Museum of Coastal Carolina, Ocean Isle Beach

Natural History Museum · Museum
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A visit to the Museum of Coastal Carolina is a treat for the young and the young at heart. Many vacationers include it as a multi-generational activity for the whole family. Local residents know that it is one of Brunswick County’s best family activities.

If you think museums are stuffy, quiet places that people visit for research, contemplation, or when there’s nothing else to do, then you haven’t visited North Carolina’s only natural history museum on a barrier island. Exterior murals predict some of the things you’ll see inside the Museum of Coastal Carolina.

Happy, interactive voices are encouraged! One might hear toddlers calling out “Boat, Daddy, boat!” as they climb into the wooden strip boat made here in Brunswick County. Staff and volunteers often hear “Whoa!” when visitors approach the shark jaw exhibit. Carolina residents track their local rivers to the sea and parents teach their young children to keep the beach clean and protect the animals from trash as they pass the Litterbug Hall of Shame.

Get up close to the area wildlife on display in the Green Swamp diorama. Then touch or hold a sea star, an urchin, hermit crab, or a horseshoe crab at the touch tank. Learn the inside story of shells at the updated Carolina Shells and Fossils exhibit. Don’t forget to bring your beach treasures to identify!

Hear “oohs and aahs” as you take a walk through the Ocean Reef Gallery that depicts a reef habitat about 65 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The toddler area in the Barrier Island Gallery has puppets, toy ocean animals, puzzles, and lots of happy noise. Then there’s silent awe at the Legacy of the Loggerhead sea turtle exhibit’s short video filmed on Ocean Isle Beach about the life cycle of the loggerhead turtle that includes a mother turtle laying eggs and the hatchlings crawling to the sea.

In the Coastal Plain, visitors exclaim “Wow!” when they see the American bald eagle up close and eye-to-eye. Identify the shorebirds you saw on Brunswick beaches. Children like to pretend they are a coyote or a bear with the pelts thrown over their shoulders. Fisherman are heard to exclaim that they learned to fish with a bamboo rod just like the one in the antique fishing equipment exhibit.

The Museum of Coastal Carolina is located at 21 East Second Street, Ocean Isle Beach beside the playground and just a block from the beach and the pier. Enjoy coastal natural history . . . for the fun of it!

Check http://museumplanetarium.org/ or call 910-579-1016 for further information.

For educational and entertaining gifts and toys, visit Nature’s Treasures Gift Shop at the Museum or Galaxy Gifts at the Planetarium.
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Museum of Coastal Carolina reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
169 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We, (my husband and I), had never been in the Museum of Coastal Carolina until our Grandson was down visiting one Easter, (we live here March-October). We went to the Easter events going on and... 
    We, (my husband and I), had never been in the Museum of Coastal Carolina until our Grandson was down visiting one Easter, (we live here March-October). We went to the Easter events going on and...  more »
  • This museum was a wonderful surprise! There was a little bit of something for everyone, and the touch tank was a big hit with my tween and teen. Museum volunteers were helpful, down to recommending.....  more
    This museum was a wonderful surprise! There was a little bit of something for everyone, and the touch tank was a big hit with my tween and teen. Museum volunteers were helpful, down to recommending.....  more »
  • Wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised and it kept my boys (5 and 3) entertained for a little over an hour. Nothing particularly impressive about any of the exhibits (the normal... 
    Wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised and it kept my boys (5 and 3) entertained for a little over an hour. Nothing particularly impressive about any of the exhibits (the normal...  more »
Google
  • Went near lunch on a Monday, not very crowded, was very relaxing and entertaining. Many interesting exhibits, especially the touch tank with the hermit crabs, sea stars, anemone, and horseshoe crabs! (And the cute little puffer fish, but you’re not supposed to touch those.) There’s also a very interesting interactive exhibit about topography and rainfall. And don’t miss out on the coloring/creating an aquatic creature to then scan and make part of the virtual fish tank! So cute and fun! Staff/Volunteers were all very kind and informative, eager to engage, and knowledgeable. Cute little gift shop at the end with fun little things, jewelry, and books. Also, you can do a combination ticket to go to Ingram Planetarium across the bridge, or to use for a second visit to the museum! 10/10 Highly recommend!
  • This was way cooler (and bigger) than expected! Every single staff member at the museum was delightful, helpful, kind, patient, and fantastic with kids. Chuck hooked us up with the combined ticket with the Ingram Planetarium and was just a blast to interact with. There's a lot of cool history in this place with some really fun and informative exhibits. Definitely worth the stop, rain or shine!
  • Groovy spot! Neat interactive things for the kids, very knowledgeable staff, a lil great artwork, & fun stations the kids also enjoyed. Great cool down for a hot day.
  • Wonderful, inexpensive, afternoon with kids. Also, they do schedule turtle talks and summer programs. Location is fabulous too. Across the parking lot to the town park, concert shell, and splash pad!
  • A wonderful museum with lots of good info of the coastal regions of the Carolinas. They also have great children's programs throughout the day.

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