Tour N.C. Aquariums, Online or In-Person

Join staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for a virtual, animal-inspired workout. Learn how some of the aquarium's awesome animals move, capture prey, avoid a predator, or defend themselves.

While North Carolina’s aquariums remain closed, there are still lots of opportunities to connect with nature and learn about the animals and environment on the coast — both online and in-person.

“In these times where everyone’s lives have shifted and the aquarium has remained closed for public health, virtual engagement has offered us an opportunity to stay connected,” said Windy Arey-kent, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores education curator. “We’ve been able to shift our focus from in-person to online and this has allowed us to connect with an entirely new audience that we would never see in person.”

Guests have the opportunity to take virtual behind-the-scene tours at each aquarium to see the continued work of expert staff, as well as virtual animal encounters and cameos. While each aquarium is offering many different online programs, a unique experience at the Aquarium on Roanoke Island allows virtual visitors an exclusive opportunity to view the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation Center, while engaging with animal caretakers.

“These new virtual programs allow us to continue sharing the fascinating world of the aquarium even when we don’t have guests in the building,” said Dia Hitt, education curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. “We are excited to have the ability to connect with families that we might not normally see here. It’s really about adapting and making use of the best opportunities at hand.”

One of the virtual opportunities hosted by the Aquarium at Fort Fisher focuses on the extensive conservation work of the aquariums. “Virtual Behind the Scenes: Saving Species,” shares how the aquarium helps save animals locally and globally, including sand tiger shark research, raising and releasing endangered Carolina gopher frogs, growing corals, and more.

“All of these virtual programs demonstrate the aquariums’ continued commitment to education, but also focus on the ongoing care and dedication of staff to our animal residents and species in the wild, even amidst our public closure,” said Andy Gould, education curator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. “Our teams have been hard at work moving our mission forward even while our doors have been closed to guests.”

Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores staff have also created a unique opportunity that allows participants to burn off energy and use their body to move like an animal in a Whale of a Workout. During this 30-minute exercise class learn about how animals use their body to move, capture prey, avoid a predator, or defend themselves. Mimic their actions and discover what it takes to move like an ocean dweller, land-lover, or feathered friend.

Jennette’s Pier, which is open to the public for fishing, is also offering virtual opportunities. Regardless of where an individual lives, they can receive an activity kit used for exploring wind power and renewable energy, plankton investigations and much more.

“The activity kit gives a hands-on experience while engaging with our staff,” said Christin Brown, education curator for Jennette’s Pier. “Even though we are far apart we are connected through this immersive virtual field trip.”

In addition to online programs, the Aquariums on Roanoke Island and at Pine Knoll Shores are offering outdoor programs for online registered guests. The outdoor tours allow individuals the opportunity to get outside and explore nature on guided kayak and paddleboard trips while practicing safe distancing.

“Whether it is kayaking, fishing or stand-up paddle boarding, these are fun outings for visitors and residents who want to enjoy some adventure on the water in a safe, socially distanced environment,” Hitt said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *