The newly expanded Aquarium takes visitors on a tour of North Carolina’s amazing aquatic life "from the mountains to the sea." The journey is arranged in five galleries: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain, Tidal Waters and Ocean.
Among the 38 innovative exhibits are re-created shipwrecks that showcase the diverse marine life attracted to these sunken vessels. The 306,000-gallon Living Shipwreck display in the Ocean Gallery features a three-quarter-size replica of a German U-boat that was sunk off Cape Lookout in World War II. The Queen Anne’s Revenge duplicates the 18th century artifacts in Beaufort Inlet thought to be the wreckage of the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship.
Also new to the Aquarium are a pair of playful river otters, a roaring mountain waterfall, a trout pool, a jellyfish gallery, a sportfishing display and a cypress swamp display. Touch pools allow personal contact with stingrays, whelks and other creatures. The Aquarium offers an array of activities and field trips, and has facilities for weddings, celebrations and meetings. Visitors also will find a large gift shop and a snack bar.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Phone: 252-247-4003; 1-866-294-3477
Directions: Five miles west of Atlantic Beach, Carteret County, on North Carolina’s central Coast. From NC 58, turn onto Pine Knoll Boulevard at the stoplight, Milepost 7; turn left onto Roosevelt Boulevard.
Accessibility: The parking lot, entrance, exhibits and restrooms are wheelchair-accessible. Some outdoor facilities also are wheelchair-accessible.
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