There are more than 20 North Carolina lighthouses along our coast – one is the tallest in the United States! [Read more…]
National Lighthouse Day is recognized on August 7th. Join The Old Baldy Foundation for National Lighthouse Weekend, August 4th-6th, as they continue the celebration of the rich heritage of Lighthouses and their significant history.
See the list below for information about the weekend festivities!
On August 7th, 1789 Congress approved an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers. On August 7th, 1989, the 200th Anniversary of this act was celebrated with Congress passing a resolution to recognize August 7th, 1989 as National Lighthouse Day.
National Lighthouse Day is now celebrated annually by Lighthouse Organizations throughout the country on August 7th, although Congress has not permanently designated this as an annual event.
A weekend full of celebrations is planned on Saturday, August 4th and Sunday, August 5th! There is something for the kids, foodies, historian and even the athlete of your family. More details about the weekend festivities will be released soon!
Saturday, August 4th – “A Night Aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge”
6 pm- Bald Head Island Club
Spend the evening enjoying a culinary adventure lead by Blackbeard himself. You will be treated to a delectable meal while listening to the intrepid tales Blackbeard faced while aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Spirits and Brews will be provided by Mother Earth Brewery and Distillery.
Take home a signed copy of “The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate” by esteemed coastal Historian Kevin Duffus as a thank you for supporting The Old Baldy Foundation.
Saturday, August 4th- The Annual Old Baldy Duck Race
3 pm- Finish Line and the dock behind the Harbor Pavillion
Adopt a duck for $10 for the chance to win $500! Up your odds by adopting 11 ducks for $100.The race will take place on Saturday, August 4th at 3 pm ending at the dock behind the harbor pavilion. You do not need to be present to have the winning duck. We will contact you if your duck comes in first place!
All proceeds from the duck race go towards the mission of The Old Baldy Foundation!
Spend the afternoon and evening celebrating Old Baldy and National Lighthouse Day! National Lighthouse Day begins at 4 pm with a family-friendly festival including games, crafts, music, bbq, beer and more!
The Run for the Light course is a scenic run near coastal dunes and through the maritime forest. Enjoy the sweeping views while running at dusk toward the light of The Old Baldy Lighthouse.
Make your participation in this race an entire day trip your whole family can enjoy by taking part in an afternoon festival celebrating National Lighthouse Day. It will be one to mark off your bucket list!
The race kicks off at 7 pm with registration at 6 pm!
Imagine coming inches away from a live shark baring its teeth at you, or visualize a den of alligators just steps away from where you stand, or envision a 100-year-old sea turtle slowly swimming past you. You don’t have to imagine any of it, you can experience it for yourself at one of the three North Carolina Aquariums.
Preserving Our Coasts: North Carolina Aquariums:
The North Carolina Aquariums have three locations along the North Carolina Coast, Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, and Roanoke Island, all are public aquariums operated by the state.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
The aquarium was included among the Best Aquariums in the United States by the Travel Channel and is one of the Top Ten Attractions in North Carolina.
The main focus of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, which is located in Kure Beach, is to educate visitors about the natural habitat and the waters of the Cape Fear region.
The Cape Fear Conservatory, the visitor’s first stop in the aquarium, features freshwater life. In this large, tree-filled atrium, streams, ponds, and swamps are home to frogs, snakes, bass, catfish, and perch. Box turtles hide among the Conservatory’s groundcover.
American alligators native to North Carolina occupy one of the larger exhibits in the Conservatory. An albino alligator exhibit opened in 2009. Also, in the aquarium is an exhibit featuring the venomous snakes of the region, including several species of rattlesnake, copperheads, and cottonmouths.
The Coastal Waters Gallery, which includes the Coquina Outcrop Touch Pool, provides hands-on opportunities to learn about sea urchins, horseshoe crabs, whelks, and other creatures of a rocky outcrop surf zone. Masonboro Inlet Jetty features the fishes common around a wave-washed rock jetty, an indoor salt marsh, a seahorse habitat, and a loggerhead sea turtle display.
