Divers swimming with sharks at the Roanoke Island Aquarium.

The official completion and grand re-opening of the Roanoke Island Aquarium won’t be until August 10, but the doors are open now and Wow! It is worth a visit completed or not.

Just walking into the lobby it’s obvious things are different. A cameras capture everyone’s image and projects the image in giant high def screen high overhead. The backdrop is an ocean environment and just to give it a touch of realism, hammerhead sharks swim by every once in a while.

Almost all of the exhibits are open. The jellyfish exhibit should be open this coming week—and parents will probably love that area. Set back a bit from the general melee, the lighting and ambiance is very soothing. There are a couple of small critter exhibits that aren’t quite ready yet, but almost all of the major exhibits are ready to go.

The redesign takes full advantage of technology. Gone are signs that tell everything anyone could ever want to know about a species, replaced by touch screens that give smaller bits of information so users can decide how much they want to have.

There are some great reenactments on screen using local actors telling the history of the area. Particularly powerful was the room telling the story of the Monitor.

Some of the old favorites are still there. Under the heading of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the otter exhibit was not changed and the otters are as frisky and playful as ever.

The 285,000 main tank is still there, complete with 8’ sandsharks and divers.

Really worth a visit and great for the whole family.