Aquarium Programs & Activities

Aquarium Programs & Activities

Perhaps you are just interested in more programs the aquariums have to offer. The North Carolina Aquariums Website has an interactive calendar of events for daily programs for all aquariums. Some sample activities and programs from the three aquariums are highlighted below.

Perhaps you would like to be an aquarist apprentice for the day. You can find out what it is like to help care for the aquarium critters by joining the staff for a behind the scenes tour. You will help prepare foods and participate in some of the daily care and maintenance. This program costs $20 per person and is open to ages 10 and up, with children 10-14 needing to be accompanied by an adult.

Maybe you would like to join the fish for breakfast one morning. Feed yourself with goodies provided by the aquarium and then feed the inhabitants their breakfasts. You are welcome to stay all morning and the $15 fee ($7 for members) includes your admission.

Crafts are always a popular activity and the aquarium would like to teach you some crafts you can do with shells. You can register to make a picture frame or a shell wreath. Both of these activities cost $8 for supplies and do not include admission to the aquarium. You could also learn the ancient art form of Japanese fish printing called Gyotaku. In this class, you will learn the history behind the art form and then make a t-shirt to take home with you. The fee for this class is $8 or $7.20 for members.

How about some outside activities instead? If you are in the Fort Fisher area, the Fort Fisher Aquarium offers a 3-hour exploration of Zeke's Island is offered to those who will canoe to it. You might try your hand at crabbing, clamming, seining or bird watching while with the staff. Participants should be able to swim and be capable of physical exertion. This program is open to ages 8 and up and has a fee of $20. If surf fishing interests you, the aquarium will help you hone your skills with a 1-hour classroom session and then surf fishing on the nearby beach. All equipment and bait is provided and this activity will occur rain or shine. Ages 10 and up are welcome to go fishing and there is a $12 fee per person.

How about some marsh exploration instead? The aquariums offer two different programs for this. One class, Salt Marsh Exploration, is a hike through the marsh to have a first hand view of marsh creatures and plants. If you would like to combine that with some crabbing then the Salt Marsh and Crabbing Expedition is for you. The fees for those programs are $14 and $15 respectively, with discounts offered for aquarium members.

Summer camps are always a fun thing for family members to participate in to break up the summer. The aquariums at Fort Fisher offers surfing camps, surfing lessons, kid's summer day camp, overnight camp, teen camps (both day and overnight), adult surfing day camp or overnight adventure vacations or a women's only adventure travel.

The Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium offers some fun programs for the winter, held September through March. On Monday nights, local chefs visit the aquarium and show attendees how to prepare local seafood with great appeal. Each session includes a taste test and is open to anyone 12 and older for a $15 fee. On Tuesdays, you can take a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, similar to the one described above. Wednesdays is dinner with the critters. For $15, you can enjoy pizza and learn about the care of the animals in the invertebrate tank. Learn what it takes to feed these animals. On Thursdays, you can join the aquarium staff for an introduction to the fun of pier fishing. The staff will cover everything needed to fish at any of the local piers, including licensing, bait, species likely to be caught and all of the laws and regulations. If you are 10 years old or up, you pay just $15 for this evening event. Friday mornings is surf fishing. The $15 fee covers the use of the aquarium's equipment and bait and 2 hours of fishing. Saturday morning you can enjoy a continental breakfast next to the stingray tank. After your breakfast, you can help the staff feed these amazing animals. On Sunday mornings, you can take an early morning canoe trip through the back waters of the salt marsh.

At the Roanoke Island Aquarium, they also offer breakfast with the rays, snacks with the sharks and a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium. Once the water warms up, the staff offers a class on catching the blue crabs that live in the waters surrounding all three of the aquariums. This is something that the entire family can do together.

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Aquarium Programs & Activities

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