Virginia Key - Special Features

Special Features

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) is one of the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Facilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA/AOML is a part of the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and is located in Miami, Florida. AOML's mission is to conduct basic and applied research in oceanography, tropical meteorology, atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, and acoustics. The research seeks to understand the physical characteristics and processes of the ocean and the atmosphere, both separately and as a coupled system.

Along the causeway onto Virginia Key is a long strip of bay front popular with windsurfers and sailors, called Hobie Beach after the Hobie Cats that set sail from the shore. It's also the only Miami-area beach that allows dogs. Nearby rest rooms and a great view of the curving shoreline make this an ideal place for tailgate parties.

The Miami Seaquarium is a marine park on Virginia Key that has one of the world's largest collections of marine animals; some 10,000 specimens. Open in 1955, the 38 acre (150,000 m2) park provides marine life exhibits and several daily marine mammal shows. It is famous for its captive orcas, dolphins, and sea lions. Manatee and shark exhibits are also present.

The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, founded by F.G. Walton Smith, is the University of Miami's graduate school of marine and atmospheric science. Dr. Otis Brown is the Dean of the Rosenstiel School. Located on a 16 acre (65,000 m2) campus on Virginia Key in Miami, it is the only tropical applied and basic marine and atmospheric research institute of its kind in the continental United States. The Rosenstiel School conducts a broad range of research on local, regional, national and global levels. More than 100 Ph.D. faculty members, 150 graduate students and a research support and administrative staff of 250 comprise the academic community.

The Maritime and Science Technology (MAST) Academy public magnet school is located on Virginia Key. Several hundred high school specially-selected students from Miami get their education at MAST Academy.

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