Reach into Aquarium waters and have a close encounter of the aquatic kind at the Skate & Ray Encounters touch pool.

As skates and stingrays gracefully glide around the open exhibit, visitors can feel their silky smooth “wings.”  The Aquarium’s stingrays and skates are safe to touch. Aquarists humanely clip the venomous barbs that stingrays use as protection against predators. Unlike rays, skates rely on large thorns on their backs and tails for protection.

A topside view shows off the variety of animals — southern stingrays, yellow stingrays, clearnose skates, Atlantic stingrays and cownose rays. Skates and rays are closely related to sharks.

In addition to the skates and rays on exhibit, many other species can be found in North Carolina waters, including smooth butterfly rays, spotted eagle rays, southern rays, winter skates, little skates and barndoor skates.

The Aquarium offers visitors a chance to feed the skates and rays on exhibit. Check the online calendar for the Breakfast with the Rays program schedule and fees.