The N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is open daily, year-round, with activities that educate visitors on conservation efforts and the animals that call live there.

Those who visit the aquarium can participate in daily activities, weekly outdoor events or special one-time events, each with a specific theme aimed to provide educational fun.

The aquarium’s Living Shipwreck exhibit is a 306,000-gallon ocean habitat.

It is the largest manmade ocean habitat in North Carolina and features a replica of the U-352 German submarine that was sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1942.

The replica habitat at the aquarium hosts many fish, sharks and a green sea turtle. Sandbar sharks, sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, sheepshead, Atlantic spadefish, tarpon, crevalle jack and others can be found in this habitat.

Daily dive shows are held in the habitat, and visitors can speak with divers about ocean environments, diving and conservation.

The Loggerhead Odyssey, featuring Caretta’s Cove, allows the aquarium visitors to follow the journey of loggerhead sea turtles and even “speak” with one.

Visitors can step into an immersive ocean setting and find out how far sea turtles travel and the huge threats they face – primarily from plastic pollution.

As they learn more about the conservation efforts, visitors can join the aquarium’s challenge to go a day without disposable plastics and help save sea turtles.

Younger visitors can test their turtle knowledge with interactive games.           

Caretta’s Cove allows visitors to “talk” with a turtle.

The digital puppetry theater features a Southern female loggerhead, named Caretta.  

She shares her experiences and takes questions from visitors several times a day.

The Little Minnows Play Area is designed for the aquarium’s smallest visitors.

Toddlers and preschoolers can play dress-up, ride and climb on cushioned toys and relax with a book in a reading nook.  This area is free with admission.

The Spadefish Gallery features photography and other works of art. Shows change quarterly, so those who are interested should visit the aquarium website’s special events section for detailed look at the featured artist.

The Tree-mendous Nature Play Area is on the Alice Hoffman Nature Trail.

Those who visit this area can enjoy two slides, a climbing net, a treehouse platform, a swinging bridge and tons of things to inspire physical activity and creative outdoor enjoyment.

Aquarium admission or membership is required, but there is no extra charge for this addition to the aquarium campus.

Listed are the special events and activities the aquarium offers.

Tuesday

•    Stand-Up Paddle boarding - 9-11 a.m. October through November, weather permitting. Explore Bogue Sound and the Roosevelt Natural Area on a stand-up paddle board with an instructor to guide you.  This activity is for those over the age of 8. The cost is $40.

•    Behind the Scenes: Shark Snack - 2:30-3:30 p.m.  Visit food preparation areas, animal holding areas and get an overhead view of the Living Shipwreck while watching the aquarist feed the sharks. This event is for those over the age of 5. It costs $20 per person.

Wednesday

•    Behind the Scenes: Feeding Frenzy - 2:30-3:30 p.m.  Visit food preparation areas, animal holding areas and get an overhead view of the Living Shipwreck while helping the aquarist feed the fish. This event is for those over the age of 5. It costs $20 per person.

Thursday

•    Roosevelt Natural Area Paddle Trip 9-11 a.m. October through November, weather permitting. Participants will load up canoes or kayaks provided by the aquarium and enjoy a leisurely paddle through quiet backwaters to explore the diversity of the salt marsh. It is for those over the age of 10 and is $25 per person.

•    Behind the Scenes: Feeding Frenzy - 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Friday

•    Surf Fishing – 8-11 a.m. October through November, weather permitting. Learn tips to increase your catch from the surf with expert instruction and hands-on experience. The license requirement is covered, and equipment and bait are provided. The course is for those over the age of 10 and is $25 per person.

•    Behind the Scenes: Shark Snack - 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Saturday

•    Behind the Scenes: Feeding Frenzy - 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Sunday

•    Behind the Scenes: Feeding Frenzy - 2:30-3:30 p.m.  

Other events

•    Surf Fishing Workshop, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 11-13: This hands-on workshop is designed for novice fishermen, but also works as a refresher course for all skill levels. Instruction covers rods, reels, weights, line, tackle, knots, bait, fish identification, catch and release, cast netting, reading the surf, locating fish from the beach and caring for your catch. The weekend culminates with a fishing expedition to Cape Lookout National Seashore. It is for those over the age of 12 and costs $150 for aquarium members and $135 for nonmembers.

•    Holiday Camps: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily: Campers enjoy outdoor activities, animal interactions, discovery labs and behind-the-scenes action. The camp dates are Thursday, Dec. 19 for first through third grade and Friday, Dec. 20 for fourth through sixth grade. The cost is $40 per camper, and advanced registration is required.

•    Sea Turtle Camp for fourth through sixth grade, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20: Budding marine biologists can experience what it’s like to work with these marine reptiles. Participants will learn all about sea turtles as they work alongside the aquarium’s turtle biologists. Animal encounters, behind-the-scenes action and a take-home craft project also are included. The cost is $40 per camper, and advanced registration is required.

For more information about the aquarium or any of the programs it offers, call 252-247-4003 or visit ncaquariums.com.

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