Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina Aquariums’

Staff from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer showing off their Panthers pride.

Staff from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer
showing off their Panthers pride.

Governor Pat McCrory today made a wager with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper over this weekend’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.

If the Panthers prevail as Governor McCrory predicts, Hickenlooper will donate Colorado products to North Carolina food banks and animal shelters. In the unlikely event that the Panther lose, Governor McCrory will donate North Carolina turkey products to Colorado food banks and animals shelters.

Two state historic sites and the North Carolina Zoo have followed Governor McCrory’s lead by either accepting or making friendly wagers with their counterparts in Colorado.

Zoo Directors Put State Pride On The Line

The North Carolina Zoo accepted the Denver Zoo’s Super Bowl challenge. The losing zoo’s director will be welcoming visitors next week in the winning team’s jersey.

Transportation Museums Participate in Turntable Challenge

The North Carolina Transportation Museum will deck out its diesel engines in Broncos regalia with staff riding the turntable while singing the Broncos fight song if the Panthers lose, in addition to supplying to the Colorado Railroad Museum with a number of the Tar Heel State’s favorite foods.

This afternoon the Colorado museum accepted NCTM’s challenge.

Gold ore is being wagered by the Reed Gold Mine..

Gold ore is being wagered by the Reed Gold Mine..

Mine Museums Wager Gold

North Carolina and Colorado are connected through the spread of gold discoveries across the United States during the 19th century, and Reed Gold Mine and the Western Museum of Mining and Industry are raising the stakes on Super Bowl wagers by putting a gold ore specimen valued between $40 and $50 on the line.

Discounted Admission for #PanthersPride

To celebrate the Panthers and help get everyone in the team spirit, the North Carolina Zoo will be offering $2 off admission to guests wearing Panthers’ gear now through Sunday.

The North Carolina Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher and Jennette’s Pier will be offering $1 off admission to visitors in Panthers’ gear Sunday only.

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Aquarists at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher check sea turtles for strength and mobility.

Last week, the North Carolina Aquariums worked with a number of state and federal partners to rescue more than 600 cold-stunned turtles that turned up on the North Carolina coast after the drop in temperature.

Four Questions About Cold-Stunned Turtles

As we shared news of this effort led by the Aquariums, we received several questions about the science of sea turtles and the cold-stunned phenomenon. We consulted with some of the experts at the aquariums and wanted to share some answers they gave us.

What, exactly, does “cold-stunned” mean? Does it cause permanent damage?

“Cold-stunning” is a physical response to cold water temperatures. As the turtle’s body temperature falls, its body systems start to shut down. They become paralyzed with a decreased heart rate and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death. It’s similar to what happens when humans become hypothermic. 

Often, the turtles are found floating inshore (shallow coastal waters and sounds) or stranded on beaches.


Rehabilitated cold-stunned turtles just before their release.

Is this something that’s seen every year of the North Carolina coast?

Cold-stunning is typically seen each year to some extent along the Eastern Seaboard, starting in the turtles’ northern range (New England) and moving south as seasonal temperatures take effect. In mid-December, the North Carolina Aquariums assisted with a large cold-stunning event that occurred in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by taking in turtles for rehab.

This year’s cold-stunning event is unique because of its severity. The rapid and drastic change in temperatures led to a record number of cold-stunned turtles. 

In an average season, the N.C. Aquariums might only rehab between 40 and 60 turtles. The season has just begun, and already they have taken in more than 400 turtles.

How are the turtles rehabilitated?

The turtles are assessed by veterinary teams from N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine and state Aquariums husbandry staff. Some simply need time in warmer water temperatures to regain strength and mobility.

Others need extensive care due to infections, pneumonia and injuries. So, there’s a range of treatments depending on the severity.

Members of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Living Collections Section also volunteered to rehabilitate seven juvenile green sea turtles that required several weeks of medical care.

Several of the turtles have already been released into the wild.


A girl meets a rehabilitated turtle just before its release.

Is there a reason mostly green sea turtles are affected?

In cold-stunning events, aquarists typically see juvenile turtles and mostly green and Kemp’s ridley turtles. Each turtle species is sensitive to different water temperatures. Age and size have an effect, too. Greens start to stun when water temperatures reach the mid-50s. Whereas, a larger loggerhead sea turtle might be fine.

There are various theories on why this all happens. One is that the turtles are young and don’t know yet to move closer out to the Gulf Stream as temperatures drop.  Another is that because of the sudden weather change, they just didn’t have time to get out.

Where You Can Learn More

You can learn more about sea turtles by visiting the North Carolina Aquariums on the coast. Though the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island is closed through March. The aquariums at Fort Fisher and Pine Knoll Shores are both open and will offer free admission to everyone on January 18 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher also has a great educational website on sea turtles that you can explore from the comfort of your own home.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores offers special behind-the-scenes tours, where you can see how sea turtles are cared for.

How You Can Help

Both the N.C. Aquariums and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences need your support to keep doing this important work. Both the aquariums (use promo code: SEATURTLE2016) and the museum accept donations online.

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An old fashioned day in Albemarle, concerts of the music of Harry Potter in New Bern and Raleigh and celebrations of Halloween across the state are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Here are 10 things on our weekend to-do list:

1. Celebrate Halloween at one of our museums.

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh will offer activities exploring science’s spookier side Thursday, while the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will present a Halloween movie and crafts Saturday. Fayetteville‘s Museum of the Cape Fear will have trick or treating at the 1897 Poe House, also on Saturday.



2. Hear a spooky 40s-style radio show at Tryon Palace in New Bern Friday and Saturday.



3. See historic demonstrations and exhibits, make a craft and enjoy live music at Morrow Mountain State Park’s Old Fashioned Day Sunday in Albemarle.



4. Join Jones Lake State Park in Elizabethtown Saturday for costume contests, hayrides, games, hikes with rangers and animal exhibits as part of its annual Fall Festival.



5. Explore the intricacies of the Battle of Wyse Fork during a lecture and book signing Saturday the CSS Neuse Civil War Center in Kinston.



6. Take your Jack-O-Lanterns to Town Creek Indian Mound in Mount Gilead Sunday to see them launched in trebuchet built by local boy scouts.



7. Try and strike it rich at Reed Gold Mine in Midland before panning for gold closes for the season Saturday.



8. Experience a Halloween at Hogwarts with performances of the music of Harry Potter by the N.C. Symphony, presentations by an illusionist and face painting in Raleigh and New Bern throughout the weekend.



9. Trick or treat under the sea and enjoy a whole host of other Halloween-related activities throughout the week at the N.C. Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher.



10. Marvel at Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester when it goes on view Saturday at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.



Check out DNCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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