Latest News from Pine Knoll Shores

Workshop covers how to make lionfish the catch of the day

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores,Uncategorized on Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

LionfishReef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), a non-profit marine conservation organization, invites divers and anglers to a workshop on how to safely capture lionfish, an invasive species. The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores hosts REEF’s Lionfish Collecting and Handling Workshop in Big Rock Theater from 6–8 p.m. on May 26.

Native to the Indo-Pacific, lionfish first appeared in Atlantic waters in the mid-1980s and their population has since surged upward. Lionfish are striking in appearance, in part because of their 18 venomous spines. They are voracious eaters, preying on more than 70 species of fish and crustaceans. They reproduce quickly and have no ocean predators. They have dramatically reduced native fish stocks in some areas. Lionfish are one of the featured animals in the new Venom: See Beyond the Danger exhibit opening soon at the Aquarium.

REEf, based in Key Largo, Fla., reports that local efforts such as that promoted by the workshop can suppress lionfish numbers enough to allow some of the affected species to recover. The workshop covers the history of the invasion, lionfish biology, ecological impacts, venomology, how to avoid getting stung, first aid for stings, and recommended techniques for collection, handling and filleting the fish. Some restaurants serve lionfish as an entree.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Please note: minors attending should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Call REEF at (305) 852-0030 or email for more information. This workshop is made possible through funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and support from the Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Olympus Dive Center is offering a lionfish hunting dive associated with the workshop on May 27. Contact Olympus Dive Center for details — 252-726-9432.


Celebrate the seas on World Oceans Day June 8

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores,Uncategorized on Sunday, May 10th, 2015

w nca-pks wod 14 stomachDive into an ocean of fun on June 6, 7 and 8 and celebrate World Oceans Weekend at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. “Healthy ocean, healthy planet” is the theme for the 2015 observance. Activities centered in Discovery Classroom include  artful opportunities for visitors to express their conservation commitments.

The classroom window turns into a community mural, inviting artists to depict their favorite animals in answer to the question, “One world, one ocean – what do you want to see in it?”  Kids also can show how they will help with drawings or ideas to post on the classroom tack board.

Kids also can guide a toy sea turtle to safety through a turtle excluded device (TED). Some activities that highlight plastic and other ocean debris: participants can pick through the contents of a simulated animal stomach to find plastics, get a sense of how hard it is for animals to free themselves or get food if entangled in plastic and see if they can sift all the micro-plastics out of sand.

World Oceans Day is an international observance to promote ocean conservation, launched in 1992 by The Ocean Project. The Aquarium joins hundreds of other organizations in observing the event with activities delivering a positive message on how everyone can contribute to the cause. The Aquarium makes it a three-day event.

Colorful cast members soar in Bird’s Eye View

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores,Uncategorized on Thursday, May 7th, 2015

nca-pks conures with namesTake your visit to new heights with a twice-daily bird show, Bird’s Eye View, now free with admission for summer 2015. In addition to owls, pelicans and other raptors and water birds found in  North Carolina, three sun conures take to the air in Big Rock Theater.

These South American natives are related to the extinct Carolina parakeet. The Aquarium’s Facebook followers helped choose fitting names for the brightly colored birds — Kiwi, Papaya and Mango.

Enjoy Bird’s Eye View at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Big Rock Theater. Some of the birds that waddle, swoop or soar through their parts in the program have injuries that prevent their release. Others were captive-bred or otherwise imprinted by human interaction so they lack survival skills needed in the wild.

The sight of birds in flight and rare close encounters with these feathered creatures provide a fun family experience. The program also delivers conservation messages by pointing out simple actions everyone can take to help these birds and their wild cousins.

Kids, bring Mom on Mother’s Day and she gets in free

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

mom and daughter Moms — it’s your turn. Mothers will be admitted free of charge on Mother’s Day, May 10. The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to the animals, exhibits and free daily programs, don’t miss a springtime family stroll on the Marsh Boardwalk. Continue on a little farther to the new TREE-mendous Nature Play Area if you have little ones along.

Wild Horse Day at the Aquarium May 16

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores,Uncategorized on Monday, April 20th, 2015

Shackleford horseBring the kids to Wild Horse Day at the Aquarium, May 16 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  This free event is sponsored by the Aquarium, the National Park Service at Cape Lookout National Seashore, the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses, Inc. It goes on rain or shine.

The “mane” event is a horse, of course — Triton, a bay gelding born 16 years ago on Cape Lookout’s Shackleford Banks. The Shackleford horses and another wild herd on nearby Carrot Island, often in view from Beaufort’s waterfront, enchant visitors and locals alike.

Enjoy other family-oriented fun that includes wild horse trivia and a scavenger hunt, and concludes with children taking the Wild Horse Protector pledge. Meet local dedicated people who protect and preserve the herds.

