The North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo on Roanoke Island features the "Waters of the Outer Banks". This aquarium is one of three located in North Carolina, with the other two being at Fort Fisher near Wilmington and at Pine Knoll Shores near Morehead City. Over one million people visit the Aquariums each year, with most visitors being able to tour the aquarium in about two hours.
The aquarium offers a wide variety of free programs and year round activities, from live animal programs and please touch activities to marine life videos. The Roanoke Island facility is 68,000 square feet, and features everything from sharks to sea otters.
The exhibits include the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," the "Coastal Freshwaters," the "Marine Communities", the "Wetlands on the Edge", "Osprey CAM", "On the Soundside", and "Close Encounters".
The "Graveyard of the Atlantic" exhibit features a 285,000 tank, the largest tank in North Carolina, that includes a 1/3 replica of the USS Monitor, which now lies off the shores of Hatteras Island. Here you will find sharks, sea turtles and many other fish in this deep sea theme.
The "Coastal Freshwaters" exhibit explores the animal life inhabiting the freshwater areas of Currituck, Dare and Hyde Counties (the counties that comprise the Outer Banks), featuring largemouth bass, turtles, and other freshwater creatures.
The "Marine Communities" exhibit is a series of ten tanks that reveals the type of animal life that exists from ankle deep water all the way out to the Gulf Stream. Exhibit to find flounder, lobster and other inhabitants of these ocean waters.
The "Wetlands of the Edge" exhibit takes you to the marshes of the Outer Banks, where you will find alligators, sea otters, turtles and fish in their brackish water environment.
The "Osprey CAM" will allow you to see the osprey in their native state without disturbing them. Come and see these magnificent birds as they continue to fight their way back from extinction due.
The "On the Soundside" is a nature trail adjacent to the Croatan Sound. Picnic locations are located for a lunch with a great view.
The "Close Encounters" exhibit will allow you to touch some of the animals of the deep, like stingrays or horseshoe crabs. There are several of these tanks present at the aquarium.
The North Carolina Aquarium is open year round from 9am to 5pm except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission fees are as follows:
Adults (13 - 61): $10.95
Seniors (62+): $9.95
Children 3 - 12: $8.95
Children 2 and under: free
Free days are Martin Luther King Day and Veterans Day
You can also become a member of the Aquarium, which will gain you access to all three aquariums as well as the North Carolina Zoo and various zoos and aquariums across the county that participate in the AZA Reciprocity Program. An individual membership is $50, Couple Membership is $65 and family membership is $75 (2 adults and 2 children). There are other higher level donor sponsorship memberships as well.
The North Carolina Aquarium also sponsors special programs for school field trips that offer various programs and discounts for your group.
Finally, look into renting the aquarium for your group event up to 1,000 people. It has been used for everything from weddings to corporate meetings.