Latest News from Pine Knoll Shores

Volunteer open house on Valentine’s Day

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

NCA-PKS volunteer at touch tankDo you swoon over seahorses? Go dotty over otters? Think rays are romantic? Find out how to help the aquatic animals you love at a Valentine’s Day volunteer open house at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

The format makes it easy for you to see where you fit in the volunteer team so essential to spreading the Aquarium’s conservation message. Simply drop in between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to talk with Aquarium staff and veteran volunteers, and explore the various volunteer stations and opportunities that could use your helping hands.

Interpreters are needed for the two popular touch pools. At the Tidal Touch Pool, interpreters offer insight into the life cycles of horseshoe crabs, spider and hermit crabs, ocean snails and other invertebrates. Skate and Ray Encounters interpreters share the joy of touching these gentle creatures. Volunteers also assist with the information desk. visitor education, exhibit interpretation, special events throughout the year and a variety of other activities.

Volunteers say their time spent on the Aquarium team has many rewards. “Every time I volunteer at the aquarium, I discover something new and interesting about North Carolina’s aquatic life,” said Debbie Dunham. “Sharing these discoveries with Aquarium guests from all over the world is rewarding, inspiring and fun.”

Volunteers receive free Aquarium admission and discounts at the Aquarium Gift Shop and on special activities. No prior experience is necessary. Environmental education and animal handling training are provided, and flexible schedules are available. Anyone with an interest in North Carolina’s habitats and animals is encouraged to attend the open house. Advance registration is not required. If unable to attend or for more information, see the Aquarium website or contact Volunteer Coordinator Chris Carlin at 252-247-4003, ext. 286.



Get to the heart of the matter on Valentine’s Day

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Monday, January 19th, 2015

nca-pks seahorse valentinesThe North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores bubbles with love on Valentine’s Day. A scavenger hunt gets to the heart of the matter, with interesting comparisons on the various sizes of animal hearts. Also enjoy Valentine-themed crafts and activities in Discovery Classroom.

Look for Valentine’s posters throughout the Aquarium to find out more about love in the animal kingdom, such as the unique ways the male cuttlefish attracts a mate and dissuades competitors, and some curious aspects of parenthood in the aquatic world. Also look for posters depicting the big-picture theme of the day – Love Your Ocean. Find tips on how anyone can help make the seas — and the world — better for all animals, including humans.

Valentine’s Day activities as well as the usual daily programs are free with admission or membership.

Aquarium winter camps offer cold-weather fun

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Monday, January 12th, 2015

w nca-pks campers at invertebrateWinter camps at the Aquarium combine fun and learning into adventures for children in grades 2-6 on school holidays. Participants enjoy outdoor activities, animal interactions, discovery labs and behind-the-scenes action. Camps in early 2015 keep kids active on school holidays.

Jan. 19 – Senses in the Sea Camp, grades 2-4. Games, animal encounters and other activities help campers discover how animals such as otters, sharks, sea turtles, fish and other aquatic creatures 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 help aquarists prepare enrichment items for the otters, octopus and birds as they learn about the science and the importance of this element of animal care.

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.

Free admission and food drive Jan. 19

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

All visitors are admitted to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores free of charge on Jan. 19, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. As it has in the past, the Aquarium offers an opportunity to return the favor by contributing to a food drive for Martha’s Mission Cupboard.

The local food pantry helps many families through hard times all year long, and is especially in need after the busy holiday season. Cereal, peanut butter, powdered milk, canned fruits and vegetables, dried beans, rice, saltines and other staples are particularly in demand. Please check the expiration dates to assure food items can be used. Aquarium staff will collect the donations and deliver them to the food pantry. Food donations are accepted during operating hours, 9 a.m-5 p.m.

Donations are not required for admission on Jan. 19. The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and dive presentations, live animal programs and feeding demonstrations are scheduled as usual throughout the day.

