Things to Know


Enjoy a variety of food and drinks at the SharkBites snack bar. SharkBites is open daily from March through September and on weekends during October and November. SharkBites uses compostable cups, straws and utensils and visitors will find bins for composting and recycling on the food deck. 

Hours: 11a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Daily
Closed December – February

Gift Shop 

Find that perfect souvenir to remember your special visit to the Aquarium at our gift shop run by the North Carolina Aquarium Society. Your purchases support animal care, education programs and conservation at the NC Aquariums. Gift shop is available with an Aquarium visit. Advanced reservations are required to visit the Aquarium. 


Strike a pose at our FOTO FX vestibule and make a pit stop to purchase your photos on your stroll through the Aquarium. With so many wild backgrounds to choose from, you'll certainly go home with an unforgettable photo memory of your experience at the Aquarium. 


Tips & Insider Information to Make Your Visit to the Aquarium Fin-tastic!
  • Parking is complimentary. Accessible parking is available near the Aquarium entrance.
  • Most visitors tour the Aquarium in about two hours.
  • Weekends, holidays and rainy days tend to have higher visitation.
  • No refunds or exchanges within 24 hours of ticketed entry time. 
  • In April and May, large school groups generally visit the Aquarium from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays.
  • No food or drinks are permitted indoors. 

More tips 

  • Areas of the aquarium may be closed and some animals may not be visible for a variety of reasons including regular or special care for the animals and their living space. Refunds or exchanges are not possible in cases of closed areas or unavailable animals. Please contact us if you have questions about specific animals or experiences.
  • The Aquarium is wheelchair accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are available upon request for on-site use.
  • Trained service animals are welcome in the Aquarium. Please inform Visitor Services if a trained service animal will be assisting you.
  • Animals, other than service animals, are not allowed in the Aquarium. New Hanover County ordinance prohibits owners from leaving dogs unattended in a vehicle or tied up. Leaving a pet inside a car can be harmful to the animal.
  • Strollers are permitted. Strollers greater than 36" wide may be too large for certain doorways. The Aquarium does not loan or rent strollers or provide a stroller-checking service.
  • Barbecue grills, fire pits and open flames are prohibited on Aquarium grounds.
  • The Aquarium buildings are smoke-free including electronic/vapor cigarettes. Smoking is only permitted outside of the garden exit gate and parking area.
  • Built-in flash devices on still cameras are permitted. Flashlights, laser pointers and video lights are not. Please keep these and any other lighting devices off as you tour the Aquarium, for animal safety. For commercial photography and filming, please email [email protected]