Latest News from Roanoke Island

Free Admission and Food Drive on Veterans Day!

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Thursday, October 1st, 2015

food pantryVisit the Aquarium free on Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day! The Aquarium is also hosting a food drive for the Roanoke Island Food Pantry. Your non-perishable food donation would be greatly appreciated, but it is not required for admission.

Current food requests from the pantry include:

  • Canned chicken, ham, beef stew
  • Boxed cereal
  • Cans of fruits, carrots, lima beans, mixed vegetables, greens and condensed soups

Mark your calendars now to enjoy your free Veterans Day with river otters, sea turtles, sharks, alligators and more critters at the Aquarium on Roanoke Island!

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island’s STAR Center receives AZA Top Honors Exhibit Award

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Monday, September 21st, 2015

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recognized the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center care facility and visitor experience with a prestigious 2015 Exhibit Award in the category of Top Honors for institutions under a 5-million annual operating budget.

Presented at the AZA Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sunday, September 20, the award was accepted by five attending staff members, including Director Maylon White, from the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island before an audience of more than 2,000 zoo and aquarium peers from across the country.

The STAR Center, a project conceived more than four years ago, opened to the public in June of 2014 to immediate popular acclaim. With assistance from donations, state funds, and the Aquarium’s partnership with the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.), a regional non-profit organization supporting sea turtle, rescue, rehabilitation, and protection, the STAR Center achieved a tremendously successful first year of turtle care. Collaborations with the NC State School of Engineering and Marine Sciences Technology brought about groundbreaking approaches to sea turtle recovery, and the center itself successfully served more than  40 sea turtles and educated visitors with one-on-one contact between staff and volunteers.

The award proposal, submitted to AZA in April of 2015, was reviewed by a panel of national exhibit experts and the facility was visited by a panel representative during this past summer season. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is honored to receive this prestigious award, which recognizes the hard work put forth by all of the staff at the North Carolina Aquarium, N.E.S.T., and the Aquarium’s science and research partners to create a facility supporting the conservation of sea trtles on the northeastern coast of North Carolina.

Help us make a Big Sweep!

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Monday, September 21st, 2015

Help clean our beaches during the 2015 NC Big Sweep! On October 3 from 9am–12pm, we’ll be in Downtown Manteo next to Poor Richard’s and at the College of the Albemarle giving out cleanup gear, data cards, and directions where to clean. After the cleanup, hold on to your completed data card because it’s your ticket to the TrashFest After Party at the Outer Banks Brewing Station from 12–4pm. Free food, drinks and live music!

We are also holding a FREE kayak trip on September 26 and October 2 from 10am–12:30pm (weather dependent) to clean along the shore of the Croatan Sound. Register here.

Thanks to the Surfrider Foundation, Outer Banks Chapter for organizing Big Sweep along the Outer Banks.

Big Blue Live

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Aquarium Hosting Blood Drive

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Sign up for a donation time here.

Giving the “Gift of Life” is more important than ever. Critically needed now, blood is the one thing we can give knowing we are saving a life!

Wednesday, September 30, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.,  join the Aquarium staff and the community for our annual Red Cross Blood Drive. Donors receive free admission!

Help us meet our goal. Refreshments provided. Remember you can give the “Gift of Life” every 56 days!

Dominion, North Carolina Aquarium Partner to Build State’s Largest Jellyfish Exhibit

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015


• Dominion Foundation funds initiative at North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.jellies exhibit rendering

• New attraction will highlight the beauty and benefits of jellyfish.

MANTEO, N.C. — One of the sea’s most misunderstood and beautiful creatures, jellyfish, will be the focus of a new exhibit at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion North Carolina Power. Some have only seen lifeless jellyfish washed up on the beach, but according to Maylon White, director of the North Carolina Aquarium, the new exhibit will provide an entirely new perspective.

“The Delicate Drifters gallery will give visitors the opportunity to see that jellies are amazing animals scientifically. They are a floating community — beautiful, colorful and pulsing in all their three-dimensional glory. They add a whole new dimension to the Aquarium experience,” said White.

More than 300,000 visitors each year will explore the jellyfish jungle with its serene music, mysterious ambiance and vibrant, color-changing display. The gallery will include three cylindrical tanks, four bubble tubes, and wall units filled with hundreds of sea jellies such as Atlantic sea nettle, moon jellyfish and lion’s mane. The LED-lit tanks will be the sole source of light in the dark room.

The exhibit will also involve the care, cultivation and breeding of jellyfish. “It is labor-intensive and requires finesse,” said Brian Dorn, head of operations. “Jellyfish husbandry is an art.”

“Dominion is pleased to sponsor this initiative that will highlight the important role of jellyfish in our ecosystem in a way that is accessible, engaging and fun,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. “Supporting education and the environment is an essential part of the Dominion Foundation’s mission.”

The Aquarium will begin construction in October and a grand opening is planned for summer 2016.

The Dominion Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies, including Dominion North Carolina Power. Dominion and the Foundation support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, support education and promote community vitality. For more information about Dominion (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, VA and one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, visit

The North Carolina Aquarium: Inspiring Appreciation and Conservation of North Carolina’s Aquatic Environments.


Advisory Committee Meeting Announced

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Monday, August 10th, 2015

The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island Advisory Committee is holding its quarterly meeting at the aquarium on Thursday, August 13, at 1 p.m. The aquarium is  at 374 Airport Road in Manteo, NC. The meeting will be held in the Conference Room and is open to the public.


