Greensboro Science Center Aquarium | NC Weekend | UNC-TV


>>Deborah: WELCOME TO “NORTH
CAROLINA WEEKEND.” I’M DEBORAH HOLT NOEL. WHEN YOU THINK OF AQUARIUMS, YOU
PROBABLY THINK OF THOSE LOCATED NEAR THE COAST. BUT GUESS WHAT? THERE’S A UNIQUE ATTRACTION IN
THE PIEDMONT THAT OFFERS VISITORS AN UP-CLOSE,
INTERACTIVE, AND HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE WITH MARINE LIFE FROM
ALL OVER THE GLOBE. PRODUCER KATHERINE JOHNSON GIVES
US A PEEK AT THE AQUARIUM AT THE GREENSBORO SCIENCE CENTER.>>Reporter: WHILE NOT EVERYONE
MAY HAVE THE CHANCE TO ENJOY AN UNDERSEA ADVENTURE, THE
GREENSBORO SCIENCE CENTER IS WORKING TO BRING A BIT OF
THAT EXPERIENCE TO VISITORS THROUGH ITS AQUARIUM.>>THE IDEA BEHIND THE AQUARIUM
WAS TO DO SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL FOR GREENSBORO. AND WE WANTED TO BUILD THE FIRST
INLAND AQUARIUM IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA. IT IS BASICALLY 23,000 SQUARE
FEET, DESIGNED ON SOME VERY ICONIC ANIMALS THAT WE KNEW
PEOPLE ALL WOULD WANT TO SEE AND ALSO TALK ABOUT THE
CONSERVATION OF THOSE ANIMALS IN VERY UNIQUE WAYS. SO IT KIND OF STARTS WITH THE
PREMISE OF AN ANIMAL YOU WOULD NEVER EXPECT TO SEE IN AN
AQUARIUM, WHICH IS A FISHING CAT, ASIAN CAT, THAT, YOU KNOW,
LIKE, WHY WOULD THAT BE IN AN AQUARIUM, BUT THE IDEA IS A
SURPRISE FACTOR. AND, ALSO, THEY’RE A HIGHLY
ENDANGERED ANIMAL. SOME OF THE ICONIC SPECIES WE
DECIDED TO GO WITH WERE SMALL-CLAWED OTTERS, ANOTHER
ENDANGERED SPECIES, PENGUINS, WHICH ARE PROBABLY ONE OF THE
MOST POPULAR ANIMALS HERE. EVERYONE IDENTIFIES WITH THEM. AND WE’VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL
AT BREEDING THEM HERE.>>YEAH, YEAH. CAN I PLAY WITH YOUR WINGS?>>Reporter: WATCHING THE
PENGUINS AS THEY DIVE AND SWIM THROUGH THE WATER IS ALWAYS A
CROWD PLEASER, BUT VISITORS ALSO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO
ENCOUNTER PENGUINS UP CLOSE THROUGH BEHIND-THE-SCENES
PENGUIN ENCOUNTERS. OTHER EXHIBITS ARE
JUST AS EXCITING.>>AN AMAZON EXHIBIT, AN OCTOPUS
EXHIBIT, THE STINGRAY TOUCH TANK RIGHT NEXT TO ME, WHICH IS
EXTREMELY POPULAR BECAUSE IT’S VERY TACTILE. OUR SCIENCE POD CORE HERE, WHICH
IS A LABORATORY WHERE PEOPLE CAN WATCH OUR AQUARISTS AND
SCIENTISTS BEHIND THE SCENES DOING THEIR THINKING AND MAKING
SURE THEIR WATER QUALITY IS AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. AND, OF COURSE, THE MOST ICONIC
EXHIBIT HERE IS RIGHT BEHIND ME WITH THE SHARK TANK. THAT’S THE MOST EXPENSIVE, MOST
UNIQUE, AND THE HIGHEST DENSITY OF SPECIES IN THE ENTIRE SPACE.>>Reporter: AND FOR VISITORS
WANTING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ANIMALS AND HOW THE AQUARIUM
WORKS, THERE ARE BEHIND-THE-SCENES
TOURS AVAILABLE.>>WE REALLY LIKE TO SHOW
