Latest News from Pine Knoll Shores

Thanks for contributions to Veterans Day food & blood drives

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Thanks for your generosity! Many  visitors on Veterans Day, Nov. 11,  brought cans, boxes and bags of food destined for Martha’s Mission Cupboard, a local food pantry serving families in need. Aquarium staff delivered the truckload of nutrition – 1,235 food items – on Wednesday morning. The Aquarium conducts a food drive on behalf of the charitable organization every year on Veterans Day, and also on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January, coinciding with the two days each year the Aquarium offers free admission. Donations are not required for free admission.

In addition, visitors donated 50 pints of blood during the Veterans Day blood drive conducted at the Aquarium by the local chapter of the American Red Cross.


Holiday wishes, aquarium fishes & Santa by the Sea Dec. 12

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

NCA-PKS santa by the seaSanta by the Sea brings a bit of the North Pole to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores on Friday, Dec. 12, for a memorable and magical evening event. The highlight of the night is when children, one by one, tell Santa their wishes among the fishes. Outdoors, there’s a localized snowstorm with plenty of flakes for making snowballs and snow angels.

In addition to these activities plus holiday crafts, treats and stories, two entertaining performances are scheduled at intervals throughout the evening. Bryan Sanders Comic Illusionist presents his hocus-pocus in a new magic show. Santa by the Sea also soars to new heights in entertainment with aerial acrobatics by Down to Earth Aerials. The activities and performances are included in admission. Also included is a 6″ x 8″ FotoFX professional photo of the encounter with Santa. Additional copies may be purchased the day after the event.

Admission is $15 per person, all ages. Space is limited – advance purchase is advised. Tickets are available at the Aquarium and online now, and will be sold at the door from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. the night of the event. Santa and his sleigh depart at 9 p.m. Please note that this is a special event, and memberships, discounts, daily admission tickets, coupons and passes do not apply. The Aquarium closes for regular admission at 1 p.m. on Dec. 12.

Aquarium winter camps offer cold-weather fun

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

nca -pks winter camperHoliday camps at the Aquarium combine fun and learning into wintertime adventures for children in grades 2-6 during the December holiday break. Participants enjoy outdoor activities, animal interactions, discovery labs and behind-the-scenes action.

Dec. 29 – Grades 1-2
Dec. 30 – Grades 3-4
Dec. 31 – Grades 5-6

Camps in early 2015 keep kids active on school holidays.

Jan. 19 – Senses in the Sea Camp, grades 2-4. Campers participate in activities, games and crafts to discover how animals use hearing, touch, sight, smell, taste and means such as echolocation to find food and avoid predators.

Jan. 20 – Animal Enrichment Camp, grades 4-6. Participants learn about the science of animal enrichment as they help aquarists prepare items for various creatures and see how they react. Other behind-the-scenes action, crafts and animal encounters add to the excitement.

Feb. 16 – Sea Turtle Rescue Camp, grades 3-6. Campers enjoy hands-on opportunities to work with the Aquarium’s sea turtle rescue team. Campers learn how the aquarium cares for weak baby sea turtles that hatch along the coast every summer and fall, and also for cold-stunned sea turtles that strand in winter.

All camps meet 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the fee is $40 per camper, per camp; $36 for members. Advance registration and payment are required, and space is limited.




Now TWO sessions of NC Aquarium Toddler Time

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores,Uncategorized on Monday, November 10th, 2014

Bring your little ones for a special time together enjoying stories, crafts, songs,  puppets and animal encounters in Toddler Time. New this year - choose from two time slots every Wednesday: 9:30  – 10:20 a.m.  or 10:30 – 11:20 a.m. Toddler Time runs through March 25. The activities in Clearwater Classroom focus on a different animal each week. Toddler Time is free with admission and registration is not required. The program runs every week except for Nov. 26, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.
w NCA-PKS-Toddler-Time-Turtle-Puppet
Nov. 19:  Sea stars and sea urchins
Nov. 26:  No Toddler Time

