Pine Knoll Shores Exhibits

Pine Knoll Shores Exhibits

Living Shipwreck

306,000-gallon Ocean habitat

The Living Shipwreck is a key habitat at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. At 306,000 gallons of saltwater, it is the largest manmade ocean habitat in North Carolina. The habitat features a replica of the U-352 German submarine that was sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1942. The U-352 was the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard and is one of three U-boats off the North Carolina coast accessible to sport divers. The wreck is a rare oasis of structure on the sand, resting in 115 feet of water, the debris attracts swarms of fish seeking food and shelter.

The replica habitat at the Aquarium hosts many fish, sharks, and a green sea turtle. Sandbar sharks, a sand tiger shark and a nurse shark, sheepshead, Atlantic spadefish, tarpon, crevalle jack, and others can be found in this habitat. It is one of three replica wreck habitats at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

  • Family in front of Living Shipwreck
  • Visitors in front of Living Shipwreck.

Loggerhead odyssey


Follow the journey of loggerhead sea turtles in the Loggerhead Odyssey exhibit at the Aquarium. Watch as tiny turtles hatch on a North Carolina beach and crawl to the ocean.  Meet a hatchling that’s being rehabilitated at the Aquarium.  Step into an immersive ocean setting and find out how far sea turtles travel, and the huge threats they face – primarily from plastic pollution. Younger visitors can test their turtle knowledge with interactive games.           


Imagination Bay

Designed especially for our smallest visitors, the Imagination Bay indoor play area encourages free play and lots of imagination. Toddlers and preschoolers can climb on cushioned toys in the shape of a turtle, ray, and shark, crawl through a glowing cave, relax by a bubble way, discover the fishes found in a reef habitat. Free with admission. New educational, hands-on activities are scheduled to be added summer 2022. 

Spadefish Gallery

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores regularly exhibits unique art in a hallway gallery. Shows change quarterly. For a more detailed look at the featured artist visit the Artist Page. Currently, the Aquarium is showcasing an exhibit by the Colored Pencil Society of America. The exhibit features ocean-themed works created with colored pencils. This variety of work, named Small Sea Splendors, features colored pencil drawings of the ocean's smallest yet more colorful inhabitants.

  • "Ephyrae" by Sue Henson Colored Pencil Society of America 2022
  • "Whale Watching in Alaska
  • "Harmony" by Tanya Houppermans
  • "Who
  • "Feather Your Nest" by Jeffrey P Karnes
  • Linda Werthwein: from the
  • Mike Basher: from the "PULSE"
  • "Alligator Eye" by Margaret Nelson
  • "Wildlife Selfies" art show
  • Rosemary Kramer: "Winter Waterbirds" art show

Tree-mendous nature Play Area

On the Alice Hoffman Nature Trail

Enjoy two slides, a climbing net, a treehouse platform, a swinging bridge and tons of other cool stuff to inspire physical activity and creative outdoor enjoyment. The playground is near the start of the Alice Hoffman Nature Trail, off the marsh boardwalk. Aquarium admission or membership is required but there is no extra charge for this fun addition to the Aquarium campus.

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