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“Fantastic for small kids!!”

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
Ranked #2 of 38 things to do in Manteo
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Level Contributor
48 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fantastic for small kids!!”
Reviewed 31 December 2011

This aquarium is a hidden jem! We had some rain while we visited OBX, this was perfect for that day. It's a small Aquarium but has a lot of interactive things to do. We had one of the divers (in the large tank) communicating with our son. They thought that was way cool. The kids had a lot of fun between touching the stingrays and star fish then then the large shark tank. Highly, highly recommend!!!!

Thank brooke476
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,027 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Nice but small”
Reviewed 29 December 2011

Perhaps I am spoiled because I live in Virginia Beach and am used to a large, first class aquarium here in my own city, but this aquarium was disappointing due to it's small size. I used to visit many years ago when my nineteen-year-old was very young. We enjoyed the exhibits. With two older children (The second child is ten) we were disappointed by small exhibits with little to see. They featured many fish and other water creatures that live off the North Carolina coast. However, after entering, one goes in a relatively small circle to view the tanks. One exhibit did have a small alligator. Other exhibits in the room had a few turtles and not much else. There were very few interactive exhibits. You read about the fish in the tank in front of you and move on.
One outstanding addition is the shark tank. It held 13 very full sharks in a tank described as being the size of a baseball infield. We saw a diver demonstration. The diver took questions by the audience while in the tank. That was fun! We also enjoyed the ray petting tank.
" If you plan to visit this aquarium be sure to go during the off season while rates are low. The $17 summer rate is high for a museum of this size. Visiting an aquarium is fun. You will leave feeling pleasure in the few worthwhile exhibits but wishing you saw more.

Visited December 2011
Thank VaBeachMatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edenton, North Carolina
Level Contributor
151 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Small, decently kept aquarium”
Reviewed 28 December 2011

We have been coming to this aquarium since my son was a toddler. We only live about an hour away, and our Norfolk Zoo pass gets us in here free. There are some nice displays of fish, but we like the otter tank, alligators, and osprey nest the best. There are 2 touch tanks with rays, skates, sea stars, and urchins that kids can touch. There are some other hands-on areas, including a sea turtle rehab station mock-up and a marl pile outside where the kids can find shark teeth to keep. They do some good programs, including letting the kids touch snakes and alligators. The best program was from a volunteer who is the red wolf caretaker at Alligator River Refuge. He showed some incredible photographs and has a great story to share. Call ahead and see if his program is being given the day of your visit. The other staff is very friendly, but not always the most knowledgable (most are very young, right out of school. I have worked in this part of NC for 20 years in natural resource management, so it takes alot to impress me).

If you visit during the off season, the restaurant is closed, so bring a lunch because it is a long drive to the nearest restaurant. They have plenty of picnic tables. The outdoor area is not as well maintained. There is a whale bone display near the Sound which needs some work. There are also several types of bird nest boxes on display which are in poor repair and a few interpretive signs. Like all smaller museums and aquariums, there is so much untapped potential here. If you see and read everything and attend 2/3 of the daily programs, you can do it all in under 5 hours.

We are going to the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores in January, so we will compare the 2 and write a review, of course.

Tips: There are only 3 things to do when you are on vacation to the OBX, and it is raining: shopping, the movies, and the aquarium. So, if you come here on a rainy day in the summer, expect an enourmous, crazy crowd. On the other hand, if you come here first thing on a weekday morning in the winter, you may be the only ones in the touch tank room for a while (as we were this morning). If you have a zoo or aquarium pass from home, it may get you in here free. Check at the ticket gate.

Visited December 2011
Thank Fourester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2011

Not large like most aquariums but for what you pay its worth it!

Visited November 2011
Thank Justaboutjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Box Elder, South Dakota
Level Contributor
67 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“love it”
Reviewed 24 November 2011

This is a great aquarium and such a surprise in a little town. They are a nice place to hold functions too. They want to to keep writing. Reviews have to be at least 200 characters, but that is all I have to say.

Visited August 2011
Thank local20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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