The North Carolina Aquariums opened Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head in May 2011, as the first of three planned educational ocean fishing piers along coastal North Carolina.
The concept for Aquarium Piers dates back to 2002, when the nonprofit N.C. Aquarium Society purchased Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, the oldest pier along the Outer Banks. The pier and its 9,000-square foot pierhouse, along with five acres of oceanfront property, were slated to become a unique outreach site for the nearby Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Those plans were put on hold when Hurricane Isabel destroyed the aging wooden structure in September of 2003.
After that, more elaborate plans were conceived to build three hurricane-resistant concrete piers, one near each of the three N.C. Aquariums. The concept has been expanded as well to provide family-oriented educational sites from which staff can conduct programs ranging from recreational fishing and field trips to research, at the same time preserving much-needed public beach access.
During the summer of 2011, the first educational ocean fishing pier came to fruition as hundreds and thousands of people visited Jennette’s Pier to fish, sight-see, enjoy the beach and take educational classes. For more information about the 1,000-foot long Pier, go to: www.jennettespier.net.
And the timing couldn’t be better for building Jennette’s as well as the other two piers. North Carolina’s ocean piers are disappearing at an alarming rate, dropping from 36 piers in 1980 to 20 at the present time.