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Dinosaurs Come to Life at Aquarium

PINE KNOLL SHORES — They are finally here! Flying dinosaurs could be seen throughout the area, May 7, as they found their place among the marsh. Now it is time to experience dinosaurs face-to-face and hear them roar at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores beginning Memorial Day weekend. Step outside and travel back millions of years to meet these beautiful creatures that roamed the Earth during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The dinosaur exhibit, free with admission or Aquarium membership, officially opens 9 a.m. May 26.

Don’t be afraid. A 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex will be our greeter on the front steps; this toothy grin can be seen from the farthest of parking spots.

When you walk past the front pond, be sure to see the Suchomimus tenerensis, a large, meat-eater of the middle Cretaceous period that specialized in catching fish and could reach the size of a school bus. This dinosaur is specially painted to bring awareness about an endangered animal of today – the African wild dog and was one of two winning submissions of the Design a Dino coloring contest held earlier this year. Learn why Candace Coon, from Selma, picked this animal and find out what you can do to help.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring dinosaurs back to life, while also conveying the need to help animals of today who are facing their own possible extinction,” said Hap Fatzinger, director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Watch out near the waterfall, flying reptiles called Tupuxuara can be spotted. Their sharp beaks are perfect for catching fish. Don’t miss the nest tucked into the mountainside.  Shhhh, there are babies in there.

Be sure to step onto our boardwalk, where it will feel like stepping into another world. More than a dozen dinosaurs can be found under the canopy of trees — Edmontia, Utaraptor, and Brachiosaurus — just to name a few. The Dilophosaurus, a meat-eater from the early Jurassic period can be found also, but beware. Although not proven to in real life, the ones at the Aquarium are known to spit.

Visit soon and often, because they are here for a limited time — Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.

For more information, visit www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores-special-events or call 252-247-4003