North Carolina Aquariums
Fish viewing may be cumbersome for some, but viewing a majestic
number and variations of them in a single place does make viewing a
desirable experience. North Carolina is notable for the appreciation and
conservation of the state's aquatic environment, thus accounts for the
setting up of the North Carolina Aquariums in 1976, initially as the
North Carolina Marine Resources Centers before its name was changed in
1986. Its establishment wasn’t just made for an exotic display of the
diversity of marine life in North Carolina but it seeks to promote
awareness and understanding to locales and visitors the vast natural
resources of the oceans, rivers and other aquatic environments of the
The North Carolina Aquariums are accredited by the Association of Zoos
and Aquariums and are a division of the North Carolina Department of
Environment and Natural Resources. It has three facilities located on
Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher. The North Carolina
Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located in Kura Beach and aims to educate the
people about the water of the Cape Fear Region. It features different
galleries. First is the Cape Fear Conservatory, the visitors' first
stop. Replicating freshwater life, the gallery features frogs, bass,
catfish, box turtles and American alligators and venomous snakes living
in a massive display of tree-filled atrium, streams and ponds. The
Coastal Waters Gallery gives visitors the chance to learn sea urchins,
horseshoe crabs and other creatures of the outcrop surf zone in a
hands-on basis. An indoor salt marsh and sea horse habitat is featured
in the Masonboro Inlet Jetty.
A perfect view of puffer fish, hogfish, octopus, jellyfish and corals is
featured in the Sharkstooth Ledge of the Open Oceans Gallery. The
24-foot-deep Cape Fear Shoals is the largest saltwater exhibit which
offers multi-level display of large sharks, sting rays and moray eels.
Featuring sea creatures in the Indo-Pacific Region is the Exotic Aquatic
Displays which includes cuttlefish, red lionfish, scorpion fish and lion
fish in a wide array of species. The aquarium also includes the
550-gallon Pacific Reef Display which features corals, anemones, wrasses
and other fish species. In 2002, Fort Fisher was reopened after three
years of renovation and expansion.
Located at Bogue Banks is the aquarium at the Pine Knoll Shores
featuring aquatic animals of North Carolina.
Some of its famous
attractions are its huge species including the nine-foot sand tiger
sharks, a six-foot green moray eel, a four-foot goliath grouper. Pine
Knoll is known for its centerpiece exhibit, the Living Shipwreck
garnering a volume of 306,000 gallons. It is actually a replica of the
German Submarine, U-352, which serves as habitat for a school of fishes.
The aquarium is also home to two river otters named Neuse and Pungo
which constantly amazes visitors.
The aquarium's Sea Turtle Oddyssey Exhibit serves as a rehabilitation
center for sea turtles. The Tidal Touch Pool and Skate and Ray Encounter
are hands-on exhibits that feature sea invertebrates and rays,
Aside from the visits, the aquarium also offers a variety of ways to
enhance the people's awareness and interest in the aquatic life. The
North Carolina Aquarium holds other activities such as photo contests,
journals and a multitude of activities.