accessibility at the aquarium

The Aquarium is committed to welcoming all guests to experience the wonders of the world's aquatic treasures, and a variety of services are available for guests with special needs. Staff and volunteers are available to assist you.


  • Wheelchairs are available on a first-come-first-served basis, and cannot be reserved in advance. Wheelchairs can be obtained at Visitor Services.
  • Personal wheelchairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (ECV) are permitted for use on Aquarium grounds. For the safety of all guests, we ask that ECVs be set to walking speed.
  • Accessible parking spaces are available near the Aquarium entrance. Parking is complimentary. 


All service animals must check in at Visitor Services before being admitted on Aquarium grounds. Service animals are permitted in all areas, however, areas that are considered behind the scenes areas require advanced notice. Emotional support animals are not allowed within the Aquarium or on Aquarium grounds. 

During your visit, please be sensitive to the Aquarium's animals. If they seem distressed by your service animal’s presence, please step back from the habitat to help the Aquarium animal calm down.

sensory needs

The Aquarium supports guests with sensory needs to enhance their Aquarium experience and anyone is welcome to use them. Please note that some attractions can be temporarily closed, and that some areas may be loud on days that are crowded. 


Sensory backpacks, in partnership with KultureCity, are available for checkout at Visitor Services on a first-come-first-served basis. Each kit includes items that may be helpful during an Aquarium visit. In addition the sensory backpacks, the KultureCity Social Story includes helpful hints for caregivers to better prepare for an Aquarium visit.

Sensory Bag



  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Fidget toys
  • Feelings thermometer
  • Kits are free for checkout during your Aquarium visit.






  • Coming Soon 


NCAFF offers tactile tours with two weeks advance notice. Please contact [email protected].


 Accessible Tactile Statues at the Aquarium
  • Otter Exhibit wall sculpted like a dirt riverbank with roots hanging at 5 feet and higher 
  • Raven Rock Exhibit wall sculpted like rocky cliffs 
  • Newt and Mosquito Fish Exhibits sculpted like the bark of Live Oak trees 
  • Living plants such as beauty berry and palmettos along conservatory pathway 
  • Alligator Habitat has large cypress tree sculpture featuring cypress “knees”
  • Life-size alligator statue (not wheelchair accessible)
  • Life-size baby sea turtle sculptures on structural pillar near the Loggerhead Turtle Habitat
  • Life-size adult sea turtle statue near the Loggerhead Turtle Habitat 
  • Coquina Outcrop Habitat animal touch experience 
  • Larger-than-life fiddler crab statue that you can crawl inside for a photo opportunity near Inlet Jetty Habitat 
  • Smaller-than-life relief tile of Atlantic spadefish near the side window of Cape Fear Shoals Habitat 
  • Hurricane Simulator machine (for a fee) near the bottom of the stairs near Cape Fear Shoals Habitat 
  • Near the Megalodon Jaw Exhibit, there is a sculpted rock wall with ocean animal fossils and railing with interactive fossil buttons that trigger educational audio  
  • Life size megalodon tooth sculpture on the sign at the Megalodon Jaw Exhibit 
  • Collectible penny press machines which press animal reliefs into pennies (for a fee) near the Shadows on the Sand Habitat
  • Outdoor fossil dig experience on the Garden Pathway 
  • Multiple metal memorial sculptures on the garden path, including a billfish, river otters, duck, and angelfish with coral (not wheelchair accessible) 
  • Two larger-than-life frog sculptures near the Box Turtle Habitat 

Sign Language Interpreters

Interpreters are available upon request with two weeks of advance notice. During Deaf Awareness Days, sign language interpreters take part in public presentations. Please contact [email protected]. Printed scripts for public presentations, animal feedings, and animal encounters are available upon request.