The Open Oceans Gallery includes Sharkstooth Ledge, which features fish common to offshore North Carolina, such as pufferfish, hogfish, and filefish. The gallery also displays octopus, jellyfish, and corals native to the state’s waters. A new multimedia suite features an extinct whale-eating shark called Megalodon.
Holding 235,000 US gallons, Cape Fear Shoals is the largest of the aquarium’s saltwater exhibits. The 24-foot deep replica of an offshore reef affords two-story, multi-level views of large sharks, stingrays, groupers, and moray eels.
The Exotic Aquatics Display features animals native to Indo-Pacific and other ocean regions. These displays include spiny lobsters, the red lionfish, and a North Carolina native, the spotted scorpion fish.
The aquarium has also opened the Bamboo Shark Touch Pool exhibit that allows visitors to touch live bamboo sharks. Bamboo sharks are considered harmless to humans and the aquarium hopes to educate visitors about sharks through interaction. And finally, the Pacific Reef Display features living corals, giant clams, anemones, cardinal fish, hawk fish, clownfish, wrasses, surgeonfish, and nearly a dozen other fish species.
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores features many of the aquatic animals of North Carolina. Most notable among them are sand tiger sharks, a green moray eel measuring about six feet long, a goliath grouper approaching four feet, and a number of sizable nurse sharks, sandbar sharks, and various game fishes.
Most of the larger creatures inhabit the aquarium’s centerpiece exhibit, the 306,000-US-gallon Living Shipwreck. Along with hundreds of schooling fishes and other animals, they create a swirl of constant motion around a replica of U-352, a German submarine that lost a World War II battle with a Coast Guard cutter off the North Carolina coast.
The aquarium’s three river otters also have lived up to expectations of stardom. Two were named Neuse and Pungo after North Carolina rivers. Neuse and Pungo came to the aquarium when they were about a year old. Eno, the third otter, was brought to the aquarium at four weeks old after his mother was killed by a car near White Lake. Aquarists bottle-fed him until he could trade formula for fish and other solid food, and helped him learn to swim. Now he’s strong, healthy, energetic and playful. Wide viewing windows bring their playful antics and underwater agility to child-eye-level, and the lively trio enchants people of all ages.
The North Carolina Aquarium also features two hands-on exhibits: the Tidal Touch Pool, featuring a large variety of aquatic invertebrates, and Skate and Ray Encounters.
In 2010, a rare white sea turtle was brought to the aquarium for care. Nimbus, as the turtle was named, was weak and smaller than the average loggerhead hatchling. Hampered by a cleft palate, it had to be coaxed into eating. It lagged behind in growth, but eventually caught up with other hatchlings of the same age. Nimbus is on exhibit in the Tidal Waters Gallery. The turtle is something of a rock star at the aquarium.
Throughout the year, the North Carolina Aquarium offers free daily programs, including: live animal programs, animal feeding presentations, a “Live Dive!” show, puppet shows, quiz games and hands-on activities. North Carolina Aquarium also offers snorkeling, surfing classes, night treks to search for nesting sea turtles, on board collection and river cruises, kayaking and canoeing excursions, and fishing courses.
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is located on the Outer Banks. Aquarium visitors are able to explore some of the state’s ecosystems and learn about the animals inhabiting them, beginning with Coastal Freshwaters and ending at the Open Ocean exhibit, also called the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
This 285,000-gallon exhibit houses the largest collection of sharks in the state, along with many species of game fishes. It also features a replica of the USS Monitor, a Civil War ironclad that sank off the coast of Cape Hatteras in late December 1862.
Alligators, various species of turtles, fish, and the ever-popular North American river otters are featured in Wetlands on the Edge. One alligator is leucistic, meaning he has reduced pigmentation in his skin. He is mostly white with patches of brown and blue eyes, making Bleu a fitting name.
The Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center opened to the public in 2014. The STAR Center is a 3,000 square-foot expansion, allowing staff and volunteers to maintain an excellent level of care for sick and ailing sea turtles. Eight tanks along with an examination room, food prep areas, and storage greatly improved upon the original rehab center. Visitors have the opportunity to see the turtle patients through viewing windows on the tanks and hear their recovery stories from the people who help them every day. When they are fully rehabilitated, the sea turtles are released back into the wild, some with satellite transmitters to track their movements.
