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North Carolina Aquariums

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is one of the top visited aquariums in the state. As with all aquariums you get to marvel at underwater wildlife, being close enough to touch the animals, but never in any danger. This location has the largest selection of sharks in the state, stingray touching, and scuba interaction.

The aquarium is located on Roanoke Island, about 3 miles from Manteo NC. It is also open everyday from 9am to 5pm. The building is handicap accessible, with a ramp to the front door. The scuba instructors there are also trained on how to dive with people with disabilities.

The best times to get to this aquarium are in the mornings. Though open at 9am, visitors normally file in around 11. So getting there early will mean less people and more attractions. While the aquarium is a popular haunt in the summer, many people don’t realize that aquarium has a lot going on in the fall as well. Day camps for kids, as well as behind the scenes tours, and outdoor programs. They even let you rent out the place for birthdays!

The cost of the aquarium depends on the age of the person entering. Kids 3-12, are $8.95, Adults 13-61, are $10.95, and Seniors 62+, $9.95.

There is also the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium. Pine Knoll Shores has a great variety of aquatic life to see, touch, and spend the day playing with. From sea otters to shipwrecks, this aquarium is chalk full of fun.

River otters playing, looking sharks in the eyes, being close enough to a waterfall that you can feel the spray, even being able to see a rare white sea turtle – these are just a few of the things that make this aquarium a fun time for the whole family. Great spot for a vacation destination, or even just a fun day at the aquarium.

The aquarium is located five miles West of Atlantic Beach. Both the entrance to the aquarium is handicap accessible, as well as the shipwreck walk and some other outdoor facilities. The aquarium is also open everyday from 9am to 5pm, as well as free to all customers on Veteran’s day or any school field trip, as long as it is set up in advance. The cost of the aquarium depends on the age of the person entering. Kids 3-12, are $8.95, Adults 13-61, are $10.95, and Seniors 62+, $9.95.

Again, the best times to hit this aquarium is either in the morning or evening, as this is when it is the least crowded. While there are hardly ever “lines” for attractions, there is only so much floor space, so getting squished isn’t out of the question.

Then we have the Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Also known as the “Waters of Cape Fear,” this aquarium gives you both freshwater and saltwater habitats, streams, swamps, reefs, and open ocean, this aquarium has so many features that you could spend all day there, and still not see everything.

Some major attractions for this aquarium are face-to-face interactions with sea turtles, meeting albino alligators, talking to real scuba divers, and climbing what they call “Adventure Reef.” Fun for the whole family!

Fort Fisher is located about 15 miles south of Wilmington, just beyond Kure Beach. Like the other two aquariums, Fort Fisher is open 9am to 5pm, seven days a week. However the place starts to become packed around 10, so for this one, maybe wait till late afternoon to visit. While they are open all during the year, Fort Fisher has some cool camps in January, so checking them out then might be a good idea. The admission cost is the same as the other aquariums mentioned: kids 3-12, are $8.95, Adults 13-61, are $10.95, and Seniors 62+, $9.95.

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Written by Marie Nichols

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