The North Carolina Aquariums are among the nation’s best according to a recent poll. The USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Award for best aquariums announced Friday the state’s aquariums were voted number 7 in the country.

“This honor shows our expert animal care, personal connections made with our guests and our commitment to saving animals has made an impression on our visitors and communities,” said Maylon White, director of the North Carolina Aquariums.

The North Carolina Aquariums include multiple coastal sites, including Roanoke Island, Nags Head, Fort Fisher, and Pine Knoll Shores.

The aquariums and pier are dedicated to connecting guests with the natural world and are leading attractions in the state, with a combined visitation of more than 1.3 million a year. In addition, the aquariums, each accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, are committed to saving animals locally and globally, with a focus on Carolina gopher frogs, sand tiger sharks and sea turtles.

The top spots in the poll were Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (Tennessee) The Florida Aquarium and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (Louisiana). The full list of winners can be found here:

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award aquarium poll launched in late-March with 20 nominees from across the country and ran for four weeks allowing the public to vote online once per day. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts in a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties.

For more information about the North Carolina Aquariums, visit

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