Aquarium In Fort Fisher

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher was the ninth most-visited tourism site in the state of North Carolina in 2013. Almost 448,000 visitors came to learn about all things aquatic at the outstanding attraction.

Featuring a 235,000-gallon saltwater tank, the theme of the aquarium is “The Waters of the Cape Fear,” which showcases both fresh water and salt water aquatic life in a journey down the Cape Fear River to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Aquarium has many beautiful and exotic displays that start with a large tree-filled atrium containing stream, pond and swamp aquatic life, plants and ground cover. Very popular with the kids is the Coquina Outcrop Touch Pool in the Coastal Waters Gallery where the little ones (and big ones too) can reach out and touch whelks, sea urchins, horseshoe crabs and other sea critters.

The focal point of the Aquarium is the Cape Fear Shoals exhibit. The huge, two-story tank displays a vast array of sea life including moray eels, stingrays, sharks and grouper plus a multitude of other varieties of sea life. At feeding time, divers underwater answer questions from the audience as they feed the fish.

The Open Oceans Gallery features creatures found off our coastline, and there are two tanks displaying jellyfish. Another tank contains the beautiful and fascinating sea horses. Other tanks display sea snakes, lionfish, cuttlefish, Pacific Reef fish and an octopus.

In the Shadows on the Sand exhibit, skates and rays endlessly cruise above the sandy bottom. All told, more than 2,500 sea creature are on display at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, with Luna, a rare albino alligator, perhaps the Aquarium’s star attraction.

Key economic role

The Aquarium shows many of the ways that water impacts life in this area.
Indeed, water has played perhaps the pivotal role in the Wilmington area’s history, development, and continuing growth. We are fortunate that we live in an area where water of all types exists in abundance.

From our spectacular sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean to the relatively tranquil Intracoastal Waterway to the majestic Cape Fear River to the lakes and ponds that are ubiquitous in Southeastern North Carolina, we live, work, play, fish, swim, surf, snorkel and relax in close proximity to the water.

There are a number of ways to get a sense of the role water plays in our economy, and several worthwhile options can be found in historic downtown Wilmington.