DIVE INTO OCEAN conservation on World Oceans Day on June 8. Enjoy sea-themed games and activities while finding out simple ways you can help the oceans and their inhabitants.
Daily programs include twice-daily dive presentations in the Living Shipwreck and animal feedings. Creature features and animal encounters are offered daily at various locales throughout the aquarium. The river otters take the spotlight in morning programs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Take your visit to new heights with a twice-daily bird show, Bird’s-Eye View, now free with admission. In addition to owls, pelicans and other raptors and water birds native to North Carolina, three sun conures take to the air in Big Rock Theater. Though native to South America, sun conures are related to the extinct Carolina parakeet. Facebook fans helped choose fitting names for the brightly colored birds – Kiwi, Papaya and Mango.
Add Adventures to Your Summer
Add to your aquarium experience with a variety of programs, each offered at a small cost in addition to admission, starting the week of June 6. Choose from five sessions weekly of stand-up paddle boarding – two of them customized for kids ages 6 and up. The aquarium furnishes the boards and instruction. Bogue Sound provides the saltwater and spectacular views.
Fishing, kayak and canoe excursions, marsh treks, evening beach hikes, clamming and crabbing expeditions, and other outdoor adventures also are available weekly in the summer. The activity fees cover any supplies and equipment needed.
For hot or rainy days, choose a behind-the-scenes tour that suits your interests – general tours that cover some of everything, an otter-oriented tour, one that includes feeding sharks or one that involves feeding fish.
For the small fry ages 2-5, Aquarium ABCs includes outdoor activities, crafts and animal encounters. Camps for kids in grades K-8 are scheduled throughout the summer – ask about openings.
Check the website for the full activities schedule and minimum age requirements. Be sure to sign up ahead of time. Advance registration is required for fee-based programs.
Sea Turtles Get the Spotlight
This summer, follow the journey of loggerhead sea turtles and even speak with one, in the newly renovated Loggerhead Odyssey exhibit at the aquarium. Watch as a tiny turtle hatches on a North Carolina beach and crawls to the ocean. Meet a hatchling that’s being rehabilitated at the aquarium. Step into an immersive deep sea setting and find out how far sea turtles travel, and the huge threats they face – primarily from plastic pollution. Join our challenge to go a day without disposable plastics and help save sea turtles. Younger visitors can test their turtle knowledge with interactive games.
Then, stop by Caretta’s Cove and talk with a turtle. The new digital puppetry theater features a spunky Southern female loggerhead, named Caretta. The charming and beautiful, forever 29-year-old sea turtle has traveled the Atlantic Ocean far and wide. She will share her experiences and take questions from visitors several times a day.
40 Acts of Kindness
The North Carolina Aquariums turn the big 4-0 this year! To celebrate, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is holding a “40 Acts of Kindness” Challenge on Instagram, @ncaquariumpks and Twitter, @ncaquarium. This summer, look for 40 ideas, suggestions and challenges visitors can take on as personal ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and care for our planet. Participants are encouraged to share photos of the challenges that they complete. Tagged photos #40years or #40ActsofKindness will be entered for a chance to win a prize.
The aquarium is open 9am to 5pm all summer, including July 4 and Labor Day. Save time and buy your tickets online, register for programs and view daily schedules.
The website also provides easy access to the aquarium’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites to share your photos and experiences. For a chance to have your photos featured, tag them #ncaquariumpks.
The NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is 5 miles west of Atlantic Beach at 1 Roosevelt Blvd., Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512. Hours are 9am-5pm daily. For more information, see www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores or call 252-247-4003.