New animals add to NC Aquarium adventure

By on November 22, 2020

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North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

In the eight weeks since the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island welcomed visitors back to experience up-close animal adventures, thousands who have stopped in to see what’s new have met some animals and habitats that weren’t there before. Baby alligators, yellow stingrays and a new sea jellies viewing window are all newly introduced additions to the aquarium inviting an even more immersive experience.

The Seven Rivers Gallery is home to four new hatchling American alligators. The foursome comes from a partner facility in South Carolina, Alligator Adventure, which provided the animals on loan to the aquarium. Baby alligators were last introduced to the aquarium four years ago, with the arrival of four hatchlings that had been recovered by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission after being illegally sold online. As they matured and began to grow too large for the habitat, they were safely transferred to the same South Carolina facility earlier this year.

The new alligators are all responding quickly to training that helps their caretakers keep them safe and healthy.

“They are really fast at learning because they are really motivated by food,” says Aquarist Connie Quattlebaum. The baby alligators can be seen actively swimming in the gallery, floating on the surface of the water or basking on rocks.

Visitors to the Sea Senses touch pools will also see some colorful changes there, as newly introduced yellow stingrays mingle with Atlantic stingrays and horseshoe crabs. The five rays have distinctive light coloring accented with spots that very closely resemble the sand on the bottom of the pool, which helps them to camouflage. Like all the rays in the touch pools, the yellow rays have their barbs trimmed regularly, but Aquarist Sheena Jones says the task differs from the Atlantic rays because of the barb’s location near the end of the tail. “Yellow stingrays have short, blunt tails so they have a little more force and leverage,” Jones says. “So you have to be careful.” Still, Jones says, she and the rays have always remained safe during handling.

No longer in the Sea Senses gallery are cownose stingrays, known for their blunt snouts and sleek skin. Careful observation by the aquarium’s animal experts determined they would be better suited to larger habitats, and in the interest of their future health and welfare, all four cownose rays were moved to a suitable location at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Connecticut.

In the popular Delicate Drifters Gallery, a restored viewing window (known in aquariums as a kreisel) gives visitors a stunning view of Pacific sea nettles. Some of the few animals at the aquarium not native to North Carolina, the sea nettles nonetheless have beautiful drifting tentacles and coloration that makes them unique.

The kreisel has been under repair and renovation for nearly two years, while guests have been able to watch moon jellies and other species through another wall display and three viewing tubes. With the larger kreisel returned, the Delicate Drifters Gallery once again offers surround viewing of these quiet and graceful creatures.

Animal arrivals are not all that’s new; since reopening, the aquarium is asking all guests to purchase tickets in advance online at and to remember that cloth face masks are required inside. Meanwhile, social distancing markers and hand sanitizer stations can be seen throughout the aquarium. “These steps help provide the safest possible environment for both our guests and our staff,” said Communications Manager Brian Postelle. “We need our animal caretakers healthy to best provide for the well-being of all of the animals here. And we greatly appreciate the community support.”

The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is dedicated to the mission of “Inspiring appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.” The aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pre-reserved tickets and cloth face coverings are required. Info at


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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