North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

The Visiting Info shown below, if any, is always subject to change. Please check the facility's website for the latest information before making a trip.

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Facility:North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Description:The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores takes you across the state on an aquatic journey “from the mountains to the sea.” Five galleries depict the aquatic habitats and inhabitants of each major zone – Mountain, Piedmont , Coastal Plain, Tidal Waters a nd Ocean.

The Aquarium recently underwent a $25 million renovation that tripled its size to 93,000 square feet. The remodeling brought nearly 40 new exhibits and many new programs.

You can watch – and talk to – divers in the Living Shipwreck exhibit, meet an alligator or other animal face to face in daily programs in the theater and participate in a number of other fun activities. Outdoors, the Aquarium has two nature trails, a marsh overlook, a Fossil Hunt and a beautiful bronze spadefish sculpture and reflecting pool. The Aquarium also has a snack bar and a gift shop. Boat cruises, marsh explorations and other adventures are available for a small additional fee.
Address 1:1 Roosevelt Blvd.
Address 2:
City:Pine Knoll Shores
Zip Code:28512-0580
V I S I T I N G   I N F O
Hours:9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays in July for Family Night.
Admission:$8 adults; $7 ages 62 and over; $6 children ages 6-17. Children 5 and under, members of the North Carolina Aquariums and registered North Carolina school groups are admitted free.
Telephone:1 (866) 294-3477
Website:Visit Website
Krissy Eckholdt, Co-op Member
This aquarium is the perfect size and scope for homeschooled families. You can cover the entire aquarium in 2 hours and there are a wide range of things to do and see. This aquarium participates in many zoo and aqaurium memberships throughout the US. So, check and see if your local zoo or aquarium membership will get you free entrance here. There are so many activities, lectures, feedings and other things going on all the time, check online before you go to either catch the show or strategically miss it to bypass crowds. This aquarium can become unbearably crowded during peak "beach" times of the year. So go early or late to miss the midday crowds. There is also a large outdoor marsh viewing/hiking area. We actually hiked the trail once and it is very primitive. So, if you plan to hike, bring bug spray and water and don't let children wander off. The most exiting creatures at this aquarium are the otters, rays (touch tank), sharks, and sea turtles. The touch tanks at this aquarium are very strict, though. When they say touch, they mean with two fingers. The ray touch tanks will only work for adults or children with long arms. The actual aquariums are very well done and creatures are easy to spot. There is one place to eat outside the exit of the aquarium. But the best place to eat on the island is not far from the aquarium, called "The Big Oak." They serve shrimp and oyster burgers that are the pride of the town, so don't miss out. If lunches are packed into the aquarium, the best places to eat these are outside in the marsh viewing area where there are benches.
Rebekah K., Co-op Member
Our family lives about 45 minutes from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. We love it! Our homeschool group has visited on several occasions. Personally, our family goes many times a year. The employees and guides are very kid friendly. They answer all the childrens' questions with respect, for instance, when my daughter asked "Have you ever seen a mermaid?" it was treated as seriously as every other question that was asked. Concessions, which are directly outside the exit doors, are closed off season. You can bring a lunch and use their picnic area. There are several restaurants a short drive from the aquarium. The aquarium is very busy during the Summer. It is a nice paced activity. About 2 hours and you can get a good, thorough tour of the facility. Our homeschool group did the "Sleeping With the Fishes" field trip program and it was GREAT! Your group gets to camp out overnight in front of the Living Shipwreck tank all night while watching the sharks swim by! We even mentioned that most of us were young earth creationists and that we would appreciate if they didn't talk about evolution and they honored that. I highly recommend this field trip.
Bobbi H, Co-op Member
Our recent visit was a very pleasant experience! We had not been since they remodeled, but I really liked it. They still had alot of the main attractions- like the HUGE fish tank with the Shipwreck remains and the touch-tanks. But there were some other things I didn't remember. They also have a great area outside you can walk around along the boardwalk to see the coastal waterways. They have binoculars set up so you can look for the birds in the area. We really enjoyed that.

We went on a Friday morning just as they opened up. There was only one other family there, so we pretty much had the run of the place for the first hour. The kids were able to talk to the volunteers and got alot of hands on interaction with the touch-tank and the seashells. We really enjoyed it. It took us about 2 hrs to walk through and that was at a slower pace than usual...could probably have stayed longer if we incorporated a few other things but we had to leave for another field trip.

I like to get a family membership each year through the NC Aquariums (or the NC Zoo) and then we can visit all of the aquariums in the state as well as the zoo (plus many around the country when we travel to grandma/grandpa's). So if you go to various places in the state, that is the way to save alot of money and have a homeschool field trip on the go!
Tabitha, Co-op Member
Love this Aquarium. Every time we go to the beach our son wants to visit the aquarium. There is so much to do and see there. It is truly amazing. Of course you can't go without going into the big gift shop. They are always having live dives or someone is telling you about the fish somewhere in the aguarium. Great place.
C.Murray, Co-op Member
My family and I went last year and enjoyed all the different kinds of sea life at the aquarium. Will be going back to visit again soon.
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