03/25/13

Coming Soon to a Village Near You! Hatteras Island Ocean Center

Exciting plans are underway to open the first phase of the Hatteras Island Ocean Center this Spring in the former Beacon Shops located on NC Hwy 12 in Hatteras Village. The first phase of this multi-year project includes an interactive information and education center, as well as wetland trails for exploring the unique ecology of Hatteras Island. This series of noninvasive trails will lead to a launching area for kayaks and paddleboards at trail’s end.

The Ocean Center headquarters will house exhibits on the varied components of Hatteras Island’s ecosystem. These interactive exhibits will focus on marine life, shipwrecks, weather, shellfish, salt marsh ecology, and of course, sea turtles! As you enter the Center, a “larger than life” screen will display the underwater photography of local artist, Russell Blackwood. Next, head to the exhibit on sea turtles which will include a machine that simulates x-rays and probes, allowing visitors to learn about the biology of sea turtles while making the connection between sea turtle maladies and the environment’s impact. In addition to playing “Sea Turtle Veterinarian,” visitors will have an opportunity to learn about nesting habits and rehabilitation procedures for the sea turtles of Hatteras Island. From there, visitors can explore a fishing exhibit set up in conjunction with the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and Captain Ernie Foster of the Albatross Fleet. This exhibit will focus mainly on charter and commercial fishing, with the addition of beach and pier fishing in the future. As you make your way back around to the entrance, take a minute to check out the interactive whiteboard with daily updates on weather, tides, and island happenings. If you’d like to enjoy a Hatteras Island Ocean Center souvenir, choose from a few Ocean Center choice goods and be on your way to explore the wetland trails!

The second phase of the Hatteras Island Ocean Center will include a state-of-the-art pier and pier house located on NC Hwy 12 in the same vicinity as the former General Mitchell Motel in Hatteras Village. The pier house is expected to include a restaurant, other food vendors, a covered playground, an arcade, a public bathhouse, tackle shop, equipment rental, indoor and outdoor exhibits, classrooms, research areas, and a wildlife rehabilitation area. This phase is still in the very beginning stages as funding is being pursued.

Stay tuned for updates and make plans to stop by the Hatteras Island Ocean Center on your next visit to Hatteras Island! Visit www.hioceancenter.org or follow them on Facebook


03/15/13

Fan Photo Friday

One of the many reasons to vacation on Hatteras Island

If you’re in the right place (Hatteras Island) at the right time (during nesting season), you might be lucky enough to witness baby sea turtles hatching and making their journey home (to the sea).


Thanks to Vickie Kay Rowe Willard for submitting this photo to our Facebook page!

Sea turtles visit the Outer Banks in early to mid summer to lay eggs. The sea turtle nest cavities in the sand are 18-22 inches deep, on average, and contain between 75-150 ping pong-sized eggs. Those eggs hatch 55-80 days after they are laid. Most adult sea turtles nest every other year or every three years, laying 3-4 cluthes (nests) of eggs during nesting season (May-August).

Fun Fact:
Turtle crawl – The unique pattern left in the sand when a sea turtle crawls to or from the sea. Some people say that the pattern resembles tractor treads.

Things to keep in mind:
Do not crowd the nesting female – Sit quietly away from her – Do not shine any lights on or around her head, as she may abandon her effort to nest – No flash photography – Turn off outside and inside ocean-facing lights as sea turtles will head towards house lights instead of heading to the sea –

Check out N.E.S.T. on the Outer Banks for more information on sea turtles and how you can help while you’re here!


06/6/12

World OCEAN Day, June 8th

Let’s all join together and celebrate World Ocean Day on Friday, June 8th, right here on Cape Hatteras National Seashore!
First recognized in 2008 by the United Nations, World Ocean Day has been designated as a special day for people around the globe to celebrate the abundance of ocean resources.
A day of recognizing, exploring, and appreciating our ocean’s resources will be underway on June 8th!
Join in the following programs:
9:30 am Explore the Shore (1hr.)
~A free, ranger-led walk on our beaches to explore the everchanging shoreline and the plants and animals that call the seashore their home. Meet in the parking lot next to the Ocracoke campground.
11 am Sea Turtles for Kids (30 min.)
~Free, fun, interactive activities for kids to learn about this amazing creature who uses the shores of Cape Hatteras National Seashore as its nursery grounds. Meet @ the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
3 pm Sentinel of the Shore (30 min.)
~An opportunity to learn about the rich history of the Park’s lighthouses and find out what is in store for those majestic structures! Meet @ the Bodie Island Visitor Center.
Remember knowledge is power! Let’s all pay homage to the world’s oceans by participating in an activity that supports these powerful bodies of water!