children in front of the river otter habitat watching an otter swimming

Exhibits and Habitats



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.

Living Shipwreck habitat

North American River Otter Habitat

The North American river otter habitat has two large pools, two smaller pools, and a waterfall feature for the four river otters in our care. The otters enjoy enrichment activities daily. The rack wall surround allows for climbing and jumping from ledges over the larger pools. There is often a bamboo raft for the otters that floats in one of the large pools. Other features include a nest, and large hollow logs for play and hide. The habitat has a second area behind the scenes for the otters over night.


The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is home to a 50,000-gallon habitat that replicates the debris field found at a dive site thought to be the remains of the flagship of Blackbeard the Pirate - the Queen Anne's Revenge. The habitat is home to fish that can be found on the dive site including sheepshead. The habitat shows replicas of anchors that would have been used on the ship and that can be found on the actual dive site. In front of the habitat are actually ballast stones from the real Queen Anne's Revenge, on loan from the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC.


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.

Spadefish Art Gallery

The Aquarium’s traveling Outreach programs bring fun, hands-on, educational activities to your classroom or event. Presentations can be adapted for all ages and an array of different groups. Costumes, props, and LIVE ANIMALS make these programs entertaining, enriching and exciting for all ages! Outreach programs can put sea turtles, alligators, freshwater turtles, snakes, horseshoe crabs, and other critters at your fingertips. Custom programs can be designed to meet the needs of any group or class.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores offers many exciting, interactive, hands-on outreach programs able to come to you! We can provide both small-group hands-on programs and interactive large-group programs for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. We incorporate engaging demonstrations, dramatizations, experiments and live animal encounters designed to inspire appreciation and conservation of North Carolina's aquatic environments. 

a mother and daughter looking at framed images in an art gallery