North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo

North Carolina Aquarium ~ Manteo, NC

A popular activity for Hatteras Island ocean lovers is a visit to the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo, on Roanoke Island. Established in 1976, the aquarium has welcomed Outer Banks visitors with a myriad of unique displays that bring the sea creatures of the coastal waters to every beach vacationer. At the aquarium, you can watch sea otters play, get face to face with alligators, watch sea turtles and sharks swim around a gigantic floor to ceiling saltwater tank, or touch a skate as it swirls around one of the aquarium’s touch tanks. With so much to explore, a trip to the aquarium is an adventurous way to spend an afternoon away from the beach. Find them online at

Helpful Hints for Visiting the North Carolina Aquarium

  • Rainy days tend to be more crowded, so for a less crowded experience, try visiting on a sunny day or any day in the fall or winter.
  • When taking photos inside the Aquarium, it’s best not to aim the camera straight at the tank. Flash will cause a light spot in your picture. Instead, position yourself so the camera is at a 45-degree angle to the window. Some tanks ask that you don’t use flash at all.
  • Check the aquarium’s calendar of events prior to your visit to see what programs are offered. Chances are, with so many programs throughout the day there will be a special activity that coincides with your visit.

North Carolina Aquarium SubsetAquarium Schedule and Events

The aquarium is open daily, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., all year round, and features special rates for seniors and children under the age of 17. In addition to the everyday exhibits from the Graveyard of the Atlantic to wetland and coastal waters explorations, the Aquarium offers a wide variety of free programs and activities year-round. Daily programs include marine life videos, live animal programs, audience participation games, demonstrations and more. Live animal programs in the Aquarium auditorium may feature alligators, sea turtles or snakes, and the fish in selected tanks are fed daily. A complete calendar of events can be found on the NC Aquarium’s website.

The North Carolina Aquarium Society also operates an on-premise aquarium gift shop, which offers a wide array of educational and aquatic-related items, such as posters, games, books, field guides, CDs, tapes, T-shirts, decor items, jewelry and other unique and interesting mementos. Gift shop proceeds are used to support aquarium programs and services.

North Carolina Aquarium Map

As far as things to do in Hatteras Island are concerned, visiting the North Carolina Aquarium can be the highlight of your trip! Whether you admire the exhibits all day, or simply visit the aquarium during a tour of Roanoke Island attractions, you’ll be sure to walk away with an ocean of adventures and memories that you can take with you well after your vacation ends. Contact us today for more information about the North Carolina Aquarium, and to find more fun things to do in Outer Banks NC!