North Carolina has a rich history of sports and is the birthplace of Pepsi, but something not to overlook is the natural wonders throughout the state, as well as the plethora of aquariums in North Carolina.
North Carolina has a wonderful mixture of both river systems and coastal systems. This diverse array of waterways means that there is a lot to learn about the area. Here are three of the best aquariums in North Carolina you need to visit:
Read on for further information about these aquariums including locations and notable exhibits.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
|North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher|
|Address||900 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449|
|Animal to See||Sharks|
|Known For||Megalodon Exhibit|
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is not only one of the best aquariums in North Carolina–it was recently named one of the best aquariums in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. The adventures they have to join in are magnificent. From sea otters to sharks, to touching stingrays, to their Megalodon exhibit, they keep their visitors entertained and busy.
Their central atrium is full of living trees to discuss, along with real-life water habitats like ponds and swamps. It’s a fully immersive and gratifying experience. Here are a few of the exhibits to explore.
Open Oceans Gallery
This exhibit features jellyfish to view and other fun adventures.
Cape Fear Conservatory
A gigantic saltwater tank that holds 235,000 gallons is the centerpiece of this section. It has a replica of reefs and is visible from two levels so one can experience all the angles of the reef.
Visible within this tank is a wide array of animals like moray eels, groupers, sharks, stingrays, fish, and more populating the living reef.
Tide Pool Touch Tank
Along the upper level of this aquarium is a lovely tide pool touch tank where you can feel the smooth skin of the stingray and touch starfish and sea urchins.
The Megalodon is a classic legend come to life, and this exhibit talks all about the mighty whale consuming shark that used to swim in the depths of the sea. This is an interactive exhibit with holograms and touch screens to learn more.
This area contains animals that aren’t native to North Carolina, but other ocean regions further away. Some of these animals are lion fish, spiny lobsters, and the spotted scorpionfish which is actually native to North Carolina.
Bamboo Shark Touch Pool
Touch bamboo sharks and discover if sharks are really smooth or not. There is no danger to be had from bamboo sharks and it is a magnificent experience.
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
|North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores|
|Address||1 Roosevelt Blvd, Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512|
|Animal to See||Loggerhead Sea Turtles|
|Known For||Submarine Tank|
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores has specific features of animals you can find in North Carolina’s rivers and coasts. Their Living Shipwreck exhibit is the centerpiece of the aquarium and holds all sorts of aquatic creatures familiar to the locale.
When visiting this particular aquarium in North Carolina, be sure to check out what programs they might have going on. They may include special events like live animal feedings, puppet shows, and more inclusive educational entertainment.
This is an exhibit that incorporates a colossal shipwreck study, and has 306,000 gallons of seawater within its tank. The shipwreck in question is a giant replica of a sunken submarine and houses many different fish who are searching for a place to stay safe.
Green sea turtles, sand sharks, and more make their home among the replica submarine wreckage.
Walk straight into an ocean-style setup to learn all about the life-cycle of a loggerhead sea turtle, even see rehabilitated turtles in their natural habitat. It’s possible to explore the threats the turtles face and even watch as hatchlings make their way safely to the “sea.”
This gallery is less live fish and more art. Be ready to explore artistic interpretations of sea life and all the fish they include. From colorful to majestic to terrifying, this art incorporates all the life you can find under the sea.
Some featured artists rotate out through the year, so keep visiting to see what magical displays are next.
Tree-mendous Nature Play Area
Families are welcome to explore the Nature play area, which features an outdoor playground to get some of that excitable energy out.
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
|North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island|
|Address||374 Airport Rd, Manteo, NC 27954|
|Animal to See||Shark Tank|
|Known For||Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation|
The North Carolina ecosystem is the most significant focus for the Aquarium on Roanoke Island, another of the best aquariums in NC. There is a 285,000 gallon tank full of fascinating fish and sea life to learn about.
An exciting aspect of this aquarium is that there is a sea turtle exhibit where you can get up close and personal with the stories of the loggerhead sea turtles. More information can be found below.
Jellyfish spend their lives floating directionless through the sea, their stinging tentacles loose and beautiful, their entire bodies see-through. Learn more about them and see their spirals and learn how they survive in the ocean.
Graveyard of the Atlantic
This tank has sharks and other interesting fish to look at as you walk through it.
Learn all about submarines, how they work, and what they do beneath the ocean.
This exhibit takes place outside and in the surrounding area of the aquarium with more information on ocean animals.
Get a personal viewing of stingrays in this exhibit and learn all about their experiences and habitat.
Travel through a sunken ship to find treasure and learn about all the animals which may reside there in the dark deep.
Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center
This area is all about learning how to assist sea turtles in the wild and rehabilitation of injured ones. Conservation for endangered or vulnerable animals is essential to know about.
The Albemarle Sound is a local estuary. An estuary is where rivers meet the ocean, and freshwater combines with saltwater. Seven rivers converge in this estuary, and this exhibit showcases animals and the environment therewithin.
This area teaches about local wetland animals, including alligators and otters.
For more information on aquariums in NC, or to buy tickets for one of these four amazing aquariums, click here.
Summary of the 3 Best Aquariums in North Carolina:
|Name||Featured Attraction||Known For|
|North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher||Sharks||Megalodon Exhibit|
|North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores||Loggerhead Sea Turtles||Submarine Tank|
|North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island||Shark Tank||Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © NDAB Creativity/Shutterstock.com
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