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FORT FISHER (WECT) – There is something special about the word “free”, and not being charged to get into the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher brought several hundred people to the facility today.
When the three state aquariums first began operations, there was no charge to see the animals and what it took to maintain them. But gradually, a fee schedule was implemented, to help offset the operating cost. However, aquarium officials decided that there would be two days each year that anyone who would like to tour the aquariums could do so, absolutely free. One of those was today, celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday. The other is veterans day in November.
Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan was excited to see the parking lots full around the facility. Cars were also lining both sides of the road leading up to the aquarium. And she said the nice weather enabled families to turn out in great numbers.
“Today, like every day, we have six opportunities to see animals being fed, to see the divers in the tanks, and learn and play games in the auditorium," said Sloan. “In addition, we have a behind the scenes tour to see some loggerhead sea turtles that we are rehabilitating.”
Last year, Sloan estimated 1,500 visitors took advantage of the free admission on the King holiday. However, that figure was almost surpassed before noon today and see expects that by the end of the day, over 2,000 people would have visited the Aquarium, absolutely free.
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