Horse lovers of all ages can learn about the wild horse herds that have lived on the Outer Banks for centuries. Wild horses have long roamed free on local islands, including Shackleford Banks and the Rachel Carson Reserve. The Shackleford horses are recognized as Colonial Spanish, though their origins may be something of a mystery. The National Park Service and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses co-manage the herd on Shackleford. The small Rachel Carson Reserve wild horse herd, located just north of Shackleford Banks, is managed by the N.C. Division of Coastal Management’s North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve program.

The Aquarium’s restrooms and concessions are accessible from the parking lot. Admission is required to tour the Aquarium.


Venom – See Beyond the Danger exhibit opens late May

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Sunday, April 19th, 2015

w NCA-PKS Asian forest scorpionVenom — See Beyond the Danger debuts late May, offering a different perspective on some of nature’s feared creatures. The world is full of species that defend themselves through toxins delivered by bite, sting or touch. Some of these substances hold promise for medical treatments of human ailments.

Look for a dozen new displays of venomous and poisonous insects, reptiles, fish and other creatures interspersed throughout the Aquarium under this theme. Some of the unlikely stars are native to North Carolina. Others, such as the formidable Asian forest scorpion, are distant cousins to variations found in the state.

Venom also incorporates the outdoor walk-through Hidden Inhabitants snake exhibit on the Marsh Boardwalk that is expanding to showcase all but one of North Carolina’s native venomous snakes. Beautiful Invaders, the lionfish display in the Ocean Gallery, is in the Venom lineup, too, as well as the stingray touch pool.

Learn more about the difference between poisonous and venomous, the research underway on using toxins to human advantage, the value of these creatures to their ecosystems and how to live in harmony with them by understanding their habits and habitats. Venom — See Beyond the Danger is free with admission or membership.


Summer fun 2015 at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Saturday, April 18th, 2015

boys wiht fishStart planning now for a great summer. The Aquarium is open every day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including the Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holidays.

Summer programs open June 8 with an action-packed daily schedule. New to the slate of programs free with admission this year – the birds-in-flight program is free, offered twice daily. Stand-up paddle-boarding and other outdoor adventures join behind-the-scenes tours on the long list of memorable experiences available for additional fees.

The theme for summer Thursdays is Get Outside and Play, inspired by the new TREE-mendous Nature Play Area just past the Marsh Boardwalk on the Hoffman Nature Trail. Enjoy activities at the playground and also animal encounters and creature connections on the boardwalk, free with admission.

Inside the Aquarium, look for more than a dozen components of the new Venom: See Beyond the Danger exhibit that spotlight venomous or poisonous insects, reptiles and fish. The exhibit is free with admission.

ECU seeks Bogue Banks participation in citizen science project

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Monday, March 30th, 2015

NC Aquarium Outreach - ECUBogue Banks residents are invited to an April 18 program at the Aquarium to learn more about an East Carolina University (ECU) citizen science project concerning episodic flooding.

ECU scientists and students will demonstrate interactive groundwater models in this informative session, 10 a.m. to noon. Residents who experience any degree of flooding when it rains — from standing water in the backyard to flooded streets that become impassable in storms — can explore how to contribute to ECU’s efforts by recording flooding events over time.


Safe Kids Day April 18 at the NC Aquarium

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Sunday, March 29th, 2015

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores teams up with Safe Kids North Carolina and the Pine Knoll Shores Fire Department for Safe Kids Day April 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Aquarium parking lot.

The theme is Let’s Play, and kids can enjoy activities focused on how to stay safe while having fun. Safe Kids North Carolina, housed in the NC Dept. of Insurance, will offer a variety of interactive games that teach about fire safey and home safety in general. Safe Kids also will have on hand a hot-car demonstration that dramatizes the speed at which a parked car heats up to dangerous temperatures for kids and pets left inside.

The Pine Knoll Shores Fire Department and Police Department will feature a personal watercraft used for water rescues to inspire discussions about rip currents and water safety in general.

Safe Kids activities are free.
safe kids

Aquarium welcomes new Director

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Thursday, March 19th, 2015

w NC Aquarium-PKS Director hap fatzingerThe North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores welcomes Hap Fatzinger as its new Director. He joined the Pine Knoll Shores staff earlier this month, and comes to Pine Knoll Shores after 18 years with the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

“I’m honored to be serving as Director for the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and beginning this chapter of my career along the Crystal Coast,” he said. “The Aquarium is such an amazing asset for the citizens of North Carolina. I look forward to working alongside the staff and community on creating an engaging visitor experience, and increasing our impact on conservation education.”

Beginning as a volunteer at Fort Fisher in 1996, he soon became a temporary employee and then joined the staff full-time. For the past 14 years, Fatzinger held the title of Aquarium Curator, responsible for the management of 17 staff members and nearly 4000 aquarium animals. During his tenure at Fort Fisher, he also managed and collaborated on the design and construction of major exhibits and projects.

Raised in Colorado but with strong ties to the Pacific Ocean, he traveled west to study in San Diego. He later moved to St. Thomas, and there earned a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from the University of the Virgin Islands.

The state Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and at Fort Fisher are under the North Carolina Aquariums Division, which also operates the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.