At the Aquarium

NC Aquarium large tank

Wands and Wings

Forest Fairies to Sea Serpents on March 9 combines education and imagination into a magical day of activities, free with admission or membership. Be on the lookout for fairies, elves, imps, gnomes, wizards, sea monsters, storybook creatures and other mythical characters. Costumes are optional but encouraged and add to the fun.

Children’s activities for girls and boys are available 9am to 5pm and include opportunities to build fairy houses from pine cones, shells and other natural materials outdoors, find fairy and mermaid doors around the exhibits, leave messages for the imaginary inhabitants of these structures, discover your fairy or elf name and decorate your own fanciful wand to take home.

Also enjoy a pretend sea serpent in the Living Shipwreck during the daily dive shows. The daily Creature Features turn into theatrical fairy tales starring live animals in whimsical, aquarium-style interpretations of favorite fables.

Though Forest Fairies to Sea Serpents focuses on make-believe beings, it inspires a closer look at real animals and their environments.

Reel-y Good Fishing School

Fish on! Sign up now for the annual Get Hooked Fishing School hosted by the aquarium. The popular one-day course on Saturday, March 16, features in-depth presentations by experienced anglers on many aspects of the sport, including topics such as inshore fishing for striper, drum, trout, mackerel and flounder, fly fishing, and offshore fishing. Additional demonstrations will feature fly-tying or instructions on helpful knots.

The school offers an opportunity to gather a lot of information in one day at one place. The action-packed event includes participation in up to six sessions of instruction, a catered lunch, giveaways and drawings for some great fishing gear. Agencies and businesses of interest to fishermen and boaters will be on hand.

Get Hooked is from 8am to 4:30pm, and all sessions are at the aquarium. Advance registration is required and space is limited. The fee is $60 per person; $54 for aquarium members. See the website for more information or to sign up online. Registration also is accepted by phone and at visitor services at the aquarium. Get Hooked is sponsored by the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.

Winter Warm-ups

Come on in, the water’s fine. The aquarium always offers possibilities to brighten any winter day. Think tropical and visit the Ocean Gallery exhibits that feature angelfish and other colorful beauties. More highlights:

• Toddler Time doubles the fun. Two time slots are available on Wednesdays, 9:30am and 10:30am, with lots for tots and parents to do together - crafts, games, stories, puppets, music and animal encounters. No registration is required, but get here early as the event fills up quickly.

• Dive programs, animal feedings and creature connections continue twice daily throughout the spring. The popular river otters are featured in the morning feeding program on Saturdays and Sundays.

• Behind-the-scenes tours are available six days a week for a small fee in addition to admission. Choose between three different tours including At A Glance, Close Encounters, and Shark Snack. Visit food preparation areas, animal holding areas, and get an overhead view of the Living Shipwreck exhibit, our largest exhibit at the aquarium.

The aquarium has activities and badge programs specifically designed for both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in mind. Join instructors on adventures that foster creative exploration and scientific theory. Minimum number of participants required is 10 and the maximum number of participants is 25. Visit the website for programs and pricing.

The NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is 5 miles west of Atlantic Beach at 1 Roosevelt Blvd., Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512. The Aquarium is open 9am-5pm daily. For more information, see www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores or call 252-247-4003.

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