Woman and her daughter in the aquarium.

How to Make the Most of Your Day at the Outer Banks Aquarium

05/31/2022 | by Joseph Mitchell | Outer Banks Attractions and Activities

The beach isn’t the only place to have fun along North Carolina’s Outer Banks! There are plenty of attractions in Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Roanoke Island, but one of the top places to visit during your trip should be the Outer Banks Aquarium! Adults and kids can explore exhibits filled with marine life from the local waters. Learn about sea turtles, sharks, fish, alligators, snakes, and much more in this fantastic attraction!

Check out our new Manteo Travel Guide! It’s full of insider tips and local knowledge on the best things to do and places to see during your Outer Banks getaway.

What You Need to Know About the Outer Banks Aquarium


The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, also known as the Outer Banks Aquarium, features hundreds of marine creatures that you’ll find in the native waters up and down the North Carolina coast. There are nine exhibits throughout the aquarium highlighting various ecosystems. Their wetlands showcase is home to alligators, cute and cuddly otters, and turtles while the rivers exhibit holds an assortment of amphibians and snakes that call the areas around the Albemarle River home. Several other Outer Banks Aquarium exhibits, including the 285,000-gallon tank,  feature fish, jellyfish, sharks, and more!

One of the most unique areas of the aquarium to explore is the Sea Turtle and Rehabilitation Center. Guides provide visitors with free educational programs to learn about turtle conservation. Kids and their parents both love it!


One of our favorite things about the Outer Banks Aquarium is the array of tours and programs they offer to visitors. You can book one of their outdoor adventures that include paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, and crabbing. You’ll find a list of indoor programs like behind-the-scenes tours, shark feedings, breakfast with stingrays, and more! If you are an open water certified diver, you can even dive with the sharks in the 285,000-gallon Graveyard of the Atlantic tank!

Free programs at the Outer Banks Aquarium include regular feedings, shipwreck storytime, educational films, and educator programs! Check their calendar of events to find out what’s happening every day so you can plan your visit.

Other Nearby Attractions on Roanoke Island

The Lost Colony

The Lost Colony is right around the corner from the Outer Banks Aquarium, and it’s one of the top attractions in the area. The award-winning show attempts to explain the cloudy history of the first English settlement in the Contiguous U.S. These fantastic performances run through the summer and take place in a beautiful theater along the Roanoke Sound.

Elizabethan Gardens

The stunning Elizabethan Gardens is an incredible place to relax in the shade after a hot day at the beach. The garden consists of 10 manicured acres bordering the Roanoke Sound where plants, flowers, sculptures, and more create a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere. You can check what’s in bloom every month of the year, so you know what to expect when you visit!

Plan Your Outer Banks Vacationbuildings in downtown Manteo, NC

Pirate’s Cove Resort has everything you need to plan the perfect OBX trip! We offer a variety of condo and home rentals around Roanoke Island. Whether you need a large family home on the north side of the island or a condo for two overlooking Roanoke Sound, we have the ideal rental property for you and your family. We even have pet-friendly rentals so you can bring your furry friend along with you!

Book your Outer Banks getaway today and get ready for your dream beach vacation! We look forward to welcoming you to the Pirate’s Cove family!