Dec. 3:  Owls
Dec. 10:  Sea turtles
Dec. 17:  Hermit crabs
Dec. 24:  No Toddler Time
Dec. 31:  No Toddler Time

Jan. 7:  Jellies
Jan. 14:  Dolphins
Jan. 21:  Crabs and horseshoe crabs
Jan. 28:  Snakes

Feb. 4:  Clownfish
Feb. 11:  Frogs
Feb. 18:  Eels
Feb. 25:  Stingrays

March 4:  Sharks
March 11:  Lizards
March 18:  Otters
March 25:  End of year celebration


Succulent Seafood dishes up cooking savvy

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Sunday, November 9th, 2014

The Aquarium teams up with top restaurants to dish up recipes and tips on selecting and preparing fresh, seasonal, local seafood. Succulent Seafood sessions are scheduled for selected Mondays at 2 p.m. Aquarium staff members share information on the life cycles and habitats of featured seafood species. Chefs provide favorite recipes and personal insights on preparing finfish, shellfish and crustaceans. A taste test of the featured dish tops off each gathering. Succulent Seafood is for ages 12 and up; $15 per person, per session. Advance registration is required. Call 252-247-4003 for more information. The current line-up includes:

Dec. 8 – White Oak Bistro, Swansboro

Dec. 15 – Crabs Claw, Atlantic Beach

Jan. 13- Riverside Steak & Seafood, Swansboro

Jan. 26- Island Grille, Atlantic Beach

Feb. 2- Ruddy Ducks, Morehead City



Bring the Aquarium to you

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Saturday, November 8th, 2014

nca-pks outreach 1Brighten up a winter day for your class or group with an aquatic adventure to-go from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Even better – book a January or February visit before Dec. 31 for a 10 percent discount.

Outreach Educators bring live animals, props, costumes and hands-on activities to schools, daycare centers, community groups and festivals.

Presentations can be adapted for all ages and for an array of different groups. Choose from programs featuring sea turtles, alligators, freshwater turtles, snakes, horseshoe crabs and other critters. Classroom programs meet the state’s standard course of study requirements. Custom programs can be designed to meet the needs of any group or class.

See the Outreach pages for a complete list of options and information on booking.


NC Aquarium releases 60 sea turtles offshore

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
(11-05-2014) Michele Lamping releasing turtles, NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Michele Lamping of the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores releases 2 hatchlings, among 60 sea turtles released Nov. 5, 2014.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores celebrated success stories large and small Wednesday, as 60 sea turtles swam away into the Atlantic Ocean. The animals, which would not have survived without help, were released 32 miles offshore, near the Gulf Stream’s warm waters.

Among them were 33 tiny loggerhead hatchlings that have spent just a few days or weeks at the Aquarium. Another four loggerheads have been at the Aquarium a year as part of educational programs and exhibits. The turtles were left behind in nests on area beaches and couldn’t make it to the ocean on their own. The Aquarium annually cares for dozens of hatchlings like these in need of assistance.

Six more loggerheads released Wednesday had arrived at the Aquarium under similar circumstances after hatching on Emerald Isle beaches in 2012 and 2013. They have spent the time since at other aquariums as part of educational programs on sea turtle conservation – Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey.

Representatives from those aquariums brought the turtles back,  joined in the release and picked up loggerhead hatchlings  to take back.The traveling turtles all came from Emerald Isle nests.

Aquarist Michele Lamping, who cares for sea turtles at the Aquarium, and other husbandry staff members have coordinated the loan program and the annual release for several years, in cooperation with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Though some of the participating aquariums have older sea turtles, they wouldn’t be able to exhibit hatchlings without the program. Sending the little local turtles elsewhere helps the facilities spread the message about these marine reptiles, the perils they face and North Carolina’s efforts to help them.

