A trip to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is never complete until guests experience the Graveyard of the Atlantic habitat and the largest collection of sharks in North Carolina.
The viewing room offers an up-close look at two sand tiger sharks, six sandbar sharks and a nurse shark.
But did you know you can get even closer to these fascinating creatures through special programs offered both with regular admission and with an extra fee? From guided tours to actually diving in the Graveyard of the Atlantic, there are several ways you can embark on shark adventures.
Shipwreck Stories: Every weekday at 10:30 a.m., gather in the viewing room for an educator-led Q&A session about sharks and the other amazing fish in the Graveyard of the Atlantic (GYA). The program is often accompanied by a scuba diver who can talk directly to the audience. Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. Included with regular admission.
Shark Feeding: The aquarium takes special care of all of its animal guests, and that includes a specialized method of feeding the sharks. Husbandry staff use long poles to deliver tasty fish to the sharks, and you can watch how it happens from the GYA viewing room. An educator will be on hand to explain how it all works. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 1-1:30 p.m., included with regular admission.
Shark Bites: Watch the shark feeding, but from above the GYA exhibit. See how animals’ diets are prepared and watch as fish and sharks feast on their favorite food. 12:30 p.m. on select dates. $12, plus regular admission. Check website for schedule.
Shark Tank Tour: Visit behind-the-scenes of the GYA exhibit. See the sharks from above. Learn about our dive team and equipment they use. Educators lead the tour and answer all kinds of questions about the aquarium’s largest exhibit. Select dates and times. $8, plus regular admission. Check website for schedule.
Shark Dive: The ultimate up-close shark experience. Available to open-water certified divers, the shark dive is popular with locals and visitors as a great way to see sharks like you never have before. Spend 30 to 40 minutes in the GYA habitat and you’ll be able to say you swam with the legends of the deep. Open to certified divers up to 60 feet. $195 per diver. Call to make a reservation or reserve online.
All these programs and more can be found at ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island. All program schedules are subject to change.
Chelsea Miller is assistant PR coordinator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.