Calendar of Events

See What’s New for more on these events. Also see daily programs free with admission, and tours and adventures available for additional fees.

Cephalopod Awareness Day
Oct. 8
Honor the octopus at Cephalopod Awareness Day. Crafts, games, displays, animal programs and other activities feature the intelligent, eight-armed octopus and other tentacled creatures of the cephalopod class. Activities are free with admission or membership. Details, 252-247-4003 or

Volunteer Open House
Oct. 12
Find out how to share your love of the water and its inhabitants. Drop by and talk to volunteer staff and active volunteers at stations around the Aquarium. Volunteer interpreters work at the touch pools, discovery carts, river otter and sea turtle exhibits and marsh overlook. Volunteers also staff the information desk and assist with events. No experience is necessary; training is provided.

24th Annual Surf Fishing Workshop
Oct. 17-19
This hands-on, comprehensive workshop gets novices off to a great start and helps anglers at all skill levels increase their catch. Instruction covers rods, reels, tackle, bait, fish identification, catch and release, cast netting, caring for your catch and more. The weekend culminates with a fishing expedition to Cape Lookout. The fee is $150. Advance registration is required.

Trick or Treat Under the Sea
Oct. 29 & 30
Kids trick-or-treat among the exhibits, show off their costumes and enjoy other Halloween fun and games. For those who dare, see the dinosaurs after dark! Special admission price for the event — $11 per person, $9.90 for members; ages 2 and under free. Daily admission tickets, receipts and passes do not apply for this special event. Ticket sales 4:30-7:30 p.m. each night – no advance ticket sales.

Preschool Pumpkin Patch
Oct. 29
Dress your tots in their cute costumes for a pint-sized helping of Halloween fun, 9 a.m. – noon. For ages 5 and under, the event includes a pumpkin patch photo op, carnival-style games, stories, songs and other activities, free with admission or membership. Registration not required.

Veterans Day – Free Admission & Food Drive
Nov. 11
Everyone gets in free Nov. 11. No military affiliation, past or present, is necessary. Enjoy dive programs, animal encounters and other programs throughout the day. If you want to repay a good deal with a good deed, bring non-perishable food items to be donated to Martha’s Mission Cupboard. The Aquarium conducts an annual drive to help the charitable food pantry stock up for the holidays. Donations are not required for free admission.

Santa by the Sea
Dec. 12
Children confide their wishes among the fishes as St. Nick listens attentively. A photo of the encounter or one of the family is included. In addition to meeting Santa Claus, children enjoy ornament crafts, seasonal stories and other fun activities in this family holiday event. $15 per person. Tickets 5:30 -8 p.m.

Scrap Exchange – Crystal Coast Countdown
Dec. 28
Make a masterpiece from paper, plastic, packaging, containers, corks, candles, beads fabric bits and more stuff that otherwise would go to a landfill. The Aquarium hosts the non-profit Scrap Exchange project as part of the Crystal Coast Countdown. The Scrap Exchange, based in Durham, describes itself as a creative re-use center promoting creativity, conservation and community. Admission to the art project in Clearwater Classroom is free. Admission fees apply for visiting the rest of the Aquarium. Noon – 4 p.m.

Holiday Camps
Dec. 29-31

Holiday camps at the Aquarium combine fun and learning into wintertime adventures for children during the holiday break. Participants enjoy outdoor activities, animal interactions, discovery labs and behind-the-scenes action. Camps run 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., $40 per camper. Dec. 29 – First and second grades; Dec. 30 – Third and fourth grades; Dec. 31 – Fifth and sixth grades. $40 per camper. Advance registration and payment required.




  Holiday and special hours

The Aquarium is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including all holidays except closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days, and early closings two days in late October and one in mid-December for evening Halloween events.