Social Events

Let us make your event unforgettable.

Whether you are hosting a rehearsal dinner in front of the exotic fishes, a wedding reception by the stunning Cape Fear Shoals gallery, or an anniversary party in our lush Cape Fear Conservatory, we can meet your needs.

The Aquarium can accommodate from up to 2,000 people. Choose from four exquisite venues:

  • Entire Aquarium
  • Upper Mezzanine and Lower Cape Fear Shoals
  • Cape Fear Conservatory/Lobby
  • Exotic Aquatics Gallery, Deck and Garden

Entire Aquarium

The Aquarium allows for the rental of the Entire Aquarium with capability of moving your guests from gallery to gallery as you transition from the ceremony to cocktails to the reception. Imagine the flexibility of your guests being able to stroll the exhibits during your special event. The Entire Aquarium includes the magnificent Upper Mezzanine and Lower Cape Fear Shoals Exhibit, the enchanting Cape Fear Conservatory, the mysterious Exotic Aquatics Gallery, and the fun of a tropical deck and garden.

Capacity: 350 Seated or 2000 Strolling

Upper Mezzanine and Lower Cape Fear Shoals

The Aquarium’s most popular rental option effortlessly combines the upper and lower level of the Marine Building, in front of the expansive Cape Fear Shoals exhibit. You may choose to utilize the upper level for your ceremony site and proceed to the lower level for a seated dinner, dancing and cocktails.

If you are taking your vows on a nearby beach, we are the perfect backup location for your ceremony in case of inclement weather. Your event can be designed to custom fit your needs.

Capacity: 350 Seated or 1800 Strolling

Cape Fear Conservatory/Lobby

The Cape Fear Conservatory features the flora and fauna found in the Cape Fear River Basin. Nearly ¾ of an acre, the Conservatory’s glass roof, sloping brick walkways and low-level lighting make an enchanting setting for a unique and elegant reception site. While visiting with your guests, be aware free-roaming quail, song birds and wood ducks will join in. This location is especially nice in fall and spring months.

Capacity: 200 Strolling or 60 Seated in Lobby

Exotic Aquatics Gallery, Deck and Garden

The Exotic Aquatics Gallery, Deck and Garden contains the Pacific reef exhibit with live coral, vibrant Hawaiian fishes, gigantic lobsters, poison dart frogs and much more.

This intimate space is designed to accommodate an event or reception of up to 60. It provides access to the deck and garden.

Capacity: 70 Inside Guests – additional 72 Guests outside (weather permitting) not available on Saturdays.

Crystal Spadefish

Need additional decorations? Integrate the Aquarium theme utilizing our Crystal Spadefish centerpiece at your event? Ask for details when booking.