Knowing How Good We've Got It

By Molly Harrison | Monday, June 7, 2010
Check out the Aquarium's new Shark Exhibit.

Don't worry, this is going to be a happy blog, but just for a minute let me be sad. * Images from Louisiana of pelicans and gulls smothered in oil, dying chicks, oily bird nests, goopy estuaries and frighteningly black seawater are seared into my brain. * Living in such a similar environment on the Outer Banks makes it easy to imagine the horror that the people of the Gulf Coast are seeing first-hand: not only the destruction of their environment, but also the decimation of their livelihood - tourism and seafood harvesting - in peak season. * My heart feels heavy for the people and the animals and the earth. If you'd like to be part of a positive response, go to the Move-On vigil being held Tuesday night in Manteo at the George Washington Creef Park (beside the Maritime Museum). It starts at 7 p.m.

But that's not why I'm here. My job is to tell you what you can do on the Outer Banks this week and there's a lot to do. * Let's be extra grateful for our clean water and healthy wildlife and each and every visitor and get out there and enjoy the Outer Banks...

Outdoor activities are abundant at the local attractions, and you don't have to be a visitor to enjoy them. (Ahem, locals, that means you.) * Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education in Corolla, Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head, Cape Hatteras National Seashore on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on the mainland offer guided nature programs from seining the sound to snorkeling to canoeing to bird-watching. * Kayak tours, dolphin tours, surfing lessons, marsh hikes, beach walks, charter fishing trips, I could go on but you get the idea - all these outdoor activities are ways to show appreciation for how good we've got it on the Banks...

My top pick for a great day this week starts off with a visit to the newly opened Island Farm on Roanoke Island. * I was there on Saturday and I'm totally impressed. It's a living history site that interprets daily life on the island at a mid-1800s farm - house, outbuildings, garden, activities, interpreters and animals and all. The tour is hands-on and quite interesting and the historic details are impeccable. * All the talk at the preview day on Saturday was how the cow, Roxanna, and the horse, Clancy, seem to be in love - or at least just really in like - as Roxanna did not want Clancy to leave her side to do his horse-and-buggy tours and trotted around after him like a colt as he worked. * It's open Monday through Friday. See www.theislandfarm.com for details...

While you're on the north end of Roanoke Island, head to the North Carolina Aquarium to see the new Shark Exhibit. * The number of sharks in the 285,000-gallon Graveyard of the Atlantic exhibit has been doubled. Plus there are shark games for kids and a bamboo shark to touch * Don't forget that the Aquarium has special programs almost daily. * Call (252) 473-3494...

Show some wild love for Alligator River NWR's red wolves on Wednesday at 7:30 in the first Red Wolf Howling Safari of the summer season. * Howling Safaris are held every Wednesday through September. * Call (252) 796-5600 to register...

Got some time on your hands? Pitch in at the Restoration Work Day to help Jockey's Ridge State Park plant native vegetation that will establish a natural marsh habitat and restore the shoreline. * Meet in the main parking lot at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 11 and wear closed-toed shoes and clothes that can get wet....

Children at Play - a children's museum in the works in Kitty Hawk - is holding its Family Fun Field Day Fund-Raiser at the Outer Banks Brewing Station on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. * Games, relays, face-painting, activities, music, exhibit previews - all for only $5 per child, but donations of more would surely be accepted. Rain date is June 26...

And now, a quick rundown of more highlights:

-- Not-to-be-missed art shows going on all month (or nearly so): Mark Peyton glass art at Roanoke Island Festival Park and Shirley Ruff's Ocracoke paintings at Dare County Arts Council Gallery in Manteo...

-- Saturday: U.S. Coast Guard Day at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum...

-- Saturday: "Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Life Savers" - the documentary film will run at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Roanoke Island Festival Park...

-- Saturday and Sunday: 28th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival on Jockey's Ridge. Kite flying, exhibitions, demos, children's games, etc...

-- Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Outer Banks Brewing Station on Thursday - a seven-piece jazz/funk/blues band from New Orleans...

-- Kelly Bell Band at the Port O'Call on Friday...

-- LOTS more entertainment listings in our By Night section...

And, finally, congratulations to the Corolla Wild Horses for being named the state's official horse. * Celebrate with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund at one of their weekly events - wooden horse painting on Tuesday and Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ...

There, I'm done. Not really, but I'll stop. * Keep looking around the site for many, many more things to do, places to eat and where to shop. * More businesses and attractions are coming on board every day...

And put your 2 cents in. If you'd like to contribute or add your voice to this blog, you can do that below. