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Woods Hole Science Aquarium, oldest in nation, is led by all-women team

Woods Hole Science Aquarium on Cape Cod is led by all-women team
Woods Hole Science Aquarium on Cape Cod is led by all-women team 02:39

FALMOUTH - In Falmouth, just down the road from the ferry that heads to Martha's Vineyard, is an aquarium that happens to be a piece of history on Cape Cod.

"We are the nation's oldest aquarium. So we were established back in 1875, if you can believe it, they were having aquariums back then," said biologist Katie Dever.

Behind the scenes experience for guests

Dever grew up on Cape Cod and is a general biologist at the NOAA Fisheries Woods Hole Science Aquarium, part of a federal lab in Woods Hole, which is also the origin of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Here, people get a behind the scenes experience rarely offered to visitors, with open tanks and a working kitchen. 

"We can talk to kids and show them, physically, what we're doing, whether that's feeding or cleaning," explained Dever.

Guests checking out fish at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. CBS Boston

An all-women team

That's not the only thing different about the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. It's completely led by an all-women team, something Dever said you don't often seen.

"So from the top down, we are all women here," said Dever. "It's a really cool, awesome team, especially when we have groups like our Girl Scouts come through and we can walk down and talk to them about women in science and what it's like to be a biologist or to have interest in this field. It is a little unique being a lady here, so it's a really great team that we have."

Dever showed WBZ-TV the fish kitchen, where the team meal preps about 8,000 pounds of fish a year to feed all the aquarium residents. WBZ also got to help with Stumpy the diamondback terrapin turtle's weekly spa day.

Stumpy the diamondback terrapin turtle at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. CBS Boston

"A lot of people say that his little face is cute and he'll interact with you and look right in your eyes. He's super great posing for pictures," shared Dever.

But Dever said the aquarium's most popular attraction is Bubba, an adorable 24-year-old harbor seal who came to the aquarium from the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Feeding and most training sessions are open to the public.

Bubba eats fish from his trainer at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. CBS Boston

"Woods Hole is really like a little town, big science," said Dever. "If you have any interest in any kind of science, this is the place to be."

The aquarium is open year-round and is completely free to visit. Dever said they do accept donations, which help with conservation and education programs.

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