Aquarium honors vets with free admission, special program

By on November 7, 2017

A special program on the Pea Island Lifesavers will be held Veterans Day at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. (painting by James Melvin)

The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island will observe Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, with special programs and free admission to thank and honor all the men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Admission to the aquarium will be free for everyone on Veterans Day, which is one of the two free admission days the aquarium offers each year.

Veterans Day will also kick-off the “Season of Thankfulness” food drive, which runs through Nov. 30 and benefits the Roanoke Island Food Pantry at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Manteo.

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Guests are invited to bring non-perishable food to the aquarium for donation. Last year, guests donated 1,458 pounds of food on Veterans Day alone, allowing the food pantry to assist many families in need.

In addition, Saturday, Nov. 11 marks the return of the presentation “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes: The Unique Story of the Pea Island Lifesavers,” which tells the true and inspiring story of the U.S. Life-Saving service and the engaging, unique history of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station.

The presentation draws enthusiastic participation by adults and children, and leads to important discussions about diversity and unity. Through reenactment and interpretation, presenters tell the story of Richard Etheridge, keeper of the first all-black lifesaving station, located on nearby Pea Island, and how crews from different stations had to work alongside each other to fulfill their sworn duties.

The U.S. Life-Saving Service was an early precursor of what would become the U.S. Coast Guard, and Veterans Day is a special time to pay tribute to these heroes. “Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes: The Unique Story of the Pea Island Lifesavers” will be presented at 11 a.m. in Neptune’s Theater.

The N.C. 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 North Carolina’s aquatic environments.”

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The aquarium is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, visit NC Aquarium/Roanoke Island.

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