Aquariums and Lighthouses
One of the most visited attractions on Oak Island is The Oak Island Lighthouse, built in 1958, was one of the last lighthouses to be built in the United States. Also, it is the last lighthouse in the world to be manually operated. One of three lighthouses left on the southern coast of North Carolina, the Oak Island Lighthouse is managed by the United States Coast Guard. Their weekly inspections ensure the lights in the tower continue to be in working order. The lighthouse is 153 feet high with a concrete base, and its aero beam lights can be seen by boats that are as far as 24 miles out to sea.
Along the pristine shores of Bald Head Island, you’ll find the sturdy lighthouse affectionately known as “Old Baldy”. Located by the lighthouse, the Smith Island Museum History is located in a building that was replicated after the original Bald Head Island light keeper’s house. Located near the lighthouse, this museum features lighthouse artifacts available for viewing, and also has a gift shop with some souvenirs for sale. Some lectures and educational programs are offered at the museum, and tickets are sold for $3.00 per person to climb the Bald Head Island Lighthouse.
Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is an interesting place to visit to view area sea creatures and habitats. Located at the edge of Broadway at the Beach, exhibits and programs in the aquarium will teach you and your children about various aspects of sea life. Many sea creatures are on display, including sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and other exotic fish species. There is also a unique “Titanic” display for your enjoyment.
You might also check out the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, located south of Kure Beach, is home to a large freshwater conservatory, a quarter-million-gallon ocean tank, and many other exhibits. Various area habitats are shown in the Aquarium, including a waterfall, creeks, swamps, estuaries, beaches, and the ocean aquarium. A total of 2,600 creatures live in the Aquarium, including sea snakes, lionfish, cuttlefish, octopuses and more. For more information, contact the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher at (910) 458-8257.