Latest News from Fort Fisher


News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Moon JellyThe North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher premiers a new neon night of fun specially geared to tweens. By the light of the moon (jellies), children ages 10 to13 take on the Aquarium after dark at the Glow in the Shark sleepover, Saturday, August 23.

This kids-only overnight features marine science discovery in a safe and supervised environment. Qualified and trained staff lead all activities from a squid dissection to games. Before the kids tuck-in for the night they will learn about bioluminescence and meet a number of Aquarium animals.

Dinner, snacks and breakfast will be provided. The event runs from 6 p.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday. Preregistration is required and space is limited. Tickets are $65; multiple sibling and Aquarium Society member discounts are offered.

To register click here.

Turtle Trip for Teens

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Student observes a leatherback sea turtle during the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program

Student observes a leatherback sea turtle during the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program

Sea turtle patrols, rafting in the rain forest, habitat preservation—high school students interested in these activities are invited to learn more about the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program. An informational session will be held at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 16.

Aquarium staff will share details of the program and 9-day trip scheduled for June 22-30, 2015. During the trip participants assist with a leatherback sea turtle monitoring project, collect data on nesting turtles, meet local students and more. The program also includes 30 hours of instruction in sea turtle biology, rain forest ecology and research methodology. Students experience international travel and culture, Spanish language skills, research and academic field work.

Financial aid information will be shared during the August presentation. The trip is open to all high school students ages 14 to 18. For more information call (910) 458-8257, ext. 201.


The Winner Is…

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014


What’s as American as apple pie, fireworks and the stars and stripes? Maverick the bald eagle, now residing at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

In June, Aquarium guests and social media friends voted, democratically of course, to pick a name for their newest family member. Votes were cast for one of three names previously selected by Aquarium staff: Aquila (a constellation and eagle in Latin), Fisher and Maverick.

A total of 1,067 votes were collected and more than $229 were raised for Aquarium conservation efforts.

“Eagles offer a powerful conservation story,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “We are honored to care for this beautiful animal and thrilled so many of our friends voted in the naming of this special ambassador.”

Visitors have an opportunity to meet Maverick seven days a week, 363 days a year. Aquarium staff anticipates he will make an impression on guests and help them better understand the species’ survival story. Eagles were once nearly extinct in the United States but were saved by decades of conservation efforts.

The young eagle survived a roadside accident in Wisconsin. He arrived at the Aquarium early in 2014. The bird’s left wing was damaged in the accident and left him unable to fly. He could not be returned to the wild with his disability. Permitting from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service allow the bird to remain in the care of the Aquarium.

The young eagle sports dappled brown feathers and will likely mature into adult coloring of white head feathers and yellow beak within several years.


Aquarium Collects Invasive Species

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Lionfish Lionfish, with their distinctive stripes and venomous spines continue to proliferate the North Carolina coast. In recent weeks, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher staff collected more than four dozen of the invasive species during routine dives locally.

“The species negative impact on local waters is well known,” said Aquarium Curator Hap Fatzinger. “Lionfish were everywhere at our dive locations. We responsibly removed quantities of animals and are now working to distribute them to other Aquariums to help educate the public.”

Fatzinger explained Lionfish (Pterois volitan) are native to the Indo-Pacific region, but are now common in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The species sport venomous spines harmful to humans, reproduce rapidly, have few natural predators in Atlantic waters and are ravenous eaters, preying especially on young native fish populations.

In recent years, marine environmental and conservation groups have worked to educate the public and introduce eradication methods. Organized dive round-ups and adding lionfish to seafood menus have become more popular.

Visitors to the Aquarium can see lionfish in the Exotic Aquatics gallery.

Aquarium Celebrates Fathers

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

NCAFF_FamilyThe N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher honors dads this Father’s Day. Admission to the new Butterfly Bungalow, normally $3, will be free to all fathers on Sunday, June 15.

Treat dad to a colorful adventure with hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Spot the Atlas moth with a 10-inch wing span or sit together and enjoy the peaceful garden.

Dads won’t be the only one’s enjoying a special day at the Aquarium. Children are invited to craft bird feeders with the help of Home Depot (while supplies last) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. This workshop is free with Aquarium admission.




Cast Your Vote for Eagle Name

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Friday, May 30th, 2014

NCAFF_EagleMossWant to be on a first-name basis with a bald eagle? Then vote on the perfect name for the newest animal ambassador at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher– a rescued, juvenile bald eagle.

Aquarium staff selected three names for the public to choose from: Aquila (a constellation and the Latin word for eagle), Fisher and Maverick. Votes for a favorite will be collected from June 1 to June 30 using links on the Aquarium’s Facebook page and here. In addition, visitors to the Aquarium can cast a vote with monetary donations. One dollar equals one vote with donations benefiting conservation and education efforts. The winning name will be unveiled during the week of July 4.

The eagle, a survivor of a roadside accident in Wisconsin, arrived at the Aquarium earlier this year. The bird’s left wing was damaged in the accident and left him unable to fly. He could not be returned to the wild with his disability.

“It’s an honor to care for this young eagle and share his story with our visitors,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “Naming him offers another way our guests can connect to the powerful conservation story of eagles.”

