Adventure Aquarium’s resident sea turtles are throwing a party this Columbus Day Weekend for the third year in a row – and everyone is invited. The annual Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend will be held Saturday, October 7 through Monday, October 9, and will raise awareness for endangered sea turtles in the wild and the Sea Turtle Conservancy

Guests will also bid farewell to the Aquarium’s loggerhead sea turtle hatchling Darwin, who will be traveling to North Carolina to be released into the Gulf Stream later in October, as well as experience sea turtle content, feeds, daily diet facts, various ways guests can save a sea turtle and much more.

Our entire team is excited for Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend, which includes a special goodbye party for Darwin, our rehab and release hatchling that will be released into the ocean in mid-October,” said Nikki Grandinetti, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates, Adventure Aquarium. “He’s grown up so much this past year while he’s been in our care and is ready to be released into the ocean. This will really be the last opportunity for our guests and staff to say goodbye to Darwin."

Every year, Adventure Aquarium acquires a hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Program to rehabilitate for one year. Biologists are responsible to guide and train the hatchling to do activities it would normally do in the wild. After a year, the hatchling is released into the wild off the coast of North Carolina along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country.

Six out of seven sea turtle species are vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. This weekend gives us a chance to talk to our guests about the sea turtle conservation efforts, including the rehab and release hatchling program and funding endeavors for the Sea Turtle Conservancy,” said Grandinetti.  “We really look forward to it each year and hope our guests do as well."


NEW! Special $99 Sea Turtle Encounters – Go behind the scenes during this special Encounter with AAQ’s family of sea turtles. Help care for, train and hand-feed green and loggerhead sea turtles, as well as bring home a souvenir photo and t-shirt. 50% of proceeds benefit sea turtles in the wild! If interested, guests are encouraged to reserve a spot as space is limited. Call Group Sales at 800-616-JAWS (5297) to book now!

NEW! Member Bring-A-Friend Conservation Weekend – Members can bring their friends, family and neighbors as special guests to the sea turtle party– all while donating to a good cause! $5 of every discounted admission ticket sold will be donated to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Adult tickets (ages 13+) are $23.50 and $19 for children (ages 2-12). As always, kids under 2 are free with an accompanying adult. Tickets must be used between Saturday, 10/7 and Monday, 10/9.

Sea Turtle Education – There is so much to learn about sea turtles! Learn about what they eat, their habits, the personalities of AAQ’s sea turtles and much more. You can even participate in an interactive sea turtle survival game!

Sea Turtle Enrichment Sessions – Watch as Adventure Aquarium’s resident turtles go through stimulating enrichment sessions in Ocean Realm. (HINT: They love to eat!)

Farewell to Darwin – Help say goodbye to our rehab and release sea turtle hatchling, Darwin. See him show off his moves as he goes through stimulating enrichment sessions he’s learned during his year at Adventure Aquarium. Guests can also make a small donation to sign their own goodbye card for Darwin.

Sea Turtle Conservancy - Guests will get to know all about the Sea Turtle Conservancy and what they can do to help protect sea turtles in the wild.

Sea Turtle Adoptions – Visitors can adopt an Adventure Aquarium sea turtle at The Gift Shop, with 20% of the proceeds benefitting Sea Turtle Conservancy.