Information on:

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

374 Airport Road

About Us:

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island was originally founded in 1976 as the North Carolina Marine Resources Center, along with our sister facilities at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher. In 1986, the three facilities were renamed Aquariums, and we were joined by Jennette's Pier in Nags Head in 2011. The state of North Carolina owns the Aquariums and Pier, which are administered by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR).

Located on the Outer Banks, three miles north of Manteo on Roanoke Island, the Aquarium is an educational attraction focused on "inspiring appreciation and conservation of North Carolina's aquatic environments." The Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and in 2015 was awarded the AZA Quarter Century Award for maintaining accreditation continuously for 25 years or more.


Londy Leigh

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Excellent! One of the best aquariums I've visited (and I've been to many), not necessarily because of the range of aquatic life, but the whole atmosphere. The dinosaur exhibit (seasonal) was amazing!! The sea turtle rehabilitation was fascinating, and the lady there did a great job of explaining and answering questions. The interactive exhibit afterward was phenomenal, where you could take an artificial turtle and put it through "Rehabilitation" yourself. The gift shop was extensive, the signs were humorous, the jellyfish exhibit was beautiful, the otter section was adorable, and they had a hands-on section with sting rays, tiger sharks, horseshoe crabs etc. Lots of photo ops too, and a great educational theatre. Loved the film we saw about beavers! We spent three hours there and loved every bit of it. Way cheaper than Ripley's aquarium and even more fun! Good job, North Carolina Aquarium. :)

Neelam Singh

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Must visit if you're in the area! It's great fun for kids! We had a 5 yr old with us and ended up spending almost 5 hrs and could have spent more if we had the time! The huge screen in the visitor's lobby that welcomes you with a picture of your own is a huge hit with children and adults alike. The exhibits have a 'shipwreck' theme which attracts many children who may not otherwise be as interested in seeing fish after fish after fish (I know they are all different but you know what I mean). The shipwreck theme makes the exhibits doubly interesting and it is very well done. One of the most popular area is where they take care of turtles and alongside it is a hands-on activity center for kids where they can pick a (pretend) turtle, diagnose what's wrong it, and help it with rehab, recovery and finally release. We spent an hour here taking care of several turtles. This exhibit is a great mix of on-screen and hands-on activity for children. The huge tank towards the end is like the finale - you end the aquarium tour with a bang. We loved many many exhibits (river otters, turtle sick center, jelly fish, rays that you can also touch, the big tank). And, last but not the least by any means, the dinosaur trail - it's excellent! The dinosaurs move and make sounds and some of them even have babies making various cute sounds. It was another huge hit...several of many huge hits! We loved the aquarium and the super friendly staff and will be back! Kudos to the team that has designed the exhibits! Even the cafe was good - tasty food, and really considerate staff willing to offer some off the menu options for vegetarian visitors.

Melissa Salinas

Sunday, June 3, 2018
This was a very cute aquarium. It's not huge but I think it was just right for my kids, some places are too big and kids get bored easy. They loved seeing the otters and turtles. The coolest part was seeing the sea turtle rescue center and all the turtles they are helping. And my kids loved the part where they could be a sea turtle vet. Great place! We got to see the dinosaurs too!

Jessie Alexander

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Great for kids. Definitely check out the Star Turtle Rescue Center. Otter and alligators are also a must see. However, the Jellyfish are the main attraction and their space is beautiful. It's a small aquarium, but not terribly expensive and the staff is always polite and helpful. A must visit for a rainy day.

William Rupe

Thursday, May 10, 2018
This aquarium was great! It isn't massive or anything but they really fill up the space. The sea turtle are was a big hit with our daughter, she was so excited that she helped the little guy and released it back into the wild. The jelly fish we're also really cool looking. The big attraction for me was the shark tank, it was so cool to see all the fish swim around and interact with each other in the tank. I could stay in that room all day! It was a perfect rainy day adventure.

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media