Latest News from Pine Knoll Shores

Happy Thanksgiving! The Aquarium is closed Thursday

News Article From: Pine Knoll Shores on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

nca-pks tanksgiving 4The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is CLOSED on Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day. The Aquarium is open normal operating hours – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – throughout the holiday season, except closing at 1 p.m. Dec. 12 to prepare for Santa by the Sea, and closed Christmas Day. The Aquarium is open as usual on New Year’s Day.

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.




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