VISITORS WHAT GOES INTO THE CREATING, THE MAINTAINING OF AN
AQUARIUM, ESPECIALLY SO FAR AWAY FROM THE OCEAN. SO WHEN WE HAVE VISITORS IN OUR
BEHIND-THE-SCENES EXPERIENCE, WE START WITH FOOD PREP, TAKING
CARE OF THE ANIMALS, BUT REALLY TAKING CARE OF THE WATER. A HIGHLIGHT OF A
BEHIND-THE-SCENES EXPERIENCE IS GOING ON TOP OF OUR SHARK REEF,
AND THAT’S SO THAT WE CAN SEE ALL OF THE ANIMALS
AND THE HUGE SIZE. YOU DON’T GET THAT SENSE WHEN
YOU’RE IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW. AND THEN WE ALSO TALK ABOUT HOW
THEY’RE FED, HOW THEY’RE MAINTAINED, HOW WE CAN ADD
ANIMALS IN THERE SAFELY AND HOW THE DIVE PROGRAM WORKS.>>Reporter: FOR REAL SCIENCE
ENTHUSIASTS, INTERACTIVE SCIENCE PODS WITH TOUCHPADS ARE
STATIONED THROUGHOUT THE AQUARIUM, GIVING VISITORS A
CHANCE TO VIEW VIDEOS AND GET MORE INFORMATION
ABOUT THE ANIMALS. AND SOON THE AQUARIUM WILL HAVE
EVEN MORE TO OFFER.>>WE’RE ADDING 5,000 NEW SQUARE
FEET BY ADDING 17 NEW SMALLER EXHIBITS, BUT THEY’RE BEAUTIFUL,
LUSH EXHIBITS, FOCUSING ON THE OPEN OCEANS, THE ODDITIES OF
THE OCEAN, AND HABITATS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE.>>Reporter: THE AQUARIUM HAS
RECEIVED AN OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE RESPONSE FROM VISITORS
OF ALL AGES.>>IF YOU WANT A HANDS-ON
EXPERIENCE AND YOU WANT TO GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED AND TURN THEM
ON TO SCIENCE, THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO BRING THEM. THE THINGS THAT THEY CAN DO AND
LOOK AND SEE AND TOUCH AND FEEL IS GOING TO TURN THEM ON TO
SCIENCE FOR SURE.>>THE KIDS LOVE THE SHARKS. AND THE PENGUINS ARE SO FUN TO
WATCH, TOO, WHEN THEY’RE PLAYING AROUND IN THE WATER. THE KIDS LOVE THE PENGUINS. IT’S FUN AND IT’S EDUCATIONAL. I FEEL LIKE, UM, IT’S JUST LIKE
THIS GEM IN GREENSBORO THAT WE CAN COME SEE ANIMALS AND FISH
THAT WE NORMALLY WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SEE, AND THE
KIDS JUST LOVE IT.>>Reporter: AND IT’S NOT JUST
VISITORS FROM GREENSBORO WHO ARE ENJOYING THE
AQUARIUM EXPERIENCE.>>WE’RE NOW DRAWING IN VISITORS
FROM ALL 100 COUNTIES IN NORTH CAROLINA, AND THROUGH ZIP CODE
ANALYSIS, WE KNOW WE HAVE VISITORS FROM ALL
50 STATES AS WELL. WHEN YOU COME HERE, YOU REALLY
GET A MASSIVE BANG FOR THE BUCK AND A VERY INTIMATE EXPERIENCE
WITH ANIMALS, WITH STAFF, WITH VOLUNTEERS. IT REALLY IS UNIQUE IN THE
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA. PEOPLE JUST WANT TO COME
OUT HERE AND HAVE A FAMILY EXPERIENCE. THEY WANT TO HAVE TIME WITH MOM
AND DAD, GRANDMA AND GRANDPA, THE KIDS, AND NOT NECESSARILY
GET TOO SERIOUS ABOUT IT BUT HAVE INTERACTIONS THAT ARE
VALUABLE, POSITIVE, WHILE THEY’RE INTERACTING WITH
OTHER CREATURES FROM ALL OVER THE PLANET.

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