Amazing asset

Published 7:26 pm Friday, January 2, 2009

By Staff
This month, the North Carolina Estuarium on Washington’s waterfront celebrates the 11th anniversary of opening its doors to the public.
The Estuarium has proven to be an asset not only to Washington but the entire state. The Estuarium is more than just a tourist attraction. It’s more than just an educational center. It’s more than just a museum.
The Estuarium provides a look at ways of life — human, animal and plant. The Estuarium provides a fun, interactive way for people to learn about the estuarine systems, where, as the Estuarium likes to point out, the rivers meet the sea.
The Estuarium, built with help from the City of Washington and North Carolina, houses more than 200 exhibits of a scientific or historic nature. It provides scores of educational programs each year, with subjects ranging from butterflies to snakes. The Estuarium’s River Roving excursions have been popular since the first pontoon boat left the Estuarium’s dock and headed up the Pamlico-Tar River and its tributaries.
Thousands of students from across North Carolina have visited the Estuarium as part of their studies ranging from biology to ecology. The Estuarium’s interactive exhibits make learning fun and educational.
Read what someone posted about the Estuarium on the TripAdvisor Web site in June 2008: “an absolute GEM. the interactive water cycle sculpture, donated by the artist, i believe, still has our group of very crusty (curmudgeons) talking and planning repeat visits with kids and grandkids. we were shocked to learn lots of folks in eastern nc were unaware of this absolute treasure. thanks for the opportunity to share this delightful find.”
There is the sad part. Many eastern North Carolina residents do not know the Estuarium exists. The Partnership for the Sounds, the nonprofit organization that operates the Estuarium and other similar environmental-education facilities in eastern North Carolina, has a limited budget when it comes to advertising. With the money it has, the Partnership for the Sounds does the best job it can when it comes to getting the word out about the Estuarium and its other facilities.
Perhaps with a new year just beginning, the Partnership for the Sounds will at least consider a campaign to raise funds for a comprehensive marketing strategy to publicize the Estuarium and its other facilities. Tourism authorities like Washington’s and others in the region do promote the Estuarium, but such a facility can always use more and better promotion.
Perhaps the folks who run the Estuarium can find a way to use what the poster (identified as “wooduck” from Hilton Head, S.C.) to the TripAdvisor Web site had to say about the Estuarium. That poster labeled the Estuarium as a “must see” attraction.
Another poster, GreeleyJoe from Greeley, Colo., labeled the Estuarium as “Best attraction in Washington, NC” on the TripAdvisor Web site.
Well, that can be debated, but the Estuarium is at the top of the short list of best attractions in Washington, not to mention North Carolina.
For those people, especially those in eastern North Carolina, who have not yet visited the Estuarium, they should help celebrate the facility’s 11th anniversary by paying it a visit this month. And when visiting there, remember to thank the good folks at the Estuarium for keeping its doors open for 11 years.
Can’t make it? We will do the thanking for you.
Here’s to the Estuarium and its unique way of educating, entertaining and inspiring many of us. Keep up the good work.