“The end goal is to take the North Carolina sea turtle conservation story around the country,” Lamping said. (more…)

NC Aquarium helps sea turtle head for home

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

w (11-05-14) nca-pks sea turtle beach releaseThe NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores helped a sea turtle make the last leg of its journey home earlier this week. Staff from the Aquarium and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission gave the turtle a lift to a Pine Knoll Shores beach access in the late afternoon on Nov. 4. The loggerhead, named Barnacle, took it from there. With surprising speed, the turtle made its way across a short stretch of sand and disappeared into the surf.

The reunion with the ocean was the successful conclusion to Barnacle’s story. The turtle had become something of a celebrity on the Outer Banks after a lifeguard dove off Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills to come to its aid. The turtle was entangled in fishing gear and other debris. Volunteers from the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles brought the weakened animal to the new Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center at the NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island for care.

The Aquarium at Roanoke Island planned to release the turtle, which weighs approximately 100 pounds, on a nearby beach last week. But low water temperature there was too risky for the marine reptile. The turtle was then put on the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores passenger list, along with 60 other sea turtles, for a boat ride and release 32 miles offshore near the warm water of the Gulf Stream. When it arrived, veterinarians determined the turtle was large enough to tolerate the water temperature farther south.

Read more about Barnacle’s dramatic rescue.
See video of Barnacles’s release.
Youtube version

Enjoy the art of recycling at NC Aquarium Dec. 30

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

w nca-pks scrap exchange 12-2013 boyGive 2014 a great send-off with a fun family activity that artfully blends creativity with environmental awareness Dec. 30 at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. The Aquarium hosts the traveling Scrap Exchange art project from noon to 4 p.m. Make a masterpiece from paper, plastic, packaging, containers, corks, candles, beads, fabric bits and more stuff that otherwise would go to a landfill.

The Aquarium hosts the non-profit Scrap Exchange as part of the Crystal Coast Countdown’s repertoire of fun holiday activities in the area.

The Scrap Exchange, based in Durham, describes itself as a creative re-use center promoting creativity, conservation and community. Its Events by the Truckload program coming to the Aquarium brings a variety of potential media from a vast store of goods diverted from disposal. All the stuff is clean and safe to handle.

The Scrap Exchange also provides the scissors, tape and other tools to make a masterpiece. Two experienced Scrap Exchange staff members will be on hand for assistance and guidance, but choices and decisions on materials and theme are up to the participants.

The activity is open to all ages. The NC Arts Council, under the NC Dept. of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts provided support for the project.

Admission to participate in the Scrap Exchange project is free – just let the Aquarium admissions staff know and you will be directed to the project room. Regular admission fees apply for visiting the rest of the Aquarium.


NC Aquarium offers fun fall activities

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Friday, September 5th, 2014

nca-pks-live-dive-girl-by-larry-nc-aquariums-photoThe North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is open year-round, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas days. The Aquarium also closes early on Oct. 29 and 30 and Dec. 12 to prepare for evening holiday special events. Free programs are offered daily throughout fall and winter:

10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. – Dive program in the Living Shipwreck
11 a.m. Monday-Friday – Feeding programs at various exhibits
11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday – Otter enrichment at the River Otter exhibit
11:30 a.m. – Creature Connection live animal program in Big Rock Theater; also at 1:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 8
3:15 p.m. – Feeding program at the Living Shipwreck

The Aquarium also offers additional indoor programs and outdoor activities throughout fall and winter. Enjoy the glorious fall scenery at the coast with stand-up paddle boarding, a new and popular summer program. It is available Tuesday and Thursday mornings through fall, as long as the weather holds. A Friday morning surf fishing session and a Saturday canoe or kayak exploration of area waters also get you outside and moving.

Indoors, see what goes on behind the scenes five days a week. Enjoy 45-minute At a Glance guided tours on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, or opt for the more thorough, 90-minute Close Encounters program on Saturdays. The popular seafood cooking series, Succulent Seafood, returns in October. All these programs require advance registration and fees, and have minimum age requirements. Call or see the registration pages for times and details.