Latest News from Fort Fisher

Hugs and Fishes Sleepover

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, January 15th, 2015

FF-Hugs and FishesWhat’s not to love about a night with sharks and hearts? The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher transforms into a kids-only zone Valentine’s Weekend. The Aquarium hosts “Hugs and Fishes Valentine’s Lock-In,” for children ages 5 to 12, with two evenings to choose from Friday, Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 14.

Guests arrive at 6 p.m. to play games, make crafts and enjoy animal programs. When it’s time to settle down for the evening, the little ones will drift off in front of the Cape Fear Shoals with sharks, rays, schooling fish and a sea turtle lulling them to sleep. Trained Aquarium staff will supervise all activities.

Dinner, snacks and breakfast will be provided. Children must be comfortable being away from parents all night. Preregistration for sleepover is required. The cost is $55 per child. For more information or to register for this program, please call (910) 458.7468 or click here.

 

Autism Friendly Day

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

SeaStar_Urchin_anenomeThe North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will offer programs tailored especially for individuals who live with autism spectrum disorder on Sunday, February 8, 2015.

Autism Friendly Day programs and activities are free with Aquarium admission. The dive program, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., will include an educator assisting guests in finding animals in the Cape Fear Shoals, the 235,000 gallon exhibit featuring sharks, rays and a green sea turtle. A diver will briefly describe the found animals. Visitors also can collect seven Aquarium passport stamps to guide them through the Aquarium and help identify animal-touching opportunities. A calm-space to help provide comfort, relaxation or a break will be available to families and their children.

The Aquarium hosts Autism Friendly Day with the assistance of the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program to better serve the needs and interests of children and adults living with autism.

Scheduled Aquarium programs and activities on Feb. 16 include:

10:00 Film – “Reef Magic,” featuring the Cat and the Hat
10:30 Dive Show at Cape Fear Shoals exhibit
11:00 Feeding at the Buzzard’s Bay exhibit
11:30 What We Love Most About the Coast
1:30 Ocean Odyssey-Reptiles
2:30 Dive Show at Cape Fear Shoals exhibit
3:00 Feeding at the Shadows on the Sand exhibit
3:30 Jellyfish Animal Encounters
4:00 Film – “Eyewitness Sharks”

Additional activities include:
• A coastal waters touch tank
• A bamboo shark touch tank
• Adventure Reef outside playground
• Ry-Con Service Dogs

Staff Making a Difference

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher honored two employees, Casey Radley and Ryan Tomb,  recently for making the Aquarium a better place to work and visit.

FF_CaseyRadleyRadley, the Aquarium registrar, won the 2014 Sea Star Award for outstanding job performance.

“Casey’s positive attitude and energy is evident to our customers and staff,” wrote one co-worker.”Aside from being a positive voice of the Education Department, Casey promotes our mission even outside of work.”

Radley started working at the Aquarium as an outreach instructor in the Education Department in 2010. She also served as a special activities instructor, working with campers and giving behind-the-scenes tours, before becoming the registrar  in August 2012. As registrar, Radley, coordinates field trips, group visits and special event registration.

Tomb won the 2014 Customer Service Award for his positive attitude and impact on co-workers and visitors. He joined the Aquarium team in 2013 as a security officer.FF_RyanTomb

“Ryan is an essential part of the customer service team,” says Joanna Zazzali, Visitor Services Coordinator. “He has a unique way of making our visitors feel so special and important. He takes initiative and helps out each department wherever and whenever he can.”

Permanent, temporary and seasonal state employees or N.C. Aquarium Society employees are eligible for the annual Sea Star and Customer Service awards. Employees are nominated by their peers, with winners recognized at an all staff meeting held each December. Award winners receive a plaque and $250 from the NC Aquarium Society.

Aquarium Continues Turtle Care

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Monday, December 22nd, 2014

IMG_5199The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher continues to care for more than 20 endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles injured in a mass cold-stunning event along the New England coast in November.  The majority of turtles arrived at the Aquarium  just before Thanksgiving, with a second group transported from the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores in mid December.

Aquarium staff provides the turtles with daily care, special diets and close monitoring.  Short recuperation times were initially expected for the majority of the turtles. Health concerns, however, were more involved for a number of the animals and required  in-depth medical care. As the animals recover they will be released into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream.

In the late fall, more than 1,000 sea turtles were rescued after becoming ill from prolonged exposure to cold water temperatures in the near-shore waters of the northern Atlantic. The extraordinary number of rescued turtles required extensive collaboration with wildlife organizations and aquariums around the country offering space and resources to care for the sick animals.

Sea turtles are reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures. Cold-stunned turtles become lethargic, experience decreased circulation and heart rates, and may die. They are susceptible to respiratory illness, animal attacks, bacterial and fungal infections. Serious cuts and abrasions may occur if the animal is washed ashore. Eye injuries and weight loss are also common.

Cold-stunned sea turtles occur in the coastal waters of North Carolina, as well. The public may encounter turtles floating in the waterway and around marinas, they may find them lying motionless along the beaches or salt marsh shorelines. Even though a sea turtle may appear to have no signs of life, it may not be dead. Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at (252) 241-7367.

The Aquarium receives no additional funding or staff to assist in the turtle care. Anyone interested in making a donation to assist in the care and rehabilitation of the sea turtles may contact (910) 458-8257 or ffmail@ncaquariums.com.

 

Teens, Turtles and Costa Rica

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Monday, December 22nd, 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

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher hosts a teen trip this summer for the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program. Sea turtle patrols, rafting in the rain forest and habitat preservation are just a few of the things high school students will participate in while being actively involved in sea turtle research.

During the 9-day trip, June 22-30, 2015, 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.

The trip is open to all high school students ages 14 to 18. Space is limited and the registration deadline is January 23. For more information call (910) 458-8257, ext. 201.

Aquarium Cares for Injured Sea Turtles from Northeast

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

NCAFF-ColdStunned-SeaTurtles1The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will care for nearly two dozen endangered sea turtles during the Thanksgiving holiday. The sea turtles were injured in a mass cold-stunning event along the New England coast in the past two weeks and transported to North Carolina on Tuesday.

More than 1,000 sea turtles were rescued after becoming ill from prolonged exposure to cold water temperatures in the near-shore waters of the northern Atlantic. The extraordinary number of rescued turtles is requiring extensive collaboration with wildlife organizations and aquariums around the country offering space and resources to care for the sick animals. Initially, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher agreed to care for 20 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles and three green sea turtles, but additional animals may be accepted as room and resources allow.

“Our goal is to care for these sea turtles and release them back to their natural habitat as soon as they are ready,” said Aquarium Curator Hap Fatzinger. “We are also preparing for the potential of local cold-stunned animals as water temperatures drop along the North Carolina coast, as well.”

Aquarium staff will provide the turtles with daily care, special diets and close monitoring. Initial rehabilitation plans estimate short recuperation times with releases into the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream when the turtles recover.

Sea turtles are reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures. Cold-stunned turtles become lethargic, experience decreased circulation and heart rates, and may die. They are susceptible to respiratory illness, animal attacks, bacterial and fungal infections. Serious cuts and abrasions may occur if the animal is washed ashore. Eye injuries and weight loss are also common.

The turtles currently in the Aquarium’s care, however, are not experiencing the most severe illnesses related to cold-stunning. They range in weight from 1 to 3 kilograms (2.2 to 6.6 pounds). Visual determination of gender and exact age is not possible. The sizes of the animals indicate all are sub-adult and are not yet old enough to reproduce.

“The Aquarium is not a sea turtle rescue facility,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “A cold stunning event of this size, however, greatly impacts these vulnerable animals. We all agreed our expert staff could assist in this crisis and do whatever is needed to save these sea turtles.” In addition to Fort Fisher, The N.C. Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island will also care for cold-stunned sea turtles.

The Aquarium receives no additional funding or staff to assist in the turtle care. Anyone interested in making a donation to assist in the care and rehabilitation of the sea turtles may contact (910) 458-8257 or ffmail@ncaquariums.com.

Cold-stunned sea turtles occur in the coastal waters of North Carolina, as well. The public may encounter turtles floating in the waterway and around marinas, they may find them lying motionless along the beaches or salt marsh shorelines. All turtles must be assumed to be alive and able to be rehabilitated, per proper methods. Even though a sea turtle may appear to have no signs of life, it may not be dead. When properly cared for after being warmed very slowly, many times these animals can fully recover if appropriate procedures are put in place quickly.

Anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead sea turtle should contact the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Sea Turtle Stranding Network at (252) 241-7367.
Additionally, the Aquarium plans to offer special behind the scenes tours to view the sea turtles during their recovery. A portion of the tour fees will benefit Aquarium conservation efforts.

NCAFF-ColdStunned-SeaTurtles2Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Tours

$5 per person, Aquarium admission not included. Each tour will take approximately 15 minutes.

Friday, Nov. 28 at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 29 at 10:30 a.m., noon, 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 30 at 10:30 a.m., noon, 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Toast the Coast New Year’s Day

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

FF__2015_smallCelebrate New Year’s Day in a new way. Join the “Toast the Coast” festivities at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. January 1.

The Aquarium coastal-themed party lasts all day with crafts, ocean resolutions and daily programs featuring “What we love the most about the coast.” A noise-maker craft and kid parade precedes two countdowns for a fin-tastic 2015 to take place at the daily dive shows at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

“Toast the Coast” activities and daily dive programs are free with Aquarium admission.

 

Holiday Outreach

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

FF_Santa_SeaUrchinA holiday-themed Aquarium Outreach adds a little something extra to your seasonal event. Perfect for all ages, guests learn more about North Carolina native animals and their natural “decorations”  from camouflage to colors used to attract mates. Meet hermit crabs, sea urchins, a wood duck and reptiles. Aquarium staff also helps participants craft age-appropriate, eco-friendly ornaments for their own holiday decorations.

For more information about a holiday-themed Outreach click here or call (910) 458-8257, ext. 236.

Get Jolly at Santa by the Sea

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Monday, October 27th, 2014

NCAFF_DivingSanta2012What’s more magical than Santa dashing through the snow? Well, Santa by the Sea, of course. Join the jolly ol’ elf for two festive evenings at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher for a unique holiday experience from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturdays, Dec. 13 and 20.

Santa’s guests make holiday crafts, play games, win prizes and much more. Explore the Aquarium’s decked halls and enjoy holiday music. Listen as Mrs. Clause shares a fishy and festive tale during story time. Good girls and boys can visit with Santa and meet a few of his wild friends. He may even surprise everyone by diving alongside sharks, rays and one of his favorite sea turtle friends, Shelldon.

Tis’ almost the season to be jolly, so purchase your tickets today and start a holiday tradition your child will always remember. Each child receives a free photo with Santa. Advance tickets are $15 per person; children 2 and younger are free. Tickets at the door will be $18. Aquarium members receive a 10% discount. Children must be accompanied by at least one paying adult.

Advance tickets available here.

 

Sweet Aquarium Treat for Halloween Trash

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

NCAFF_WrapperRecycle_2013After the jack-o-lanterns go dark and the last bits of candy eaten, a massive amount of trash remains to remind us of Halloween fun and excess. The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher invites local students to put a little green in their Halloween by collecting used candy wrappers for recycling.

Instead of trashing filling landfills with extra waste, classes around New Hanover and Brunswick counties are encouraged to save their wrappers. The class delivering the most candy wrappers by weight to the Aquarium by Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, will be treated to a free Outreach program including a live animal presentation.

Aquarium staff will weigh the collected wrappers, sort according to recycling viability and send the wrappers to a recycling partner, TerraCycle. TerraCycle creates recycling systems for hard-to-recycle waste, turning trash to treasure in the form of new products like park benches, purses and backpacks.

“This wrapper program is part of our ongoing focus on conservation and helps raise money for Aquarium conservation efforts,” said Jennifer Metzler-Fiorino, Education Curator. “Students can collectively take action in a simple way, and begin to think of new ways their communities can make a positive impact on our environment.”

Wrappers will be accepted at the Aquarium from 9 to 5 p.m. Nov. 1-21. Aquarium staff will try to weigh wrappers at the time of drop-off. If, however, this is not possible, an email will be sent to the contact documenting the weight.

Please note, the Aquarium welcomes all wrapper contributions during the collection period. The winning outreach program, however, is limited to one program for 30 students in Brunswick , New Hanover or Pender counties. Those donating are asked to store their wrappers in one bag only (no multiple zip-lock bags or plastic bags inside the big one).