leopard frog facing the camera its head just out of the water with a water droplet falling off its chin

Things to Know

Tips and insider information for a fin-tastic visit to the Aquarium:

Best Times to Visit
  • Weekend and rainy days tend to see a higher rate of visitors.
  • Planning your visit for April or May? It's possible you may share your experience with many young visitors. Large school groups generally visit the aquarium from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays during the spring months.
  • Most visitors tour the aquarium in about two hours.
Parking + Accessibility
  • Parking is free. Designated parking for individuals with disabilities is located near the aquarium entrance.
  • The aquarium is wheelchair accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are available upon request for on-site use.
  • Strollers are permitted. Strollers greater than 36" wide maybe too large for certain doorways. A limited number of strollers are availalbe for on-site use on request. See visitor services when you arrive.
  • Sensory Bags from Kulture City are available free for use on-site for visitors who have sensory needs. Noise-cancelling headphones, fidget items, and other sensory items are included in the bag. When you arrive, see visitor services at the front of the aquarium, inside, on the right when you enter.
Gift Shop + Photos
  • There is an onsite Gift Shop at the exit of the Aquarium.
  • The Gift Shop offers sustainable toys and housewares, educational gifts, t-shirts, hats, jewelry, plush toys, books, magnets, and so much more.
  • The Gift Shop is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please see the front desk if you wish to only visit the on-site Gift Shop.
  • Gift Certificates are available for the Gift Shop.
  • In the event that the Gift Shop is closed, there is an online gift shop https://ncaquariumsociety.com/shop-online/
  • FotoFX is an onsite souvenir photo opportunity available at the Aquarium. 
  • Get your photo taken at the entrance to the Aquarium. FotoFX will offer a number of background options for the prints. 
  • Prints are available in physical and digital formats. 
Food + Beverage
  • No food or drinks are allowed indoors. 
  • There is an on-site Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen opens in early March and closes for the off-season in October. Their hours of operation are 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
  • Dairy Queen offers soft serve, blizzards, soft drinks, and snacks including chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and chips.
  • Picnic tables are available at the front of the aquarium in the front parking area and on the front patio area near the on-site restaurant. 
  • Barbecue grills, fire pits, and open flames are prohibited on aquarium grounds.  
  • Areas of the aquarium may be closed and some animals may not be visible for a variety of reasons including regular, special, or veterinary care for the animals or regular maintenance of 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.
  • Some animals are nocturnal and may be napping during the early morning. 
  • Animals, other than service animals, are not allowed in the aquarium. Carteret 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.
  • Trained service animals are welcome in the aquarium. When you arrive, please inform Visitor Services if a trained service animal will be assisting you.
  • Animals are allowed on the Theodore Roosevelt Trail at the front of the aquarium and must remain on a leash at all times. We thank you for cleaning up after your pets. 
Rules + Regulations
  • No refunds or exchanges within 24 hours of ticketed entry time. 
  • 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 in the aquarium. Flashlights, laser pointers and video lights are not permitted. Please keep these and any other lighting devices off as you tour the aquarium, for animal safety. Flash photograpy is not permitted during behind-the-scenes tours to photograph the sea turtles. For commercial photography and filming, please visit the Newsroom.