N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher closed, undergoing major renovations

The aquarium is advantage of the lack of crowd and have shut down for renovations.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 8:12 AM EST
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FORT FISHER, N.C. (WECT) - Beach towns typically find themselves less crowded during the winter, and this week is always recorded as the slowest week of the year for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

They’re taking advantage of the lack of crowd and have shut down for renovations.

The aquarium first opened its doors 47 years ago and I’m told that they were due for many major renovations, including an updated parking lot, added speed bumps, new doors, freshly painted walls, new carpet and a deep clean of all exhibits.

A neat fact that some people might not notice when they’re walking through the aquarium is that the carpet is made from recycled fish nets and fishing lines.

“Typically, if we were to do construction during regular public hours, that would happen from 5 p.m. till 7 a.m., which would incur a lot of additional costs, staff time and stress to our animals by having the lights on all night long. So, by being able to close to the public for a few days and bring the contractors in, we’re able to accomplish this work more efficiently,” said Hap Fatzinger, director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Keeping visitors out can help crews work more freely without the need to close exhibits. However, with work being done in specific areas, some fish had to be removed so the work could safely continue. Some of the animals that were moved to a holding room were urchins, sea stars and stingrays.

“We are doing some big projects with major cleanings where we’re sterilizing some of the systems, we moved all the animals out and are able to go in there and do really heavy scrubs and sterilize the systems,” said Fatzinger.

The aquarium is expected to open again on Feb. 4, and you can reserve your tickets here. Tickets must be purchased in advance.