History of Biomes

Mark in 1984

Mark in 1984

The evolution of the Biomes Center goes all the way back to 1978, when Mark Hall, as a 14-year-old, started a wholesale collecting business supplying educational marine specimens to high school science classrooms across the country.

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1986, Mark took his knowledge from years of marine life collecting and observation on the road. Working out of his garage, he would travel from school to school throughout southern New England showing students his living ocean life.

In 1995 Mark opened a small educational facility in the Shady Lea area of North Kingstown, both to house the animals used in his traveling shows, as well as to provide a venue for classes to visit on field trips. Other programs, such as birthday parties and scout groups, were added to our list of educational opportunities.

Mark in 1994

Mark in 1994

The first Biomes employee was hired part time in 1998 to help Mark run these programs. In 2010 we opened to the public for the first time, initially only on Sunday afternoons. The number of visitors trying to gain admission spurred on the search for a new, larger location to accommodate the public on a daily basis.

In Spring of 2012, the building at 6640 Post Road was leased and the eight month process of setting up our exhibits began. Open seven afternoons a week to the public, we held our grand opening New Years Eve 2013 and welcomed over 100 visitors on our first day.

Biomes now has five full-time employees, four part-time staff and a dozen interns and volunteers, conducting outreach programs, field trips, birthday parties and educating the public each afternoon. Two employees and several volunteers work each day on animal care alone. 

Mark in 2004

Mark in 2004

All of our marine animals have been collected in Narragansett Bay by our staff and volunteers. No animals are purchased or imported.

Biomes now houses the largest collection of local marine life in the world, with over 120 species of animals calling it home. Boasting the original shark-petting tank in New England, providing more hands-on animal interactions than any other facility of its kind, and unique exhibits (such as our fiddler crab colony) found nowhere else, Biomes has become a destination for families and schools throughout southern New England.

Biomes is a private, locally-owned education center. We are not funded by  government grants, donations or corporate sponsorships of any kind. Our facility is funded by admissions and program fees alone.

Mark in 2014

Mark in 2014