OBX Aquarium: Roanoke Island

Everyone knows that as a teacher I love summer, but the Outer Banks in summertime is insane. Tourist season is over though. That means that everything at the beach is less crowded. Yay! We were at a friend's wedding in obx this weekend, R was the ring bearer... cue the tears! He decided to sit in the aisle rather than walk down it. At least everyone laughed?!

Since we were down here, we decided to head to the aquarium. Neil and I went once when we first started dating, but it's been a longgg time. Here is the best part y'all... if you have a Virginia zoo membership, this aquarium is FREE! We didn't realize that they were having a Halloween event going on. You can trick or treat there! It was all decorated and they gave R an eye patch coming in. 
*these are all pumpkins! 

What's cool about aquariums for little guys is that they can get right up to the tank and really see. We love the zoo, but sometimes it's hard to see inside the exhibit. R gets super excited because he can get the full experience. It's awesome watching him. It's like experiencing it all for the first time again myself. My aunt and uncle were kind enough to come meet us and spend the day with us. 
There was the usual touch tank type room which was crowded with kids and an area for sea turtle rescue that really impressed me. You could see the reasons that the turtles were there along with what they were doing to help them. On the other side, they had a room for kids to grab their own lab coats and a (fake!) turtle to diagnose. You took it over to the computer and it gave you a diagnosis. Kids had to figure out how to help their turtle. The kids in the room were really into it- too old for big R though.
 
There are four North Carolina aquarium locations: Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher, and Jenette's Pier. The Roanoke Island location and Jenette's Pier are both in the obx. (The pier is being worked on now, so check before you go to make sure it is open. It's also not a typical aquarium; it's a fishing pier.) The aquarium is open from 9-5 every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Below is a list of some of the free programs, but the aquarium offers some fee based programs too. This includes stand up paddle boarding, aquarist for a day, aqua tots, Breakfast with the rays, Happy Otter Hour and so on. Check the full list here. We did see a group in the classroom where a man was playing a guitar and singing. This may have been the story time, but it seemed to be a private group.

The most exciting part for big R was the floor projector. Animals swam across and when you walked across it a big splash would show. There were kids jumping around on it and trying to catch the splashes.
Tips: 
  • Use your zoo membership to get in free! **EDIT: They no longer let you in free. It is not 50% off admission price. 
  • Free admission on Martin Luther King Jr Day 
  • Free admission on Veterans Day 
  • Shipwreck Stories- 10:30 a.m.- Employees answer questions about animals and talk about diving with sharks
  • Check daily times for animal feeding
  • Education Program- animal adaptations information (Hey! Third/Four grade SOL's!)
  • Free movie- 3:30 
  • Aqua Tots is a program that they offer where children 2-5 have hands on learning about animals, nature, crafts, and so on. It is advertised that parents get to sit back and relax during this time. Cost is $5.00. Upcoming date; October 31. 

Should you find yourself in the obx, we saw on the way home that they have a children's museum. If you've been- let me know what it's all about. I saw online that locals get in free right now. 


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