Here are some answers to
the most frequently asked questions. If you can't find the
answer to your question here, please contact
us and we will be happy to address specific questions.
1. What happened to all the animals that used to be at the
Arrangements were made to transfer some animals to sister
Aquariums at Fort Fisher and Roanoke Island. Others were
transported to Marineland of Florida, Virginia Living Science
Museum, Carteret Community College Aquaculture Department,
National Marine Fisheries Service on Piver’s Island,
Catawba Science Museum and Duke University Marine Laboratory.
Some animals may eventually be returned to the Aquarium,
but most will be displayed by the cooperative facilities
and will be traded for “future draft choices.” The
Aquarium was able to keep most of its reptiles – snakes,
alligators and freshwater turtles.
2. What will be the major features of the newly
In addition to being three times larger, the Aquarium will
feature exhibits and animals from across North Carolina. Mountain
waterfalls, Piedmont rivers, coastal swamps, and offshore
shipwrecks will be some of the new habitats. Three new classrooms
and a new 150-seat auditorium will accommodate an expanded
range of education programs and activities. Visitors will
get a glimpse of what Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen
Anne’s Revenge, and the sunken German sub U-352 look
like on the ocean floor. A new large gift shop, a snack bar,
and expanded visitor parking will also be welcome additions.
And of course, the animals will still be the main attraction.
Popular favorites like moray eels, octopus, seahorses, horseshoe
crabs, sea turtles and sharks will still be featured, but
new exhibits will broaden the animal collection. Plans call
for a new stingray touch tank, river otter exhibit, mountain
trout pool, jellyfish gallery, and sport-fishing exhibit,
to name a few!
3. How are admission fees used?Will admission fees
increase once you expand? All Aquarium admission
fees are retained by the Aquariums to support maintenance,
operations, and new exhibits. Expansion and improvements
of the three North Carolina Aquariums would not be possible
without these fees. When the new Aquarium reopens, admission
fees will increase, though the new rates have not yet been
determined. Admission will remain free for youngsters under
age 6, registered school groups and Aquarium members.
4. What kind of sharks do you have, and what kind
will be displayed once the Aquarium is renovated?
Sharks to be exhibited include sand tigers, sandbar sharks,
nurse sharks and bonnethead sharks.
5. How long should I plan for my visit to the aquarium?
We anticipate most visitors will stay two hours or more.
However, if you want to spend time on our marsh walk and
nature trail, participate in a program, search for shark’s
teeth in our Fossil Hunt, or shop in our gift shop, you should
allow more time.
6. Is it OK to take pictures inside the Aquarium?
Yes, flash photography and videography is permitted in the
Aquarium. We recommend that when photographing our exhibit
tanks, position your camera at a 45° angle with the glass.
Otherwise, the glass will act like a mirror and reflect your
flash! Also, don’t forget to enter your fishy photographs
in our annual photo contest!
7. How can I schedule a field trip or outreach program
for my child’s Scout troop or school class?
The Aquarium offers a variety of program opportunities for
school groups, civic clubs, Scout troops, and other groups.
Some programs are offered at the aquarium (including sleepovers),
and others are outreach programs, when we take live animals
to classrooms across the state. Many programs require fees,
and are offered on a first-come basis. For more information,
check our Teachers & Students page.
8. I don’t visit the Aquarium all that often.
Is membership really a good idea?
We think membership gives you great value, whether you visit
the aquarium once a year or once a week. An annual family
membership is $50. Among the benefits are unlimited free
family admission at all three North Carolina Aquariums,
free admission to the NC Zoo, and free admission to over
150 other zoos and aquariums around the country (maybe there’s
one near you!). We can provide you with a complete listing
of reciprocal zoos and aquariums. Members also receive discounts
on field trips, programs, and gift shop purchases. Plus,
your membership helps support the North Carolina Aquariums’ educational
9. What do you feed your fish and when?
Our fish are fed a variety of foods designed to meet their
nutritional needs. Most fish are fed daily, although smaller
fishes may be fed more often, and larger ones might skip a
day. Primarily we feed proteins from the sea, like shrimp,
fish, squid, clams, or krill. Some animals prefer vegetable
diets, but because it’s difficult to provide marine
algae (plants), we substitute the garden variety and feed
lettuce, kale, broccoli, peas, etc. We also make a gelatin
food mixture, which includes a combination of food types,
supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Our staff refers
to these as turtle brownies!
10. How can I get a job or internship at the Aquarium?
The Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores will
significantly expand its staff in the months leading up to
its grand re-opening in May 2006. We anticipate filling new
positions in animal care, dive operations, education, exhibits,
maintenance, security, administration, retail operations
and special events. Our volunteer staff will also increase
dramatically. Internships at present are limited, however,
a small number of paid internships in animal husbandry will
be offered spring through fall during 2005. For more details,
check our Volunteers & Jobs page.