Sign up now for NC Aquarium Get Hooked Fishing School March 21

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Wayne Justice with cobiaBe ready for spring angling — sign up for Get Hooked Fishing School at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, Saturday, March 21. The day-long course is packed with presentations from the pros on many topics and types of fishing. The day is filled with activity from registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. to the final wrap-up at 4:30 p.m.  Participants enjoy up to four instructional sessions, a catered lunch, drawings for fishing gear and fishing giveaways. Agencies and businesses of interest to fishermen and boaters will be on hand also.

All sessions are at the Aquarium. Advance registration is required and space is limited so sign up early. Registration is $60; for Aquarium Society members, $54 – register online. Call 252-247-4003, ext. 257, for more information.

Succulent Seafood dishes up cooking savvy

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Monday, January 5th, 2015

The Aquarium teams up with top restaurants to dish up recipes and tips on selecting and preparing fresh,seafood 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:

Jan. 13 — Riverside Steak & Seafood, Swansboro

Jan. 19 — Boro Cafe and Bakery, Swansboro

Jan. 26 — Island Grille, Atlantic Beach

Feb. 2 — Ruddy Ducks, Morehead City

Feb. 9 — Channel Marker, Atlantic Beach

Feb. 23 — Amos Mosquito’s, Atlantic Beach

Photo exhibit features early morning images

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores,Uncategorized on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

w Elegant Egret by Renate EichingerEnjoy sights seen in the early hours along coastal routes with a photography exhibit titled “Good Morning!” Renate Eichinger took most of the shots during her morning commute between Beaufort and Harkers Island, pulling over when inspiration struck.

“For many, I didn’t even get out of my car,” she said. A few images were captured from the dive boat Atlantis IV as it passed  between Atlantic Beach and Morehead City or a few miles offshore.

Eichinger used both a compact camera and a more sophisticated SLR model — and her smartphone. The latter especially emphasizes her motivation for assembling some of her favorite photos for exhibit.

“With this show, I hope to inspire others to shoot and share photos of the world they inhabit,” she said. “You don’t have to have fancy equipment or be a professional photographer. Sometimes, all it takes is a moment to pull off the road and roll down the window to rediscover the beauty of the world all around us.”

See the “Good Morning!” exhibit across from Discovery Classroom, free with admission or membership, any day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  through March 31.


Cold sea turtles get warm welcome at Aquarium

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores gave a warm welcome to eight sea turtles recovering from the effects of icy New England waters. The turtles are all Kemp’s ridleys, the smallest sea turtle species and considered endangered. They were among hundreds of sea turtles recently rescued off Cape Cod after water temperatures dipped dangerously low for the cold-blooded reptiles.

NCA-PKS Michele Lamping with Kemp's ridley 2The New England Aquarium and its sea turtle hospital has been taking in rescued turtles by the dozen. As the numbers kept climbing, other aquariums were called upon to shelter animals stable enough for transport. The North Carolina Aquariums at Fort Fisher and on Roanoke Island also expected to receive some of the stricken turtles.

Because these marine reptiles can’t tolerate winter weather, most head to warmer waters when the seasons change. Lingering turtles caught in a sudden chill suffer a potentially deadly condition called “cold-stunning,” similar to hypothermia in humans. Their heart rates and other functions slow, leaving them lethargic and unable to swim. Prolonged exposure can cause paralysis, and the turtles float on the surface or wash up on beaches. Eventually they go into shock, and many die.

The turtles were examined by veterinarians in New England and in North Carolina. They are behind the scenes at the Aquarium. They will be released w nca-pks kemp's in handoffshore as soon as they recover and transportation can be arranged, which could be days, weeks or months. Cold-stunning occurs in North Carolina waters also. A cold-stunned green sea turtle recently found near Cape Lookout is recovering at the Aquarium. The numbers vary widely according to weather patterns, but some cold-stunned turtles are brought to the Aquarium for care almost every winter. See a video on how the Aquarium helps these creatures.

Sea turtles are protected by federal law. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission monitors sea turtle rescues, rehabilitation,  releases and nesting and hatching activity in the state. If you come across a stranded sea turtle, dead or alive, call the NCWRC at 252-241-7367 or 252-728-1528.




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


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.

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.