THE HEARTS: good for all ages, air conditioned, handicap accessible, lots to see and experience, cute gift shop, close to Wilmington, decent admission prices, offers membership and volunteer/internship opportunities
THE FARTS: unhealthy food located outside, only features NC wildlife, not good for a full-day outing, depending on the age it may be a one-time stop
Young At Heart says...
What to do? What to do? My son, his wife and our lovely grand baby were coming to Wilmington. The catch? My grand daughter is just 14 months old and of course I want to spoil her. I mean, really, what else are grandparents to do? So immediately I start compiling a list of "to do's" for the Cape Fear with a 14 month old in toe. The list was short....very short. I mean it is like 100 degrees here of late with high humidity and we do come from northern blood stock, so we aren't that tolerant of humidity just yet. Immediately the Children's Musuem came to mind but she is too young for that (I'll save that review for a later date when I take my great niece and nephew there). Possibly the beach I ponder? But then I remember my children around that age and all I imagine is the sand in the eyes, nose, and eventually the mouth....that's out. So finally, after much thought and research (and I do mean much research...we are talking a 14 month old that is now just finding her independence with walking unaided), I came up with this short list: The Aquarium and the zoo (post to follow in the future). So off we go under the sea...
I will say that I was more than pleasantly surprised by the fine job they did with The Aquarium. First, it was air conditioned which in this heat was a BIG plus! Second it was truly handicap accessible which was great for me but even greater for Isabelle being she was in a stroller. Their was lots to see and experience there and I have to say that the entire group (5 adults plus Isabelle) really enjoyed it. From the beautiful two story aquarium...
to the touchy feely hands-on exhibits (just kidding),
we all had a grand time. This place is suitable for any age I am happy to report! From weebies to seniors there is plenty to watch, touch and enjoy. We all had a wonderful day under the sea!
PS....the intern giving the octopus lesson was fantastic....who woulda thunk that an octopus has the mind of a 4 year old.
Young Old Fart says...
While I agree with YAH that Ft. Fisher Aquarium in Kure Beach is a fun activity, there are some things I think need to be pointed out. One, it's about a twenty-five minute drive from Wilmington (if you live near Monkey Junction, if you live closer to Wrightsville it will be much longer). Second, I can't see anyone spending more than an hour at this aquarium. Don't get me wrong, it has beautiful natural exhibits that showcase NC's wildlife, however, it really isn't meant for a full-day outing. Also, don't expect seals and whales, like I mentioned before it is really just a sampling of the local animals. As far as food goes, they have the unhealthy stop-your-heart kind (i.e. ice cream, pretzels, fries, etc), all located outside (in the heat...). The gift shop is really cute and a fun highlight...I would definitely grab SOMETHING to remember the day by. Admission is $8 for 13yrs-61yrs, $7 for 62 and older, $6 for 3yrs-12yrs, and free for anyone 2 and under. IMHO, if you plan on having lots of company, or you have grandchildren/children I would buy individual membership for $30 that allows free admission for two adults on the card and their children/grandchildren under 18...now THAT'S saving some moolah. Finally, being the college student I am, I truly appreciate the fact that the aquarium offers volunteer/internship opportunities...PERFECT for my fellow Seahawks interested in marine bio (the most popular major at UNCW). All in all, while staring at hungry crocs that are sizing me up for dinner isn't my favorite way to spend the day, I am sure the kiddies will adore molesting a stingray.
Kittens and fudge,