With rain in the forcast during our recent visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, our family decided to head to spend the day at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island to see what all it had to offer.
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Spending the day at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island
When visiting the NC Aquarium in Roanoke, you’ll discover numerous Exhibits which are sure to delight the entire family. I’ll start with our favorite, which was the STAR center.
STAR (Sea Turtle Assitance & Rehabilitation) Center at the NC Aquarium
In this exhibit you learn about sea turtle conservation and get to experience an interactive Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit. During our visit, there were two turtles that were being rehabilitated. They told the reason why each turtle was in there and how it was currently being treated. I chose not to snap a picture in that area since there was a sign saying “no flash photography”.
There was a screen set up and the kids were able to look in the tank and scan the tank as they were hearing about each turtle being treated. Once they heard about the turtles in there, they headed into the next room. In this room, you get to do a little hands-on learning and pretend you’re treating turtles.
Each of the boys put on a little white coat and picked a turtle. From there, they put it on the diagnostic machine to see what was wrong with their turtle. It scanned the turtle and then got into more detail. Luke’s turtle was suffering from entanglement and Davis’ turtle was from cold shock. Once the turtles were finished being evaluated, they moved on to the treatment area.
Moving to this section, they had to place their turtles on the scanner to find out treatment. From there, a video came up on the screen walking through the steps on how to treat each turtle. Since they both had different illnesses, the treatments were completely different. Once “treatment” was complete, the turtles were then taken to the tank. The number of spins in the tank is determined by the illness the turtle is suffering from.
Additional exhibits founds at the NC Aquarium
Wild Wetlands with river otters, alligators and turtles
Walking into the section, you’re greeted by the river otter tank. We weren’t able to enjoy them during our visit since they were taking naps, but we still enjoyed this area. The boys spent a lot of time here watching the turtles and the alligators.
The very first section you walk through upon entering the aquarium is the sever rivers. This section highlights the animals and cultural history that tied to the waters of the Albemarle. This was such an awesome and informative area. It took us some time to slowly walk our way through here, but the boys learned so much! There was a variety of fish, snakes, alligators, spiders and more.
At the Sea Senses area that kids get an up-close view of the stingrays and invertebrates. Davis has a special place in his heart for all animals and he couldn’t get enough of this place. He loved being able to pet to the stingrays and touch all the invertebrates. Luke wasn’t so sure on the touching part, but he was extremely knowledgeable on everything that was there.
The stringrays would almost come to a stop when they swam by Davis which I thought was a tad odd…since last I checked he wasn’t a stingray whisperer. Once the aquarium worker noticed what they were doing, she pointed out that the color of his shirt was the color that was worn by the ones that feed the stingrays. That’s when it made sense. They were associating his shirt color with food, which means they all loved him.
Shark Feeding & Delicate Drifters
While the boys were having fun in the Sea Senses they announced that a shark feeding was getting ready to start. This to me sounded exciting and after promising we would return to the Sea Senses once the shark feeding ended, the boys were on board.
We really enjoyed learning more about the sharks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic shark aquarium. It was interesting to learn that this 285,000 gallon exhibit houses the largest collection of sharks in North Carolina.
The sea jellies area is always one of my favorites to visit while at the aquarium. This was a beautiful section for sure.
There’s also the sunken ship exhibit to find sea treasures and marine life living off our coast and the Ironclad Sanctuary where you can experience the history of the U.S.S. Monitor.
The learning continues on the outside of the NC Aquarium
By the time we were ready to exit the aquarium, the wind had eased up a little and the skies were once again blue. While the nature trail was currently closed, the boys enjoyed digging for fossils in the fossil area and then walking out on the pier to enjoy the beautiful view of the water before heading home.
The North Carolina Aquarium is a must see when visiting the OBX.
Things to know when visiting the NC Aquarium
The NC Aquarium is open daily from 9AM-5PM. We found the NC Aquarium prices to be reasonable at $10.95 for adults, Children 3-12 are $8.95 and Seniors and military are $9.95.
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