There is a significant United States military presence in North Carolina. All four branches are represented in some way; from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro and Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, to Marine Corps bases Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point closer to home. On Memorial Day, the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores will host Sea Stars and Stripes as a way to salute active military and their families.
The event, held 4-8pm on Sunday, May 26, is specifically designed for active-duty military members who have young children. They are cordially invited to join the aquarium staff for an after- hours dinner, live animal presentations and take-home crafts that children of all ages can enjoy.
“This is a new program,” said Anna Greene, aquarium special activities instructor. “We haven’t done anything specifically for active military families before and hope to change that through this special event.”
Greene said the event is intended to be something nice for military families, to show appreciation for everything they do for the state and country.
“We are in a very unique situation where there are so many military bases and stations around us, such as Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, the US Coast Guard Stations at Fort Macon and on Emerald Isle, and the US Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field in Bogue, just to name a few,” she said.
“This event will also give military families new to the area a chance to see what the Crystal Coast has to offer.”
The event will provide an intimate experience. Participants will get a personal tour of the habitats with staff available to answer questions about the animals, habitats and ongoing aquarium conservation projects. There will be a reptile presentation featuring turtles and snakes, and an encounter with several of the aquarium’s avian ambassadors such as pelicans and owls. After dinner, the night will end with a craft that will engage younger family members.
“We hope the event will be successful and show just how much we appreciate our military. Right now, it’s only open to currently active members and their family, but hopefully we can host other events like this in the future,” said Greene.
Tickets are $35 per individual and $31.50 for aquarium members. For more information, or to register for the event, call 252-247-4003, extension 257 or visit www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores-special-events.