We’ve said before how much we think a go-to vacation spot is the cornerstone of great family travel.
Visits far and wide are wonderful, necessary, and amazing, but those frequent shorter trips to familiar spots away from home, but still close by, make for amazing memories.
It’s known simply as the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and it’s been a spot we’ve frequented, but when looking back at the photos for this post, we’ve realized that it’s also a place where we’ve watched our children start to grow up.
The Aquarium is open year round and is great for rainy days at the beach, and also for those times when you need to get the kids out of the sun for a few hours.
Indoor aquarium photography is an art we have yet to master, but we’ve given it our best shot!
An exhibit of the dreaded Lionfish, an invasive species that has become all too common from North Carolina south to the Caribbean!
The Aquarium has a small exhibit featuring the invasive Lionfish. It’s a pacific species that has no predators here in the Atlantic, and it’s reeking havoc from North Carolina south throughout the Caribbean. Discover Diving down in Beaufort is holding a Lionfish roundup later this spring.
Y’all know Sandals resorts are some of our favorite spots in the Caribbean. Sandals has a charitable group, the Sandals Foundation, that is also working towards the eradication of the Lionfish.
On a positive note, it seems that the Lionfish is pretty good eating!
The Aquarium has exhibits representing habitats from North Carolina’s mountains all the way to the ocean, but the largest and most popular draws are the tanks containing large ocean exhibits.
The Aquarium offers a variety of programs that we’ve enjoyed over the years, including “backstage” tours.
Some of the most fun we’ve had at the Aquarium was on a crabbing and clamming expedition we took some years ago along the Bogue Sound shore behind the Aquarium’s building.
One area of the inside exhibits includes a low open tank where you can touch a collection of rays and skates – always a favorite for the kids.
In addition to the indoor exhibits, the Aquarium features a nature trail that will give you a look into North Carolina’s coast that you may have missed as a visitor.
If your experience of coastal North Carolina is limited just to the beach, the nature trail is a great way to broaden you view.
While you’re just a few dozen yards from civilization, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the prehistoric Crystal Coast!
Don’t miss the Aquarium the next time you’re along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.
And more importantly, don’t forget to: