Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Renovations at Ohio's Put-In-Bay Center

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has started renovations to the Put-In-Bay Aquatic Visitor Center to provide an educational experience that highlights fishing and the rich Lake Erie ecosystem.

“Lake Erie is Ohio’s crown jewel, where people can relax, boat, swim, and enjoy top-tier fishing,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said. “This new aquatic visitor center will be a go-to destination for people to learn about everything Lake Erie has to offer and all of the work that goes into protecting it.”

The Put-In-Bay Aquatic Visitor Center lies on South Bass Island in Lake Erie’s western basin. The facility and dock will be closed in 2024 to public access while work is ongoing and is expected to reopen in 2025.

“This is an exciting project that will tell an important piece of Ohio’s history,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “The Put-In-Bay Aquatic Visitor Center will connect future generations with Lake Erie and the tremendous fishing and other recreational amenities of western Lake Erie.”

The renovation project is funded with $6.2 million of capital funds thanks to Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly.

“The facility will be updated with interactive displays and exhibits that showcase Lake Erie’s great and historically significant fishing for species such as walleyes, smallmouth bass and yellow perch,” ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said. “Construction will include addressing longstanding structural problems, enhancing waterproofing, and building an ADA-accessible ramp and entrance.”

The Division of Wildlife used the building as a fish hatchery from 1907 to 1988, raising walleye, sauger, whitefish, cisco, yellow perch, coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead. In 1992, the Division of Wildlife converted the hatchery building to the Aquatic Visitors Center, an educational facility to bring history, fishing information, and hands-on activities to the public

The western basin of Lake Erie contains numerous state parks, wildlife areas, and nature preserves that provide a variety of outdoor activities for visitors, from the region’s incredible walleye fishing to its world-famous birding. Visit the Find a Property page at to discover what this region has to offer.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit to find out more.

In 2024, join ODNR as we celebrate 75 years of protecting Ohio’s natural resources and providing outstanding and award-winning recreational opportunities.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at