Greensboro Science Center’s SciQuarium
The Carolina SciQuarium, the newest addition to the Greensboro Science Center, is the first inland aquarium in North Carolina and the first designed to be LEED-certified.
When directors of the SciQuarium at the Greensboro Science Center envisioned how it would look, they drew inspiration from some of the country's best aquariums with one major goal in mind.
"We wanted it to be more than just big tanks with fish, so we found out where people spent most of their time at these aquariums, which helped us to plan which species and exhibits would give our visitors the very best experience," says Steffany Reeve, marketing manager at GSC.
The SciQuarium offers both front-side and behind-the-scenes visitor opportunities that give people the chance to learn more information about the animals that reside in the aquarium and to better understand what it takes to create, manage and operate this complex "living system."
In the end, SciQuarium planners created six exhibits that offer the "best of the best" in modern aquarium experiences, including:
- A 90,000-gallon ocean reef tank filled with sharks, green moray eels, stingrays, a spotted eagle ray, surgeonfish, porcupine fish and a variety of other marine life, along with the occasional volunteer scuba diver cleaning the coral.
- The only permanent penguin exhibit in North Carolina, which features African penguins. Similar to the other animal exhibits, "Penguin Point" offers above- and below-water viewing, and has boxes built into the rocky landscape where penguins can build their nests.
- The only fishing cat exhibit in North Carolina. Visitors can watch this beautiful skilled swimmer catch its own meals.
- A multispecies exhibit called the Amazon Edge that is home to an anaconda, a two-toed sloth and Golden lion tamarin.
- An Asian small-clawed otter exhibit. A highlight feature includes a "bubble-dome" where visitors can peer into the exhibit and go nose-to-nose with these playful creatures.
- The Hands-On Harbor stingray pool allows visitors to go touch the pool creatures while learning about them from keepers and volunteers.
The SciQuarium also has an animal care area where visitors can view lab procedures performed by SciQuarium staff, as well as educational Sci-Pod stations with interactive iPads. One Sci-Pod exhibit illustrates the SciQuarium's unique filtration system that takes water from the tap to the exhibits and converts it into brackish, fresh or salt water, depending on the animal's native habitat.
For an additional charge, visitors can have behind-the-scene experiences and really get up close with the animals, as well as spend one-on-one time with the keepers to ask questions and learn more about the animals.
In addition to the SciQuarium, the Greensboro Science Center includes the Animal Discovery Zoological Park, Time Warner Cable Omnisphere Theater, and the museum complete with Prehistoric Passages, Kids Alley and other permanent exhibits.
What else is at the Greensboro Science Center?
Meet "Taiji" the red panda. Taiji is the only red panda in a zoo in North Carolina. The center hopes to acquire a female friend for breeding in the future.
Greensboro Science Center
4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro
Drive time from Charlotte: 1.5 hours
Admission: $11.50-$12.50, free for ages 2 and under
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.