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Fishes Online

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, just a short ferry ride away (see story on page 16), is one of our area’s greatest treasures. Featuring a giant atrium with freshwater fish tanks, alligators (even an albino gator named “Luna”) and a bald eagle; a giant salt water tank large enough for several dive shows each day; reef fish exhibits; a touch tank; and outside gardens and wetlands, the aquarium is a must-do for visitors and a staple day trip for locals.

That is when the COVID restrictions don’t have it locked up tight.

But even with the doors closed, the Aquarium is now open virtually, offering a variety of programs both educational and entertaining. A lot of parents are at least part-time homeschoolers now, so why not add a little fishy-ness to your educational day, or even your next business Zoom meeting? Proceeds from the classes will help support the Aquarium while it isn’t able to welcome visitors in person.

Here is what’s available:

Creature Features

Watch and learn as an Aquarium educator shares more about the animals cared for by the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Discover how we help to save these species in the wild. Each Monday at 11 am, a new topic will be discussed. Open to all audiences. $10/screen for non-members, $9/screen for members

September 7: Invertebrates

September 14: Whales

September 21: Amphibians

September 28: Sea Turtles

Story Time

Cozy up for an animal tale read by an Aquarium educator. After the story, meet a live animal and engage in fun activities. Recommended for ages 2-5, but family members are welcome. Wednesdays at 10 am. $10/screen for non-members, $9/screen for members

Behind The Scenes: Turtles

Go totally turtle with this exclusive look behind the scenes. Discover all the staff does to provide the best care for the turtles living at the Aquarium. Each tour includes several species from land to sea. Learn how the turtles serve as animal ambassadors teaching others about wild reptiles and how you can help to protect our shelled neighbors. Fridays at 10 am. $20/screen for non-members, $18/screen for members

Behind The Scenes: Saving Species

Go behind-the-scenes for an exclusive look at how the Aquarium helps save species. Learn about sand tiger shark research, raising and releasing Carolina gopher frogs, growing corals, and larval fish. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Fridays at 2 pm. $20/screen for non-members, $18/screen for members

And this is our favorite….

Animal Cameos

Make your next virtual gathering a wild one! Energize your Zoom meeting or party with a live animal ambassador from the Aquarium. The program includes one animal and plenty of opportunity to ask questions to get to know your nature neighbors! Choose from an alligator, turtle, snake, salamander, or sea star. Other animal options may be available upon request. Non-members $25, Members $22.50

You’ll notice every program offers a discount to members. We believe an aquarium membership is a no-brainer for locals. It will get you free admission for the year, discounts on all educational and behind-the-scenes programs (and when they are available, we highly recommend the in-person behind-the-scenes tours), and a discount in the gift shop. Also, as a member of the Aquarium, you get into the NC Zoo in Asheboro for free as well. It really is one of the best deals going. Visit to sign up — you will not regret it.


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