Latest News from Fort Fisher

Toast the Coast

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher offers a celebration perfect for pint-sized revelers ready for a new year. Join in on the “Toast the Coast” festivities at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. January 1, 2016.

The Aquarium’s 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 and ball drops for a fin-tastic 2016 to take place at the daily dive programs at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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


Cape Fear Festival of Trees

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is pleased to be the host site for the Lower Cape Fear Hospice’s Cape Fear Festival of Trees. The decorated trees will be on display Nov. 23-Dec. 6.

“Thanks to our generous sponsors, we will have more than two dozen trees with a variety of traditional and untraditional decorations throughout the Aquarium,” Veronica Godwin, LCFH development manager, said. “We are excited to partner with the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher to bring this annual holiday tradition to a new location. We encourage everyone to visit and kick-start the holiday spirit.”

Hospice volunteers will be on hand to provide information about Lower Cape Fear Hospice services and programs. Cape Fear Festival of Trees tree sponsorships support hospice services and programs for patients and families facing advanced illnesses.

“It’s a great and economical way to entertain kids and visiting guests during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” Godwin said.

General Aquarium admission includes the tree display and tickets may be purchased here. Groups of 10 or more are eligible for a discount by contacting the Aquarium at (910) 772-0500. The Aquarium is closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Lower Cape Fear Hospice is a nonprofit agency that provides healthcare and comfort to people with advanced illnesses; support and counseling to families; and education in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties in North Carolina, and Horry County in South Carolina. For more information, visit or



News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

NCAFF-ExteriorThe North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher celebrates the Veterans Day holiday by waiving all admission fees on Wednesday, November 11, 2015.

Veterans Day is one of two holidays each year the N.C. Aquariums offer visitors free entry. The other is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January. All N.C. Aquariums also offer discounts throughout the year to active duty military and retired military (with identification).

In addition, the Aquarium will be accepting non-perishable food donations on Nov. 11 to benefit those served by the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Appropriate items include canned fruits, vegetables, meats, beans and soups; peanut butter, infant formula.

Don’t forget most schools are closed for the holiday, too. Children ages 5 to 12 are invited to spend a fun-filled day at AquaCamp. Space is limited.

AQUACAMP – Top Predators
Wednesday, November 11, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Campers learn why sharks, dolphins and alligators are kings of their watery world. Games, crafts, live animal presentations and more are all part of this exciting program. Snacks are provided. Campers will need to bring a bag lunch. Ages 5-12. Fee: $40 per participant. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED.

Loggerheads Go Home

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Friday, October 30th, 2015

NCAFF_LoggerheadRelease_10-15 Dedicated staff and thousands of hours of care made it possible for two yearling sea turtles to be released into the Atlantic Ocean recently.

For more than a year, animal care staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher cared for the two baby loggerheads. The turtles received daily attention and monitoring, grew from the size of an Oreo cookie to a little larger than a dinner plate, and helped educate more than 400,000 Aquarium visitors about the threatened species.

In October, the turtles received their last veterinarian check and were cleared for release. Aquarium staff then ferried the turtles to Morehead City where they joined an expedition of biologists, veterinarians and staff from 10 Aquariums from around the country, along with 45 additional turtles. A 27-mile boat ride landed the group in warm Gulf Stream waters where individual turtles were gently lowered via laundry basket into the Atlantic for release.

24Each summer, the three North Carolina Aquariums (Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, Roanoke Island) work with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and local sea turtle rescue organizations, accepting a limited number of hatchling sea turtles that do not make the initial trek to the sea. The turtles are discovered during routine nest excavations three days after nests hatch.

While some of the turtles remain in North Carolina, others are fostered temporarily with Aquariums around the country. This year Adventure Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Aquarium, Newport Aquarium, Virginia Living Museum, Virginia Aquarium and Pittsburg Zoo and PPG Aquarium joined the NC Aquariums for release of sea turtles in their care.

“This collaborative effort to educate the public, care for these sea turtles and release them to the wild is one valuable way Aquariums work to protect vulnerable species,” said Director Peggy Sloan, NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.


See Santa by the Sea

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Friday, October 30th, 2015

DivingSantaWhat’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. 12 and 19.

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, eels and one of his favorite sea turtle friends, Shelldon.

Tis’ almost the season, so purchase your tickets today and start a holiday tradition your child will always remember. Admission includes a free photo with Santa for each child. 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 for “Santa by the Sea” available Nov. 1 here.


Toddler Tuesdays Return to the Aquarium

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Toddler Tuesday Bob 2Toddler Tuesdays return to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher on Nov. 10.

Pint-sized visitors will enjoy coloring and crafts, as well as free play with toys and books from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Little ones and their caregivers can gather to hear a fish tale during periodic story times. A toddler-friendly dive show features sharks and a sea turtle at 10:30 a.m.

Toddler Tuesdays are free with aquarium admission through February.


