Another part of our Nags Head vacation involved a rainy day trip to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. The aquarium is about 10-15 minutes from south Nags Head and is located near Dare Co airport on the northern side of Roanoke Island at 374 Airport Rd. Manteo, NC 27954. Everyone joined us on this fun adventure, which proved to be a great time, even for the over 1-year old crew. Being that it was a Sunday and after Labor Day, the crowds were small and we were able to walk briskly through the museum in about an hour. The NC aquariums are a division of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and with admission fees of $8 for adults and free for kids under 2, it was a great deal for a rainy day event.
We started off checking out the inhabitants of the freshwater creeks and rivers, which included various fish, otters, alligators, and turtles. Ashley was completely in awe of all these animals. We then headed into the saltwater exhibits where the variety of animals exploded! We saw dozens of fish, horseshoe crabs, stingrays (which you can touch), sea turtles (complete with an entire rescue exhibit), an octopus, sea urchins and so much more! One of the coolest exhibits was the stingray tank where you can lean over and feel the ray’s backs as they scoot around.
After the saltwater exhibits, we visited the 285,000 gallon, 81 degree Deep Ocean tank! This fish tank is home to several different species of fish and sharks, including sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks and more! We happened to arrive at the perfect time when a diver was swimming with the sharks and answering questions from the audience. In addition to this program, there are several other interesting programs the aquarium offers.
After the Deep Ocean exhibit, we hit up the museum store to buy some fun souvenirs and then headed outside to explore the fossil hunt exhibit and take some fun pics on the sea turtle statues. The aquarium overlooks the Croatan Sound, which would make a great picnic spot on a nice day. There is also a small vendor on-site with food and drink options. However, we headed back into Manteo to admire the docked boats and then to enjoy delicious beers and lunch at Full Moon Cafe & Brewery. The food and atmosphere were the perfect combination for this first vacation day!
For photos of downtown Manteo near the water, check out my old post on Roanoke Island.
Thumbs up: variety of fish and animals at aquarium, diving with the sharks program, beautiful views of sound, lunch/beers at Full Moon Cafe & Brewery
Thumbs down: nothing to report