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Fort Fisher Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquariums system includes facilities at Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, Roanoke Island, and Jennette's Pier. The most popular of these facilities and the most visited attraction in southeastern North Carolina is the aquarium at Fort Fisher, having 493,603 visitors during 2018.

Annually, the Aquarium hosts more than 25,000 North Carolina school students, reaches an additional 10,000 students through its Outreach programs with traveling classrooms, and attracts over 120,000 participants to its educational programs, camps, and field trips. It is also an important resource for youth groups such as the 4-H, scouts, YMCA, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

The Aquarium is over 40 years old, having its last capital renovation in 2002. Since that time, it has had more than 6.4 million visitors.

Plans have been made for the renovation of the facility to include repairing the leaking roof, structural upgrades, updated displays, redesigned classroom spaces, a new otter habitat, a new large feature tank to display sand tiger sharks, and other improvements.

The expansion project will cost $20 million, of which the Aquarium plans to raise $5 million through a capital campaign by the North Carolina Aquarium Society and $5 million through admission receipts. The remaining $10 million is being requested from the State. I successfully lobbied for $5 million that was included in the proposed Budget, and I plan on seeking additional State funding in the future.

I support this project because like the Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the Aquarium provides an important tourist and educational attraction. The visitors may also eat at restaurants, stay overnight at hotels, buy gas, and shop with local merchants. These expenditures and resulting sales tax revenues have a positive economic impact on our local community.

Paid for By Davis for NC House
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