Aquarium Soars as Kite Festival Partner

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Monday, October 19th, 2015

CapeFearKiteFestival_CFKFcreditThe North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will help octopus, mermaids and various other sea creatures reach new heights as a community partner of the Cape Fear Kite Festival. The free annual event takes to the skies 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November 7-8 at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area in Kure Beach.

Skilled flyers from around the country will create a marine-themed kaleidoscope of color, weather permitting. Kites of all shapes and sizes, including a 100-foot blue whale and a sea of fish that move in the wind, will delight spectators.

In its tenth year, the festival will move to a new venue in Kure Beach at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Road, with free parking and food vendors. Those attending the festival will also receive $1 off general admission to the Aquarium during festival dates.

For more information visit the Cape Fear Kite Festival’s Facebook page.


Ghoulish Good Time at Aquarium

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Monday, September 21st, 2015

Pirate skeletons, caped superheroes and fairy princesses once again haunt the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher for “Trick or Treat Under the Sea.” The 2015 event features three nights of ghoulish good times, 4:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday–Friday, Oct. 28–30.

FF-TOTUS-GirlsWitchDiverGrab your costume and troll the Aquarium for pre-Halloween fun. Games and magic shows will have the family shrieking with delight. Live animal encounters and spooky divers swimming among the sharks offer thrills and chills.

Local merchants, also costumed for the event, give away treats and coupons to trick-or-treaters. Judges will recognize the booths with the most imaginative, spooky and environmentally friendly theme each evening. Limited booth space for vendors and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Those guests looking for a little more adrenaline pumping action can tread carefully down the Haunted Trail at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area (1000 Loggerhead Road). The free Haunted Trail will be only open 7 p.m.–9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30 and is recommended for ages 10 and older.

Trick or Treat Under the Sea advance tickets available online here and at the Aquarium, $11 each. Children 2 years old and younger are free. Tickets may also be purchased at the door. Children 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Be green and bring your own trick-or-treat bag.

Special thanks to Dimock, Weinberg, and Cherry, DDS; Wilmington Pediatric Dentistry and Chick-fil-A Monkey Junction for their support of Trick or Treat Under the Sea as Pumpkinseed Sunfish sponsors.


Lorikeets to Fly Away Soon

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Friday, August 28th, 2015

NCAFF-Lorikeet-nectarA gaggle of brightly colored birds flocked to Ali Bishop’s arms. They jockeyed for position near the small cup of nectar she held in her hand. While the birds squawked and bobbed at one another and lapped at the sweet juice, Bishop smiled and cooed.

“Oh, you are a lovely one,” she said.

Like thousands of other visitors this summer, Bishop, vacationing from Ontario, Canada, loved the interactive experience of “Lorikeet Landing” at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Soon, however, those wishing to hand-feed the exotic birds or simply admire them will find they’ve flown the coop.

Planned only as a temporary, seasonal exhibit, Lorikeet Landing closes September 30. The 50 birds, who arrived at the Aquarium in April and thrive in warmer climates, will be transported south for the winter to their home in Florida.

“We will certainly miss these engaging animals,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “Both staff and visitors enjoyed the lorikeets and the personal connection it was possible to make with the birds.”

NCAFF-Lorikeet-BoyArm “Lorikeet Landing” continued the conservation story of pollinators the Aquarium began sharing through temporary, rotating exhibits which began with exotic butterflies in 2014. Non-native butterfly species will return to the Aquarium in the spring of 2016.

Belonging to the parrot family, lorikeets average around 10 inches tall. Their natural habitat is tropical forests in Australia, where they drink nectar from flowering plants. In the wild, lorikeets face predators such as falcons, pythons, humans capturing the birds for the illegal pet trade and habitat destruction from logging and agriculture.

“Lorikeet Landing” is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. through September 30, weather permitting. The exhibit closes 12:30–1:30 p.m. daily for the health of the birds. Admission to the exhibit is $3 per person; nectar cups are $1. General Aquarium admission is not included.


Teacher Open House at Aquarium

News Article From: Fort Fisher on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

NCAFF-BTS-EdAnimalsThe N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher doesn’t look like a typical classroom. Yet, it’s wet and wild nature provides various opportunities to engage students in exploration and discovery. Now educators can learn all that the Aquarium offers during a special “Teacher Open House” on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

Teachers with valid school ID will receive free admission to the Aquarium. They will be treated to behind the scenes and salt marsh tours (schedule below), distance learning demonstrations and crafting activities. Aquarium educators also will share marine science-based curriculum, information about Outreach programs and more.

As an added bonus those guests visiting with a teacher during the Open House receive 10 percent off Aquarium admission. Space for tours is limited, will be first-come, first served and require closed-toe footwear. Those planning to take the marsh tour should bring an extra pair of shoes For additional information email or call (910) 772-0542.

Behind the Scene Tours
10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Salt Marsh Tours
10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Distance Learning Demonstrations
10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.