Top off your trip to the Aquarium with a search for take-home treasures in the new Shark Tooth Creek fossil-finding adventure. This hands-on, family-friendly activity is now open on the deck beyond the Dairy Queen.
Here’s how it works: Buy a bucket of sand. Run it through the sluice – and cool off a little at the same time. Then look for sharks’ teeth and other fossils the water reveals. You keep the pail and whatever you find.
The sluice is similar to those used for gemstone mining in the Appalachian Mountains. Water flows through a trough, where participants work the sand through a screen sifter. The buckets of sand are packed by a local supplier and contain an assortment of fossilized shark teeth, fish vertebrae and other fossils. Some buckets may include fossilized snails, clams, oysters, urchins, sea stars, and corals.
But shark teeth are the most popular finds, and each bucket features more than a dozen. The teeth may be from extinct species, or those from tiger, mako, thresher, blue, sandbar and white sharks. Some lucky participants might even find a tooth from the giant, prehistoric Megalodon shark! Like the other fossils they find, the shark teeth recovered from Shark Tooth Creek may range from thousands to millions of years old!
The three-pound buckets are available for $10. Proceeds are collected by the NC Aquarium Society and used to support exhibits and educational programs at all three North Carolina Aquariums.