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Science Mill Unveiling Sustainable Aquaponics Greenhouse

The new 1,000-square-foot Aquaponics Greenhouse at the Science Mill demonstrates a sustainable form of agriculture that uses tilapia, prawns, koi, and snapping turtles to help grow fruit, vegetables, and other tropical plants — and even strawberries. The Science Mill is hosting a grand opening Feb. 16 for the new exhibit. Photo by Joel Calvin/Science Mill

The Science Mill is celebrating its fourth anniversary with the unveiling of its latest, state-of-the art exhibit that features tilapia, prawns, koi, and even snapping turtles.

But the exhibit isn’t just a feature of aquatic species; it shows how these creatures are part of a practical form of sustainable agriculture known as aquaponics. The Science Mill is opening its 1,000-square-foot Aquaponics Greenhouse on Saturday, Feb. 16.

In this new experience, found only at the Johnson City facility, visitors will walk into a working aquaponics system where they can see how fish, plants, and microbes work together to create healthy food. They will see how tilapia, prawns, koi, and snapping turtles provide the food to grow fruit, vegetables, and other tropical plants in vertical growing tubes, floating rafts, and a giant “living wall.”

Tilapia are a big part of the Science Mill’s new Aquaponics Greenhouse. The Johnson City facility is holding a grand opening of the new exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane in Johnson City, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Photo by Joel Calvin/Science Mill

The grand opening includes a number of other special activities as well. There will be a live demonstration to show people how to build their own aquaponics kit with easy-to-find materials from local stores.

Sarah Baker will share how her degree in marine science led to her current position in the seafood industry and discuss her passion to provide healthy and sustainable agriculture to the world. And someone might even get to try some Chirps Cricket Crisps (and, yes, those are cricket chips).

Austin Nature and Science Center herpetologist Ryan Collister will have a variety of snakes for kids to touch and hold as they learn about these amazing, and very important, creatures. Some of the snakes may very much enjoy a Chirps Cricket Crisp.

The Science Mill is also having a prize giveaway for three do-it-yourself aquaponics kits.

Visitors can also try out the Science Mill’s new hands-on Doing Science-Outside! activities. These let the whole family use current scientific technology for monitoring and measuring ecosystem health.

The Aquaponics Greenhouse is the latest of many Science Mill experiences and exhibits. The facility features more than 50 high-tech, high-touch exhibits that offer fun and interactive learning for visitors of all ages.

All the grand opening activities, demonstration, and speakers are included with Science Mill general admission. Admission is $11 for adults; $9.50 for ages 3-18 (or with student identification); $9 for adults 65 and older; and free for ages 2 and under. Active duty and retired military service members with a valid identification get half-price admission along with up to three family members.

The facility, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane in Johnson City, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m Saturday, Feb. 16. Go to for more information.

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