The Fort Fisher aquarium is located steps away from the ocean along Kure Beach not far from downtown Wilmington. One of four North Carolina aquarium locations, Fort Fisher is well known for such residents as Luna the albino alligator and Maverick the bald eagle.
What to See at the North Carolina Aquarium
Visitors enter through the Cape Fear Conservatory, a small freshwater building. This area features native species and some truly fantastic landscaping. Exhibits display venomous snakes, turtles, frogs, and the fan-favorite alligators.
Next visitors move into the two-storied marine section. The Tide Pool Touch Tank allows visitors to get up close to urchins and anemones. The double-storied Cape Fear Shoals displays sea turtles, sharks, and other critters that can be found in the ocean right outside the building.
Interactive exhibits keep even the most excitable visitor engaged. An exotic invasive display and shark touch tank round out the marine offerings.
The gift shop is nice and features eco-friendly products and locally made crafts. Upon exiting visitors will find a snack bar and playground. Save some time for the boardwalk which meanders through foliage and has art and descriptive signs. The newest area, Lorikeet Landing, costs extra and unless you are a major fan of the species, it can easily be skipped.
Tips for Visiting the North Carolina Aquarium
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located at 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, North Carolina 28449. It is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets cost $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors/military, and $10.95 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. All visitors receive free admission on Veterans Day and MLK Jr. holiday. Parking is free.
Where to Eat Near the North Carolina Aquarium
While there is a snack bar at the aquarium, you’ll have to drive to the closest restaurant. Keep in mind that this area is very seasonal, with some places closed in the winter. Kure Beach has Jack Mackerels Island Grill, a Caribbean-inspired seafood restaurant with Calabash-style fish, sandwiches, and pasta. Freddie’s Restaurant is an Italian restaurant with steak and pasta.
Where to Stay Near the North Carolina Aquarium
Fort Fisher has tent camping if you want to be as close to the aquarium as possible. In Kure Beach, rentals are your best bet, like this Scandinavian-inspired beach house. In Southport, the Hampton Inn & Suites By Hilton Southport has all the amenities you could ask for.
Admission was provided by the North Carolina Aquarium and Wilmington and Beaches CVB.