Latest News from Fort Fisher

Reel Fun Fishing Day

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Surf FishingThe North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher invites you to “Reel Fun Fishing Day,” 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Visitors can catch best fishing practices and tips and discover the lure of cast netting. Cooks in the family may enjoy a fish filleting demonstration. Little anglers casting about for games and activities won’t be disappointed when they learn to tie helpful nautical knots and create take-home crafts. Guests explore more during hands-on programs including surf fishing classes, crabbing expeditions and the opportunity to be an Aquarist Apprentice.

“Reel Fun Fishing Day” is free with Aquarium admission. Classes and tours are an additional fee. Preregister for classes here or call 910-458-7468.


Saturday, September 27 at 9 a.m.

A three-hour exploration of the Zeke’s Island Estuarine Research Reserve by canoe. Activities may include crabbing, seining, or birding. Participants should be able to swim and be capable of sustained physical exertion. For ages 8 and older. Ages 8-12 must be accompanied by two adults. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes. Fee: $25 per participant. Admission to Aquarium is not included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Saturday, September 27 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

This 3-hour workshop includes one hour of classroom discussion, then surf fishing on the beach nearby. All equipment and bait provided. Program is rain or shine, with extra activities added in event of bad weather (e.g., throwing a cast net). Ages 10 and older. Fee: $15 per participant. Aquarium admission is not included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Saturday, September 27 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Join us for this hands-on program that introduces participants to the challenge of catching blue crabs. Lessons in crab biology and crabbing equipment prepare participants for an exciting expedition outdoors to catch (and release) crabs. All bait and equipment is provided. For ages 7 and older. Fee: $19 for ages 13 and older, $17 for ages 7-12. Aquarium admission included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Saturday, September 27 at 2 p.m.

Check out a dirty job you’re sure to love. Join staff on a behind-the-scenes tour and learn about Aquarium animals, what they eat, how they live and how to care for them. Then assist aquarists with food preparation and help feed the animals. Participants also observe aquarists during daily care and maintenance tasks. This limited opportunity is only open to 10 participants. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to smell fishy. For ages 10 and older. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $28 for ages 13 and older, $26 for ages 10-12. Aquarium admission included. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED.


Bilingual Programs at Aquarium

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher hosts Hispanic Heritage Day, Sunday, September 21, 2014. The event features programming and activities presented in both English and Spanish in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Bilingual translators will be stationed around the Aquarium to share fun facts and information about exhibits and wildlife. Daily feedings, dive shows and behind-the-scenes tours will also be presented in Spanish. Guests of all ages can enjoy crafts and experiments at education stations.

“There is so much to be learned and experienced at the Aquarium,” said Director Peggy Sloan. “Language should not prevent people from enjoying the Aquarium and learning about the natural world.”

Hispanic Heritage Day and activities are free with Aquarium admission.

Program Schedule*

10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Film (Espanol)

10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Dive Show with Translator

11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Animal Feeding with Translator

11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Behind the Scenes Tour (Espanol)

3:30 p.m. Animal encounter with Translator

*subject to change



News Article From: Fort Fisher on Friday, August 15th, 2014


OCEARCH_sharktag_creditOCEARCHIn recent years, white sharks Mary Lee and Katherine have made the occasional visit to the waters off southeastern North Carolina. Now the researcher who helped tag these magnificent animals and make the world aware of their migration paths will visit the Wilmington area for the first time.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and Cape Fear Community College present an evening with OCEARCH Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 at CFCC’s Union Station, 502 North Front Street.

Fischer presents “Sharks: The Impossible is Possible,” speaking about how he and his one-of-a-kind team provide impossible access to the ocean’s apex predators for the world’s leading scientists. Fisher will share his own compelling journey to becoming a recognized leader in ocean exploration, research, conservation and education. He will also talk about a new cutting edge curriculum based on the Global Shark Tracker used by millions all over the world. The presentation will conclude with a question and answer session.ChrisFischer_OCEARCH_creditOCEARCH

Since 2007, Fischer has led 20 global expeditions to advance science and education while unlocking the many mysteries surrounding the life of white sharks and other ocean giants. His work with OCEARCH has been aired on the National Geographic Channel and HISTORY. He has spent time with multiple presidents and world leaders in his quest to Educate, Inspire and Enable – and help ensure a future for our world’s oceans.

Tickets for the event are $10 and only available in advance (no tickets will be sold at the door). To purchase tickets click here or call (910) 458-7468. THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. TICKETS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. (9/5/14)



News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher recently ranked among the best Aquariums in the country based on guest experiences shared online.

In early August, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced the winners of its 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Zoos and

Fins and Family Tour

Aquariums worldwide. The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher ranked 17th among the Top 25 Aquariums in the United States.

The rankings were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for zoos and aquariums worldwide gathered over a 12-month period, according to a TripAdvisor representative.

“This type of recognition validates the hard work of our staff and the exceptional guest experience the Aquarium provides connecting individuals with nature and fun,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan.



News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, August 14th, 2014

An Aquarium Educator begins to sign horseshoe crab.

 The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will offer programs tailored especially for individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired on Saturday, September 6, 2014.

Sign language, captioning or scripting will enhance many of the activities of the day – animal feedings, live-animal presentations and films – and interpreters will assist visitors at selected exhibits.

The dive program, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., will include an interpreter assisting with questions for the diver swimming inside the exhibit with sharks, rays and a green sea turtle.

The aquarium presents Deaf Awareness Day with the assistance of the Regional Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to draw attention to the needs and interests of the hearing-impaired.

Scheduled Aquarium activities on Sept. 6 include:

10:00 am Film: Web of Life (close captioned)

10:30 am Dive Show (sign language interpreter)

11:00 am Buzzard Bay feeding (sign language interpreter)

11:30 am Live Animal Program: Jellies (sign language interpreter)

12:00 pm Film: Nightlife (close captioned)

1:30 pm Live Animal Program: Turtles (sign language interpreter)

2:30 pm Dive Show (sign language interpreter)

3:00 pm Shadows on the Sand feeding (sign language interpreter)

3:30 pm Film: Unlovables (close captioned)


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.