Hunting, habitat loss and the once widely-used pesticide DDT depleted the bald eagle population to near extinction in the mid-20th century. Populations have since recovered and eagles were removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007, a conservation success seen in few animal species.

The Aquarium’s albino alligator, Luna, and green sea turtle, Shelldon, both received their names with the help of Aquarium friends.

  Pick your favorite name for the bald eagle now!


Green and Clean

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Help the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher go green and clean. A new initiative lights the way for more wind power availability and offsets traditional energy use with the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits.

The Aquarium works daily to help visitors make real and personal connections to marine environments. Part of connecting is understanding the collective impact of actions we all can take to have a healthy ocean.

This summer the Aquarium offers guests an easy way to help the ocean and support clean, renewable energy. Visitors may purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the carbon produced by fossil fuel use at home and by driving.

Each purchased REC provides an environmental benefit and represents one megawatt-hour of electricity generated from wind power. The wind power is generated and delivered to the national power grid. Purchasing the RECs offers direct support for renewable energy projects.

In addition, for every kilowatt hour(kWh) a visitor purchases, the Aquarium will receive a wind credit for an equal amount. The goal is to balance 100 percent of the electricity used at the Aquarium with an equal amount of wind energy, for a total of 3,037,000 kWh of electricity per year.

Reaching the wind energy goal packs a big impact for ocean health and animal habitats, keeping 2,143 metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Reducing of our carbon footprint can slow the impacts of climate change, including ocean acidification.

Visitors to the Aquarium throughout the summer will learn about this initiative during education programs, such as daily dive shows. Guests may choose to purchase the RECs by using their cell phones for as little as $5 for 333 kilowatt hours.

A grant from The Ocean Project funds a partnership with the N.C. Aquariums, Jeannette’s Pier and Greenlight Energy. Greenlight Energy is a certified independent green-power marketing company that purchases RECs for individuals and organizations, connecting producers with consumers.

Nearly 30 U.S. states are required to produce a minimum amount of green energy. Electric utilities in these states demonstrate compliance with the requirements by purchasing RECs. In North Carolina, the minimum amount of renewable energy is 12.5 percent by 2021.

There is also a voluntary renewable energy market for individuals, businesses and aquariums. In these markets, consumers voluntarily purchase renewable energy to match their electricity needs. Voluntary action provides a revenue stream for renewable energy projects and raises consumer awareness of the benefits of renewable energy.

To learn more about this initiative visit the Aquarium or


World Oceans Day

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014


The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher celebrates World Oceans Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 8.


Aquarium staff and marine wildlife experts help visitors better understand the power we all have to protect the ocean. Throughout the day, guests can play and learn at Education Stations. Hands-on activities invite personal connections with shells, sharks, the ocean food web and much more.


Atlanta-based Lee Bryan, “That Puppet Guy,” entertains all ages with several ocean-themed puppet shows, including songs and innovative characters, during the day. Steve Gerkin from the NC Zoo will also share his adventures studying polar bears. All the fun of World Oceans Day is free with Aquarium admission.


World Oceans Day activities around the world support a healthy ocean and help people get involved in supporting solutions like clean energy choices, trash-free coasts, sustainable seafood and more.


The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network began coordinating this event in 2002. The United Nations officially began recognizing June 8 as World Oceans Day in 2008.






Support our Living Treasures

News Article From: Fort Fisher,Pine Knoll Shores,Roanoke Island on Friday, May 9th, 2014
NC Aquarium Offers New Business Memberships

Just in time for a busy, fun-filled summer, the NC Aquarium is offering a new Business Membership program that’s great for small business owners, their employees and customers. Starting at $300 per year, Business Members receive premium membership benefits, free admission tickets, discounts for their employees, recognition at the Aquarium, and more.

This program is just one part of the Aquarium’s new Living Treasures campaign, designed to expand community partnerships and grow private support. In addition to Business Memberships, the campaign offers donors a variety of options—including a new annual fund, sponsorship opportunities and planned giving. Proceeds from the campaign will help the Aquarium prosper by funding new animals, exhibits, programs and conservation priorities.

For almost thirty years, the private, nonprofit NC Aquarium Society has worked alongside the NC Aquariums to help fund major renovations and new exhibits at all four Aquarium locations—Roanoke Island, Jennette’s Pier, Fort Fisher and Pine Knoll Shores. Today, they’re highly-rated and popular attractions, with a combined annual visitation of 1.5 million.

Memberships are now available online at There you can also read about the Aquarium Society’s top ranking by Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest evaluator of nonprofits. In 2013, the Society was rated the #1 zoo and aquarium nonprofit in the nation.

Join online at

For more information, contact .

A Gift for Moms

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Monday, May 5th, 2014

FF-ButterflyCraft a perfect celebration for mom at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher this Mother’s Day. Admission to the new Butterfly Bungalow, normally $3, will be free to all mothers on Sunday, May 11.

Treat mom to time in the beautiful new butterfly exhibit with hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Stop and smell the flowers together in the outdoor gardens. Hold hands and share the thrill of watching emerging butterflies at the pupae house.

Mothers won’t be the only one’s enjoying a special day at the Aquarium. Children are invited to craft bird houses with the help of Home Deport (while supplies last) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. This workshop is free with Aquarium admission.

In addition, various tours and classes are offered during the holiday weekend including Surf Fishing and Behind the Scenes tours.