Fort Fisher aquarium’s freshwater conservatory building closing for repairs

Fort Fisher aquarium’s freshwater conservatory building closing for repairs

KURE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - The freshwater conservatory building at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will be closed for several months as it undergoes repairs.

Aquarium officials announced Tuesday that the building will be closed to visitors starting Nov. 4 so roof repairs can be made and the fire suppression system can be replaced.

The repair work is expected to continue into spring of next year.

During this time, the aquarium will remain open along with its saltwater galleries, touch pools and outdoor gardens.

Starting Nov. 4, general admission tickets will be reduced by $3 during the partial closure to $9.95 for adults, $8.95 for seniors (ages 62+) and military, $7.95 for children ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and younger get in free.

The project includes replacing the static and retractable roof panels and sprinkler system.

“A key aspect of the building is its transparent panels. Leaks in the double-walled seals have resulted in significant mildew and algae growth between panes, diminishing the natural light critical for healthy plants and animals,” officials said in a news release.

Failing seals around panels also have created roof leaks.

“The aquarium’s coastal location is a beautiful, but unforgiving environment, with constant moisture and salt encroaching on critical infrastructure,” said Aquarium Director Hap Fatzinger. “These necessary repairs ensure we maintain safety and integrity for both visitors and animals in our care.”

The project was originally planned to begin in late 2018, but had to be delayed due to impacts from Hurricane Florence.

During the closure, several animals, including Luna, the albino alligator, and Maverick, the rescued bald eagle, will receive care in nonpublic areas of the aquarium.

“We know visitors care deeply about Luna, Maverick and all animals in aquarium care,” said Fatzinger. “Our team is laser focused on their needs and well-being now and throughout this project.”

Luna came from an alligator farm in Florida, but was originally taken from a nest in Louisiana. (Source: NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher)
Luna came from an alligator farm in Florida, but was originally taken from a nest in Louisiana. (Source: NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher)

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