Shark Week Comes to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

*Updated July 2018

We have a cool activity (literally and figuratively) for your North Carolina beach vacation—and not far from your Emerald Isle vacation rental! Did you know that Shark Week starts on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina in July? It does! Hosted by the NC Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores, Shark Week activities are free with regular admission or membership and include a host of family-friendly activities including special programs, crafts and displays. 

Every July you'll get up close and personal with these often feared but totally fascinating sea creatures. Sink you teeth into all of the fun, festivities and facts about sharks as the NC Aquarium sheds light on these misunderstood creatures and the important role they play in the ocean's ecosystem, as well as the threats they face. You won't want to miss this! 

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is a must-see Crystal Coast attraction on any given day, but it's even better when there's a special event like this happening, especially when it's already included in your regular daily admission or annual membership, giving you more of an awesome aquarium experience for your money. 

Why Shark Week?

"The popularity of Shark Week and the immense interest the public has in these fascinating animals gives us an opportunity to tell the real story of what is happening to sharks,” said Education Curator Windy Arey Kent. "Finning, over-fishing, pollution and other factors have caused shark populations to plummet worldwide. That can indicate big problems for ocean ecosystems.”

Shark Week activities, free with NC Aquarium admission, include information on solutions. "We want to use this opportunity to let people know that while sharks face overwhelming obstacles, people have the power to help the ocean’s top predators each and every day,” she said. Family friendly crafts and activities are also part of the Shark Week festivities.

All About NC Sharks

About 50 of the more than 400 shark species worldwide frequent North Carolina waters. Look for four species of sharks at the Aquarium. The fierce-looking sand tiger sharks, the fast-moving sandbar sharks and the curiously named nurse sharks all inhabit the Living Shipwreck. Watch for the unmistakable profiles of the bonnethead sharks in the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

In addition to visiting the aquarium during Shark Week or any week you're vacationing on the Crystal Coast, be sure to check out the Aquarium's website for free fun and learning anytime you want! The Fun and Learning Corner Page lets you read up on your favorite aquarium animals, including sharks, and gives you some ideas and activities to enjoy at home, too. 

Shark Week Activities

See what's new this year for Shark Week and immerse yourself in an underwater wonderland where you feel like you're swimming with the fishes—and sharks, but in the safest way possible. 

Listed below are some of the activities that have been part of Shark Week in previous years. Here's what you and your family can look forward to!


*Please note that these Shark Week activities are from previous years and are subject to change.


  • Creature Features reveal the inside story of a shark's anatomy.
  • Enjoy a one-of-a-kind chance to have close encounters with a bamboo shark.
  • Shark Jeopardy sharpens your wits and offers a chance to win prizes as you test your knowledge during this shark quiz.
  • Watch divers swimming with sharks in the Living Shipwreck exhibit.
  • Observe live feeding demonstrations at the Queen Anne's Revenge exhibit.
  • View a feeding program daily featuring the close cousins of sharks—stingrays—at the Skate and Ray Encounters touch pool.
  • Shark-themed crafts and hands-on activities for the kids happen in the Discovery Classroom.
  • Shark art face-painting stations.
  • Shark videos are on display at the Sportfishing Gallery.
  • Pose for photos inside the replicated jaws of a huge megalodon or take a close-up with the snout of a great white shark.
  • Meet and greet the mascot, Friendly Finley.

These are just the Shark Week activities. Don't forget about all of the aquatic adventures, exciting exhibits and amazing creatures that can be found here at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, including favorites such as the river otters, jelly fish, seahorses, sea turtles, water raptors and shorebirds, not to mention all of the fish! And this doesn't include all of the outdoor adventures to be had at the aquarium. 

One day may just not be enough for all of the fun, adventure and learning that you'll take in during your visit. That's okay, you can just come back again! The aquarium is open daily from 9a.m. to 5p.m. except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. For more information on planning your visit, click here.


Read more about Shark Week on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, if you dare!

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