IMMS director, Moby Solangi, worked with city leaders to provide 200 scholarships for underprivileged kids to visit the aquarium.  (Image Source: WLOX News)

A new program sponsored by the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport kicked off Sunday.

Via wlox.com

About 25 boys and girls from Gulfport got to experience all that the Institute for Marine Mammal studies has to offer, including sea lions and dolphins.

“We have students who don’t want to leave today. So, if we can bring the reality of what they’re learning in school in textbooks, that’s a career,” said Gulfport Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines.

Holmes-Hines worked with IMMS director Moby Solangi and city leaders to launch the scholarship program that pays admission for students who may have never gotten the opportunity to visit the museum.

“The eligibility is that you are from low to moderate area, and that you just have an interest and you want to grow in the science curriculum. I think that’s sufficient,” said Holmes-Hines.

Through the center’s interactive exhibits, students got an up-close and personal look at marine mammals.

“We learned about the sea lions and the dolphins. We saw other animals we would see out here and everywhere else,” said Dominique Shaffer.

IMMS trainers shared interesting facts about the dolphins and sea lions, even showing off some of their tricks; making for a memorable experience.

“I liked it because the dolphins can jump really high. I was sitting in the front row and got splashed,” said Sarahdrick Mitchell.

The eye opening experience and knowledge gained resonated with many of the students, maybe even sparking a career interest for some.

“When I seen the tricks that dolphins can do, I wanted to teach them how to do it,” said Ivory Brown.

The trips will take place each Sunday at 1:30 p.m. For more information about the scholarship program, contact the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies at (228) 896-9182.