October 2021

During a normal, non-COVID year, the North Carolina Aquariums serve roughly 1.1 million visitors. Aquarium staff would be unable to do that without the dedicated efforts of almost 2,000 volunteers, who on average total 170,000 hours of time annually, across the division.

Timed-ticketing and new capacity limits have changed the way visitors engage at the aquarium. Changes made to help keep staff, volunteers, and visitors safe have also impacted the way everyone operates.

Altered volunteer protocols at all three locations — Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island — have modified our educational and dive programs, touch pool availability, and more.

Yes, the pandemic has significantly changed how volunteers can help, but we would not be able to do what we do without them.

All our volunteers across the division are spectacular. But there is a husband-and-wife team at the Aquarium on Roanoke Island that sets the pace for excellence. This dynamic duo, Phil and Shiela Daniels, are retired aerospace engineers with 30 years of service with Boeing. 

Shiela volunteered at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores before the pair moved to the Outer Banks. For the past four years, she has served at the Aquarium on Roanoke Island, now sharing her love and knowledge of aquatic animals with visitors there.

Phil volunteered too, and over the last three years has built several aquarium displays. He sculpts the large replicas out of foam board in their garage in Kitty Hawk, and uses a 3-D printer to make parts like the turtles’ skulls.

The former engineer is at work on five replicas of North Carolina sea turtles that will hang in the aquarium’s public spaces. Three are now completed and await installation: a 32-inch-long loggerhead, a 50-inch green sea turtle, and a leatherback just under nine feet long.

Wouldn’t you like to support the North Carolina Aquariums with your time? To find out how, check out the Volunteers section on each of our location websites.

Fun activities for the whole family!

Join the Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Saturday, October 9th, for a hands-on teacher workshop — a new Sea Turtle Exploration curriculum and website.

The Aquarium on Roanoke offers fun, environmentally focused camps through October! Ages 6 to 8, or 9 to 12.

Savor a fall day by joining the Aquarium on Roanoke outdoors, for crabbing, fishing and/or kayaking. Or, see what’s on the other side of the exhibits by signing up for behind-the scenes tours and indoor programs.

Pine Knoll Shores also offers these tours and other special experiences. Registration and fees apply.

Surf Fishing Weekend Oct. 15-17: Novice fisherfolk can get some pro tips at the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores on how to catch the big one. (Also a great refresher course!) Registration required.

Scare up some Halloween fun at the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Preschool Pumpkin Patch event! Dress up your preschool-age children and visit the aquarium in spooky style, October 27 from 9 to noon.

Plan for your aquarium visit. Online, in-advance ticket purchases or member reservations are best, as sellouts happen. Please note, masks are now required for all guests, staff and volunteers.(Some photos here were taken prior to mask mandates.)


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1-800-832-FISH (3474)