Intern Designs Plankton Exhibit at Jennette’s Pier

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Lisa Callister, Youth Advocacy Involvement Office Intern (YAIO) at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and NC State Graphic Design student, was presented with a unique challenge when she began her internship in late May. Jennette’s Pier, part of the State Aquarium Division, was in need of educational signage to accompany a 32-point, interactive touchscreen, showcasing varieties of plankton and their importance to the ocean’s eco-system. Lisa was ready to meet the challenge. After being briefed on the project by her supervisor and meeting with staff at Jennette’s Pier, she dove into “Life in a Drop of Water” full force and developed two sign panels and a title panel to accompany the touchscreen. After designing the panels, she used equipment at the Aquarium to print, mount and prep the signs, then worked collaboratively with exhibit staff to install the signage at the pier. The project has been well received and the public seems to truly enjoy learning about the different kinds of plankton and the wonderful plankton research partnerships Jennette’s Pier has with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and First Flight High School’s science students. Great job, Lisa!

What’s the BUZZ at the Aquarium?

News Article From: Roanoke Island on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Insects are the most common animals on earth and live in almost every habitat on our planet. They come in diverse shapes, sizes and colors, and many eat an amazing array of foods while others have extremely specialized diets. Some insects bite or sting. Others are problematic to farmers and gardeners. But many insects are beneficial and help pollinate our fruits, flowers and vegetables and make useful products such as honey, beeswax and silk. Of more than 1.5 million insect species, only 3 percent are considered pests.

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is proud to present BUZZ, 35 accurately detailed renderings of insects, bugs and spiders created by the Colored Pencil Society of America, Raleigh-Durham Chapter especially for the N.C. Aquariums. Bees, beetles, dragonflies, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, praying mantises, walking sticks, and even the underappreciated American cockroach will crawl or flutter across the Aquarium’s Nautilus Art Gallery through September, 2015.

“Ceropia Robin Moth,” colored pencil illustration by Jackie Balog

“Ceropia Robin Moth,” colored pencil illustration by Jackie Balog

Colored pencils have become a popular medium worldwide. They are well suited for capturing the beauty of nature. Their depth and intensity of color, their ability to render fine detail, and their durability make them suited to a wide range of subjects and techniques – from quick field sketches to scientific illustrations and formal portraits. Because colored pencils are semi-transparent, artists can create luminous, vibrant effects by layering and burnishing. And because colored pencils are compatible with watercolor, acrylic, ink and graphite, they lend themselves to multimedia compositions.

Says Toby Shaw, President of CPSA Raleigh-Durham District Chapter 114, “We’re thrilled to have created the BUZZ art show for the North Carolina Aquariums. Chapter participants did a lot of research into bugs from around the world before putting pencil, brush or paint to the paper. We learned a lot about different bugs and how beautiful and beneficial they are…and how much we need to work to save endangered species, such as the honey bee.”

The CPSA, founded in 1990, has 27 chapters and a total membership of more than 2,000. Although the Raleigh-Durham chapter is located in the Triangle, it has nationally and internationally recognized members throughout North Carolina. The chapter holds workshops and a weekly open studio, sponsors exhibitions, and promotes the use of colored pencils in every kind of art.

BUZZ is included with regular Aquarium admission. For more information about the Colored Pencil Society of America, visit and the Raleigh-Durham Chapter Web site at

North Carolina Aquariums among the best in the US

News Article From: Fort Fisher,Pine Knoll Shores,Roanoke Island,Uncategorized on Monday, July 20th, 2015
The North Carolina Aquariums are stars! Visitors rated the three state Aquariums among the best in the nation on a popular travel website.

The North Carolina Aquariums are stars! Visitors rated the three state Aquariums among the best in the nation on a popular travel website.

Fascinating animals, friendly staff and dynamic exhibits make the North Carolina Aquariums three of the best in the nation, according to a popular travel website.

The Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores came in at number 12, Fort Fisher at 16 and Roanoke Island, 19, on the TripAdvisor® list of the top 25 aquariums in the United States.

The state-operated facilities share top billing with much larger counterparts on the Travelers’ Choice™ scorecard. The high honors resulted from comments and ratings hundreds of visitors to the North Carolina Aquariums contributed to the travel website over 12 months. TripAdvisor® says it uses an algorithm that takes into account the quantity and quality of such reviews.

Visitors praised the clever ways learning is integrated with family fun, the helpful and friendly staff and volunteers, experiences such as seeing sea turtles and touching stingrays, and the variety of exhibits on offer each year.

Here are some comments that propelled the Aquariums to the winners’ circle. Click on the name of each facility to see more of the TripAdvisor® reviews.

Pine Knoll Shores: “Wonderful, helpful staff…Absolutely beautiful and educational…There are always new exhibits.”

Fort Fisher: “North Carolina’s jewel of an aquarium…A must-see attraction…Loved being able to touch the rays.”

Roanoke Island: “We were able to ask questions to the divers while they were in the tank…Otters were just too much fun…I have been there six different years and each time was as exciting as the first.”

David Griffin, Director of the North Carolina Aquariums Division, thanked visitors who took time to comment on their experiences on the travel site. “We appreciate the honor. More importantly, though, visitors are saying they learned about fish and sharks and other aquatic animals while enjoying time with their families. That is what we want to hear. That is why we go to work every day,” he said.

The Aquariums, under the N.C. Department of Natural Resources, share a common mission to inspire appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments. The facilities also are major players in coastal tourism. More than a million people visited the three Aquariums in 2014. The Aquariums Division also operates Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head, an educational fishing pier that recorded 850,000 visitors in 2014.