The Aquarium’s Santa Paws Tree has provided thousands of needed items to the Outer Banks SPCA, generously donated by our many animal-loving friends. Now in its 12th year, the Santa Paws Tree accepts donations at the Aquarium Dec. 1-22. Donors providing 7 pounds of dog or cat food receive free admission.
Other items on Santa Paws wish list are:
• Toys (cats & dogs)
• Blankets & Pillowcases
• Paper towels
• Dog Shampoo
• Kitty Litter
All items will be delivered to the Outer Banks SPCA on Monday, December 23.
Have questions? Call 252-473-3494. We have the answers!
We’re getting sea turtles with our turkey this year! The recent cold temperatures have led to hypothermic sea turtles washing up on our beaches. These “cold-stunned” turtles may not be moving much, but might still be alive. Lend a helping hand by calling the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles hotline at 252-441-8622 if you spot a sea turtle.
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island proudly presents the new exhibit “Wild Wings Over North Carolina.”
From red-bellied woodpeckers and blue jays to tundra swans and turkey vultures, the Carolinas Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI) celebrates the beauty and wonder of wild birds in this exhibition created especially for the aquarium.
Pelicans in colored pencil and gold leaf by Emma Skurnick
The guild is a nonprofit organization founded at the Smithsonian Institution in 1968 to promote the field of naturalist illustration. It now has several chapters in the United States and hundreds of members around the world. The Carolinas Chapter is made up of more than 30 illustrators throughout the Carolinas, with a home base at the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill.
GNSI-Carolinas encourages member education by hosting bimonthly meetings for sharing of portfolios and participation in mini-workshops and demonstrations. It also helps promote public awareness and understanding of scientific illustration by producing several group exhibitions each year.
“We’re so pleased to partner with the North Carolina Aquariums in promoting public awareness of environmental issues and the diversity of life around us,” said Dr. Jennifer Landin, GNSI-C chapter president. “Bird species in North Carolina and around the world have been on the decline for more than 40 years. With this show we encourage the public to take a moment and appreciate the birds in their own backyards.”
The exhibition will remain on view through December. The aquarium is adjacent to the Manteo Regional Airport and is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
We know you love our alligators, but have you ever seen a rare leucistic alligator?
The Aquarium on Roanoke Island recently acquired this rare reptile on loan from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The juvenile male arrived after a very long trip from New Orleans.
The unusual white coloration in both leucistic and albino alligators is due to rare genetic traits. The uncommon coloration comes from recessive genes.
Rare leucistic alligators are marked with patches of natural coloration and often have blue eyes. Albinos lack all natural coloration and eyes are usually pink. Other albino abnormalities frequently include crossed jaws and curved spines. Unlike albinos, leucistic alligators are usually healthy and strong.
Out of the roughly five million alligators that make up the American alligator population, there are thought to be only about 12 leucistic alligators (from 2009 data). Females may carry the leucistic gene, but not necessarily display it.
Lacking natural skin pigmentation for camouflage, white and leucistic alligators are vulnerable to many predators. In their natural habitat most do not survive into adulthood. They are also vulnerable to sunlight and may need vitamin D supplements in their diet.
The N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island recently hosted another Wounded Warriors group dive weekend in the Aquarium’s popular Shark Dive program.
Wounded Warrior and previous diver Ron Kellogg was joined by first timers Samantha Fletcher, Nicole Stieglitz, James Pressly and Jeff Currer, retired Navy and owner of Patriot Scuba and executive director of Patriots for Disabled Divers.
The divers enjoyed their weekend with the sharks and were pleasantly surprised at the generosity of the Outer Banks community. They offer their many thanks to both Joe Lamb Jr. and Associates and Slice Pizzeria for their generous donations.
The weekend of multiple dives were led by Assistant Dive Safety Officer (ADSO) and Guest Dive Coordinator Jason Sheremeta and Dive Masters L’erin Pierce and Shaun Mordo. Both the Warriors and Patriot Scuba staff experienced diving with 12 sharks and more than 100 fish in the Aquarium’s 285,000-gallon Graveyard of the Atlantic exhibit. The divers were amazed at the close proximity of some of the sand bar and sand tiger sharks. Fletcher, who served with previous diver David Weiner, signed her name under Weiner’s on the Aquarium’s Wounded Warriors’ flag.
In addition to hosting the dive, ADSO Jason Sheremeta completed his training for Handicap Scuba Instructor, thanks to a generous donation from Patriot Scuba and the help of Currer, Stieglitz and Pressly. The Aquarium is fortunate to have two Handicap Scuba Instructors and two Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) Dive Buddies on site and takes pride in being one of three facilities nationally recognized to accommodate divers with disabilities.
The Aquarium looks forward to the next Wounded Warriors visit set for Sept. 19-23. Community organizations and individuals that would like to help support Wounded Warrior visits can contact Assistant Dive Safety Officer/Guest Dive Coordinator Jason Sheremeta at the Aquarium at 252-473-3494, ext. 239, or by email at Jason.email@example.com.
