While at the Outer Banks last week, we had an invitation to visit the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and learn about their facility!
We were given a tour and background of the facility by the staff at the aquarium. It was great to not only learn about what they offer now but what they are looking to offer their visitors in the future!
We started our tour by seeing the “Breakfast with the Ray’s” activity. The aquarium offers many Special Activities for visitors. These Special Activities do have extra fees associated with them but if you and your family are looking for a special experience, I am sure they are worth the extra fees. The Special Activities include Snack with the Sharks, Catch a Crab!, Gyotaku (Fish Painting), Nocturnal Beach Creatures, Nautical Wreaths, Breakfast with the Ray’s, Behind the Scenes Tour, Wetlands Walk, and Aqua Tales for Tots. These programs require advanced registration so you need to plan with their schedule to do these activities in advance.
You can see the ray tank in these pictures. We didn’t participate in the feeding but the other hands you see in the tank picture below are all people feeding the rays with little bits of food. My girls wouldn’t put their hands in that tank but I did get to “pet” a few of them. So slimy! I can see my kids getting into these activities as they are older but they were thrilled to see the rays swimming in that tank!
One of the best features of the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island is the hands on approach they have to their facility. They had these great sculptures around the facility and when we asked if the kids could climb on that turtle the answer was “of course!” Score!! The fish are at the entry of the facility and it is a beautiful fountain. The frog is inside at one of the exhibits and the kids just thought he was great. Going back to the turtle though … see the nets behinds us? It is a maze! Brian and the girls had a great time going through there and finding their way back out to us! 🙂
There is a new exhibit within the aquarium and it is ALL hands on. This is the new turtle rescue exhibit. I numbered the 4 stops in the pictures below. My three kids each went through it with their own turtle. They have these cute lab coats for the kids to put on too but my kids were not willing to play along with that part of the visit. You take your turtle to see what is wrong with it and the computer screen tells you what it is looking at and what it found (Stop 1). Then you take your turtle to make it better and once again the screen tells you what is doing and what you should do to make your turtle better (Stop 2). Once you make your turtle better with the medicine, it needs to recover in the holding tank (Stop 3). And finally, after your turtle is all better, you release it to the wild (Stop 4)! My kids really enjoyed this even though they are all under 5. They didn’t get as much of it as older kids would but they loved to touch and be involved in the exhibit!
Of course, there are tanks with fish and … SHARKS! The girls were really excited about the sharks for some reason. Maybe it was because they were so close to them in that room? It was really fun to see all of the fish that live in the Outer Banks in some of the tanks at the aquarium too.
Overall, we really enjoyed our visit to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The kids were worn out after being there for a few hours which was good for us!;) The aquarium does have a snack/lunch shop if you manage to plan your visit during lunch time!
During our tour of the aquarium, we had the chance to hear about all of the future plans of the facility. They have big plans when it comes to expanding their building, updating their exhibits to be more hands on, and a pier! We hope to visit the Outer Banks again as the kids grow up and I would love to see the pier one of these days!
Have you been to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island? What is your favorite aquarium? What do you love to see at aquariums? (I just love seeing the pretty fish … nothing specific. I am just a sucker for pretty fish!)
Psst …. you can find the Aquarium on Facebook too!
NOTE: We were provided with admission to the aquarium in exchange for this review. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are our own.