Pine Knoll Shores Exhibits

Pine Knoll Shores Exhibits

Living Shipwreck

306,000-gallon Ocean habitat

The Living Shipwreck is a key habitat at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. At 306,000 gallons of saltwater, it is the largest manmade ocean habitat in North Carolina. The habitat features a replica of the U-352 German submarine that was sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1942. The U-352 was the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard and is one of three U-boats off the North Carolina coast accessible to sport divers. the wreck is a rare oasis of structure on the sand, resting in 115 feet of water, the debris attracts swarms of fish seeking food and and shelter.

The replica habitat at the Aquarium hosts many fish, sharks, and a green sea turtle. Sandbad sharks, sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, sheepshead, Atlantic spadefish, tarpon, crevalle jack, and others can be found in this habitat. It is one of three replica wreck habitats at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Daily dive shows are held in the habitat, and vistiors can speak with divers about ocean environments, diving, and conservation. 

Loggerhead odyssey

Featuring Caretta's Cove

Follow the journey of loggerhead sea turtles and even speak with one, in the Loggerhead Odyssey exhibit at the Aquarium. Watch as a tiny turtle hatches on a North Carolina beach and crawls to the ocean.  Meet a hatchling that’s being rehabilitated at the Aquarium.  Step into an immersive ocean setting and find out how far sea turtles travel, and the huge threats they face – primarily from plastic pollution. Join our challenge to go a day without disposable plastics and help save sea turtles. Younger visitors can test their turtle knowledge with interactive games.           

Then, stop by Caretta’s Cove and talk with a turtle. The new digital puppetry theater features a spunky Southern female loggerhead, named Caretta.  The charming and beautiful, forever 29-year-old sea turtle has traveled the Atlantic Ocean far and wide. She will share her experiences and take questions from visitors several times a day. 

Little Minnows Play Area

Designed especially for our smallest visitors, the Little Minnows Play Area encourages free play and lots of imagination. Toddlers and preschoolers can play dress-up, ride and climb on cushioned toys, and relax with a book in a reading nook.  Free with admission.

Spadefish Gallery

Featuring Photography by Tanya Houppermans

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores regularly exhibits unique art. Shows change quarterly, so check our special events section for a more detailed look at the featured artist. Currently, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is hosting world-renowned shark photographer Tanya Houppermans' exhibit, North Carolina Sand Tiger Sharks. This show features stunning images of sand tiger sharks swimming our local wrecks. Each large photo is printed on aluminum and is on exhibit in the Spadefish Gallery. Her show will be at the aquarium now through September 2019.

  • "Harmony" by Tanya Houppermans
  • "Who
  • "Feather Your Nest" by Jeffrey P Karnes
  • Linda Werthwein: from the
  • Mike Basher: from the "PULSE"
  • Langly C. "Alligator" from the colored pencil art show
  • "Wildlife Selfies" art show
  • Rosemary Kramer: "Winter Waterbirds" art show

Tree-mendous nature Play Area

On the Alice Hoffman Nature Trail

Enjoy two slides, a climbing net, a treehouse platform, a swinging bridge and tons of other cool stuff to inspire physical activity and creative outdoor enjoyment. The playground is near the start of the Alice Hoffman Nature Trail, off the marsh boardwalk. Aquarium admission or membership is required but there is no extra charge for this fun addition to the Aquarium campus.

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