Experiencing Life
Blue Crab laying tracks on a Chesapeake beach.
USGS Photo

Trip 10 - Mid-Atlantic

By this point in the Experiencing Life series, there are not many new topics to explore, but there are a few. We've experienced salt water environments and fresh water environments but we haven't really dealt with places where salt water and fresh water mix. These areas are called estuaries, and they are a focus of trip 10. The other main focus of the trip is on some world-class zoos, museums and an aquarium.

The first stop of Trip 10 should be visited during late May. This is the time of year when Horseshoe Crabs spawn on the beaches of Delaware Bay. Even though the word "crab" is in their name, they are more closely related to spiders. This will provide an opportunity to explore the classification of arthropods in more depth. We will also make ecological connections between the spawning of these organisms and the migration schedules of various birds.

Then it's down the Delmarva peninsula to Assateague Island. Here you can experience beach combing for mollusk shells and crustaceans and see a feral herd of horses.

The next stop is the focus site for the trip: Chesapeake Bay. The largest estuary in the U.S., we will explore how organisms have adapted to varying levels of salinity. The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has four sites along the York River that take collect data from more salty to nearly fresh water. We'll also take a look at how human activity has influenced populations of oysters and other organisms in the bay.

And that concludes the natural sites of the trip. The following sites are ones where the focus will be on animals and fossils we have yet to experience. The first of these is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Located on the mall of Washington D.C., it is one of the best in the world.

The Smithsonian also runs the National Zoo, on the outskirts of Washington D.C. They are one of the few zoos that have a panda, due to resrictions by China.

Next is the National Aquarium, also known as the Baltimore Aquarium. This is another world-class site for experiencing aquatic organisms.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York is the next site on Trip 10. Started by Theodore Roosevelt's father among others, it has grown into another world-class facility.

Lastly, the trip takes us to the Bronx Zoo, in the burrough just north of Manhattan.

Timing Events:

  • May & June, full and new moons, evening high tides Horseshoe Crab spawning


Trip Menu
  1. Greater Yellowstone
  2. Southeast
  3. Northeast
  4. Four Corners
  5. Northwest
  6. Heartland
  7. California
  8. Great Lakes
  9. Southwest
  10. Mid-Atlantic
    1. Delaware Bay
    2. Assateague Island
    3. Chesapeake Bay
    4. National Museum of Natural History
    5. National Zoo
    6. Baltimore Aquarium
    7. American Museum of Natural History
    8. Bronx Zoo
  11. Alaska
  12. Hawaii

Trip 10 Map


Alternate Sites:

  • Green Bank Telescope
  • Virginia Coast Reserve LTER site
  • Baltimore Ecosystem LTER site
  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Other Points of Interest:
  • Mill Mountain Zoo
  • Cape Hatteras
  • National History Museum
  • Native American Museum
  • Washington Mall attractions
  • Blue Ridge Parkway

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