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“Oh the butterflies ”

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Ranked #3 of 11 things to do in Kure Beach
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Visitors to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, located in Kure Beach (a short drive from Wilmington), enjoy an exploration of “The Waters of the Cape Fear.” Journey down the Cape Fear River – from freshwater streams and swamps, to coastline habitats, reefs and the open ocean - discovering unique habitats and aquatic wildlife. Meet a rare albino alligator named Luna. Get eye-to-eye with a loggerhead sea turtle. Talk to a SCUBA diver swimming with sharks rays and eels. Compare teeth with a megalodon. Touch sea stars, horseshoe crabs and even sharks! Play outside in the Adventure Reef play area. Feed free-flying tropical birds. Free daily programs include dive presentations, animal feedings and encounters. Explore more with behind-the-scenes tours, outdoor adventures, classes, camps and more. Open 363 days a year, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Days). Tickets available at the door and online.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We almost always visit the aquarium as it is convenient to where we usually stay at Fort Fisher. They have a nice display of coastal and ocean life. There is an exhibit for the kids to touch the rays (poor rays). I am always entranced by the jellies. There is a viewing area for a lowland swamp where the gator was sunning in the shallows. New from our last visit was an animatronic dinosaur display which is educational and fun for those 12 and under. Also new was the butterfly display. It was amazing. There were so many colors and varieties. The admission is separate but well worth $3.

1  Thank D J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This is a nice aquarium with lots of different animals to see. It takes about two hours to tour the inside exhibits and taking time to really look at all of the small sea creatures. Well worth the visit with our 11 and 13 year old grandkids. The outdoor dinosaurs were a real hit even on a hot and muggy day. The ferry ride from Southport to Fort Fisher was a bonus that we all enjoyed.

Thank Steve K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We wanted an inside activity for my 6 year old daughter and this was perfect. They had some great animals and exhibits, plus the robotic dinosaurs which my daughter loved. The butterfly hut was also a ton of fun, there were tons of them! Worth a visit with small children for sure!

Thank Savannah D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I brought my kids here while on vacation on a day when it was 100 degrees as a cooler alternative to the beach. My 3 year old loved it! My 9 year old wasn't as impressed and was hoping to see bigger sharks. Both kids enjoyed the outdoor dinosaur display though, which I also thought was very well done. The aquarium is very clean and the displays are informative. Staff is pleasant and knowledgeable. I felt it was reasonably priced. We were there about 2 hours and saw all of the displays.

Thank krbukky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Our vacation time was short. We had hoped to get to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Surf Side; but due to time constraints we chose this aquarium.

We’ve been to quite a few over the years and I’d say this one is small and average. It would be fine for young kids as you can get through everything in about an hour.

Our daughter is very interested in Sea Turtles and we were disappointed there was only one on display. I asked one of the many volunteers thinking that maybe we missed something, but she assured me there is only one. It’s in the big tank with lots of other fish and sharks.

Our daughter is older (17) and was more interested in learning so this was just not geared for her. All the younger kids seemed to be having a good time.

Thank Lisa J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NCAquariumFortFisher, Public Relations Manager at North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Lisa J. thank you for visiting the aquarium while on vacation. Regretfully, it sound as if you were not able to take advantage of all the aquarium has to offer. Visitors of all ages enjoy our numerous habitats from the rescued bald eagle, Maverick to the albino alligator, Luna. In addition, our team offers free programs throughout the day including Dialogue with Diver, animal feedings, animal encounters, educational films and more. The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is not a traditional sea turtle rehabilitation center like our friends at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. However, the aquarium team often cares for sick and injured sea turtles when there is peak need, usually in the colder months. In addition, we care for several ambassador sea turtles who assist in sharing the story of threatened and endangered sea turtle species, a large green sea turtle, Shelldon, and two yearling loggerhead sea turtles. The loggerheads are in our care for only one year after they hatch and are then returned to the sea. Guests can talk with staff and volunteers about the loggerheads, learn more about nesting and challenges the animals face.

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