Touch a stingray, a white-spotted bamboo shark, or a sea star in the Close Encounters exhibit. Stroll along the educational Soundside Pier, a popular location for wedding ceremonies. The aquarium is equipped to host receptions and other special events, even underwater weddings. Open-water certified divers can participate in the aquarium Shark Dive program and get up-close and personal with sharks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic exhibit.
More than a million people visit the North Carolina Aquariums each year, some return over and over again. The magic of experiencing a whole new world in front of your eyes is an experience that won’t be forgotten.
For more information about the North Carolina Aquariums visit www.ncaquariums.com
Sea Turtle Camp was founded to offer youth the opportunity to learn about marine biology through immersive, hands-on, feet-wet experiential education. Their mission is to cultivate a love and respect for the ocean by building confidence and developing character, while inspiring coastal conservation through safety, fun, and learning!
Sea turtles are one of the oldest living creatures in the world, but their numbers are being depleted faster than they can reproduce. While all the world’s problems can’t be solved by a camp, they know that one person can make a difference, and a camp full of eager knowledge-hungry young people can make a huge difference.
One of their goals is to share their passion for life and teach young adults how to mold that passion into a selfless, hard working team of individuals that can recognize problems and work towards solving them.
Through a grassroots approach, they strive to show campers a wide variety of possibilities at a time in their life where they have many potential roads to follow. In doing so they will learn the rewards of selflessly giving their time and energy to their communities, encouraging volunteer service and potentially impacting their career paths.
Ultimately, the goal of founders, Jen Civelli and Jean Beasley is to raise compassionate awareness and pour support into our life sustaining oceans. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is a place where many volunteers share their love and give their time to care for just one aspect of our oceans that many people take for granted.
The Sea Turtle Camp fill up quickly so those that are interested should go ahead and enroll as soon as possible!
About The Founders:
Jen Civelli, has spent years taking care of our oceanic resources. Jen had been a professor of chemistry at Cape Fear Community College, located in Wilmington, North Carolina and also taught several classes in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Chemistry department.
Jen’s passion for the ocean started while working on her undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Jen followed her passion for Marine Science to graduate school in San Diego, where she received her Master’s degree in Chemistry from San Diego State University.
Jen loves to travel and has visited Puerto Rico, Antigua, St Lucia, St Thomas, St John, St Martin, Barbados, Los Cabos, Mexico and the Bahamas. She also loves to visit Hawaii, where she always has a blast surfing the long, fun waves of the South Shore. She taught at the college level for fourteen years. Her extra time is spent enjoying the ocean and the beauty it brings.She loves living in North Carolina because of the warm, crystal clear water that makes surfing that much more fun. Jen’s favorite thing to do is pack up the Toyota, 4-wheel out on Carolina Beach and find her own private surf break!
By getting married to the founder of WB Surf Camp in May of 2004, she is assured a lifelong adventure in environmental conservation, surf travel and marine biology exploration.
A chance encounter with a nesting sea turtle prompted Jean Beasley’s daughter, Karen, to found a project to protect the sea turtles, their nests and the emerging hatchlings on Topsail Island. After Karen’s untimely death, Jean took up the reins of her work.
Although neither had envisioned a sea turtle hospital, when a seriously injured turtle washed up on Topsail Island something had to be done. Before they knew it, the small group of volunteers was in the sea turtle rehab business and the Sea Turtle Hospital was born. Approximately 20 fully recovered sea turtles from the size of a dinner plate to the size of a dinner table are released back to the ocean each year thanks to their efforts.
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center could not function successfully without its dedicated volunteers and donations from its supporters. At the hospital, the volunteers have made significant contributions to the field of sea turtle medicine but perhaps more importantly, they have listened to the message the sea turtles brought to them. The degradation of their habitat and the reasons behind their illnesses and injuries were hard to ignore. Jean began to speak of conservation and its importance, not only for sea turtles, but for the very survival of the planet itself. Now, recognized around the world for her conservation work, Jean continues to challenge all with her message that every person can make a difference and that together we can change the world!