae of lobsters. We just finished the herring project and right now we’re doing a project on habitat and ecosystem.”
The Homarus Centre is open seven days a week until Labour Day weekend in September, giving people a chance to still add some Maritime education to their summer plans.