A Visit to the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium

Here are a couple of posts from 2009 about our local aquarium. It is great spot to get out of the cold or the heat or just to enjoy some time the fish and other local creatures.

Thursday of the third week of February 2009 we decided to drive down the beach and turned back towards the sound for a visit to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. We have been at least three times before, but we enjoy every visit. We always find something new.

This time we decided to buy a family membership so could come more often. It was a great day to visit since the temperatures were in the mid-sixties when we got there. We planned to do a little hiking after visiting the inside exhibits.

After getting our membership squared away, we heard an announcement for a snake presentation. We cannot seem to resist a free presentation so off we went to learn about NC snakes. It actually was a good presentation, and certainly helped us enjoy the outside snake exhibit later in our visit. The snake expert even had a good-sized corn snake who seemed to enjoy crawling around the presenter’s neck.

My wife was still enjoying the snake event as I was getting anxious to visit my favorite fish tanks. It was not long before we wandering the halls and gazing at all the finned creatures and some furry ones. We managed to catch the show of the divers in the main tank. I like their “shark guidance sticks.” I think it would take more than that to get me in the tank.

My favorite fish in the big tank is the Goliath Grouper which can reach 500 lbs.

I got to get up close and personal with some of favorite fishes including some beautiful red drum. As always we got a kick out of the baby turtles in the nursery.

We did not quite make it to the gift shop since we wanted to get outside and figure out the trails. We headed out on the boardwalk to the marsh. We found that a wind had kicked up and the sound was now covered with whitecaps. It was actually a little cool in the breeze, but nice if you could get out of the wind. We did get by the snake exhibit and figure out where the trails are for our next visit before we decided it was a little cool for hiking.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was a tricolored heron. It has been a challenge getting decent pictures of the great blue heron that lives behind our home, so it was a real treat to work with a cooperative subject.

I can highly recommend the Aquarium. Most of their programs get posted here on their website.

This is a short slide show of our visit and the drive back down the beach to Emerald Isle.

Below is the second post on the aquarium, written July 15, 2009.

This has to be considered a glorious beach day. The temperatures were in the mid to upper eighties with a slight breeze. As far as I can tell the skies were completely blue with only a hint of some clouds. On top of that the sea oats are at the peak of their beauty.

We went up to the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium to visit Crunch the Alligator Snapping Turtle. He is an impressive creature. They estimate his age at 150 years, and he weighs in at 160 pounds. He requires 4–6 pounds of fresh fish every two weeks.

I know that I would not want to get into a battle with him. Fortunately Alligator Snapping Turtles are not native to North Carolina so I think we are safe.

After visiting with Crunch and enjoying the Sand Castle at the Aquarium, we headed back down the beach.

We were just past Salter Path when we noticed a huge plume of smoke from the Newport area. It was a controlled burn in the Croatan National Forest and they help keep forest fires from getting so serious.

The smoke certainly did not bother the folks over on the beaches, there it was a perfect day to be on the sand and near the waves.

We had tomato sandwiches for dinner. It is one of our regular summer meals since I grow our own tomatoes.

Having a quick dinner with no cooking allowed us to go for a ride on the White Oak. I had gone out the previous night hoping to catch the sunset. I ended up being about six minutes late last night. This time I made sure that I was plenty early. My wife agreed to ride with me so we rode most of the way to Swansboro before coming back to wait for the sunset.

It was extremely pleasant on the river with a light breeze and quickly cooling temperatures. I snapped a few pictures and a sunset. It was not exactly the one I wanted, but there is always tomorrow night. We have already invited friends to ride with us.

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