Sound Country

courtesy North Carolina Estuarium

Washington’s estuarium is one of a kind

by Catherine Currin

Tucked away within the Pamlico River, you will find the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary. The brackish section of water is partially enclosed, a unique intersection where the river meets the more open sound. It’s home to hundreds of different maritime species, and they are celebrated at the nearby North Carolina Estuarium. The medley of aquarium, museum, and classroom is the only environmental center of its kind in the state.

“The museum plays like an ode to the Sound Country from the moment you walk in, meandering like the river itself on through interactive exhibits highlighting the wildlife, cultures, and living science that makes this region such a remarkable home,” says estuarium programming specialist Russ Chesson. While there are more than 200 exhibits indoors, there’s even more to see outside: At 12,500 square feet, the estuary is the second largest in the country. There are outings for every age, from interactive field trips to river cruises. River tours are complimentary, and this spring’s options include roving along the estuarium on the Tar/Pamlico River, rambling on the Cashie River, and roaming the Scuppernong riverbank.

courtesy North Carolina Estuarium

You can make a day of your visit and explore the waterfront shops and historic homes in Washington, the first American city named for George Washington. Meander through the quaint downtown and find everything from charming porches to Civil War relics. Look for Crabs On The Move, colorful crab statues scattered along Main Street, or grab a bite at Bill’s Hot Dogs stand, serving chili dogs since 1928.