Certified divers interested in taking part in the Shark Dive program can call the Aquarium, or visit http://www.ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island/aquarium-shark-dive. Certified divers interested in the Aquarium’s Volunteer Dive Program should contact Volunteer Coordinator Shannon Brooks at 252-473-3494, ext. 254.
Monday, June 17, marked the groundbreaking of the new sea turtle rehabilitation center at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The new venture, named the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center or STAR, will provide nearly 3,000 square feet for the Aquarium and Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.) to care for sick and injured sea turtles.
The creation of the rehab center can be credited to the vision of Millie Overman, N.E.S.T. founder, and a small group of volunteers who wanted to care for an injured sea turtle and return it to the ocean. Since that day, N.E.S.T. volunteers and Aquarium staff have worked to rehabilitate and release hundreds of sea turtles. The much needed facility will include holding tanks for recuperating turtles, food preparation and storage space, a medical treatment room and a small office.
Once completed, the STAR center will be open to the public and visitors can observe N.E.S.T. volunteers and Aquarium staff working with turtles on a daily basis. Graphics and interactive exhibits will provide information about sea turtles and their plight. The Aquarium’s current Operation Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit, which allows visitors to see what it is like to be a sea turtle rehabilitation technician, will adjoin the new facility.
For more information, please visit ncaquariums.com or nestonline.org.
The new, multipurpose Soundside Pier at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island opened to the public on Friday, June 21.
Built of salt-treated wood, the 200-foot-long structure connects Aquarium visitors to beautiful and scenic Croatan Sound, as well as provides an ideal location for many of the Aquarium’s outdoor educational programs such as fishing, birding, kayaking and dolphin watching.
The pier’s lower deck is designed for school group and summer camp participation in programs such as crabbing and other aquatic adventures. The gazebo at the pier’s end offers an inviting spot to relax and enjoy the area’s local beauty.
Visitors can fish from the pier using their own gear, and interpretive graphics add to the visitor experience by providing information on notable points of interest visible from the site.
The Aquarium is at 374 Airport Road, just north of Manteo, N.C. For more information, click here or visit our Facebook page at North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Aquarium admission tickets and program registration are available online.
Marcus and Jessica Turner brought their daughter, Maci, to the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island to see the animals and exhibits, especially the new fossil exhibit they heard about recently – Shark Tooth Creek. Little did they know they were about to discover a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.
Shark Tooth Creek features a mining sluice, similar to those used for gemstone mining in the Appalachian Mountains. Water flows through a sluice where visitors work mining sand through a screen sifter.
After touring the Aquarium, the Turners made their way to the Aquarium Gift Shop and purchased a small bucket of sand in hopes of finding ancient treasures. To their delight, their sand revealed a hefty handful of sharks’ teeth, but the find of the day was a megalodon shark tooth about the size of Mr. Turner’s palm. Shark teeth recovered from the exhibit can range from thousands to millions of years old.
Each of the state’s three public Aquariums opened Shark Tooth Creek exhibits this month. The new, fun and family-friendly activity is expected to be extremely popular with visitors, and all finds are theirs to keep.
Shark Tooth Creek is coming this summer to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island! Located in the outdoor courtyard next to the gift shop, the new exhibit gives shark tooth and fossil enthusiasts of all ages a chance to sift through the sands of time in search of treasures to add to their collections.
The “creek” is a 40-foot-long sluiceway of flowing water. Visitors purchase a bucket of sand to slowly pour into their personal sifting tray. As they submerse the tray into the flowing stream, ancient fossils are revealed. Teeth from sharks such as lemon, mako, tiger, bull, cow and snaggletooth are likely finds. Treasure hunters may even unearth part of a tooth from the enormous and extinct Megalodon shark. Other likely fun finds include fossilized corals, shells, sea urchins, clams, sea stars, stingray mouth plates and more. Visitors can compare their finds to photos on the exhibit’s information panels and learn more about their new found treasures.
Shark Tooth Creek is set to be in full swing by early May, just in time for summer. Enjoy sleuthing for sea relics in this exciting, new fossil-hunting adventure!
Planning a visit to NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island? Interested in having fun and learning about the plants, animals, habitats and history of the Outer Banks? Join other budding biologists in the new Jr. Marine Biologist Patch Program – an exciting discovery adventure for ages 6 and up to explore the Aquarium’s animals and exhibits.
What is a Jr. Marine Biologist?
Jr. Marine Biologists attend programs, ask questions, complete workbook activities and promise to take care of the natural world. It’s a great way to learn and have fun at the Aquarium! As a Jr. Marine Biologist, you can help others learn how to care for our oceans.
How do you become a Jr. Marine Biologist?
When you arrive at the Aquarium, stop by the Visitor Services desk in the lobby and purchase your Jr. Marine Biologist workbook. The workbook has three age-appropriate sections: ages 6-7, 8-10 and 11 and up. Now you’re set to begin your marine biologist training.
Cost is $5 and preregistration is not required.
Complete the workbook activities that match your age group and choose of one the many interesting Aquarium programs to attend. Then, take your completed workbook to Visitor Services to self-check your answers and receive your official Jr. Marine Biologist patch.
As an honorary scientist, you’re ready to share your new knowledge with others.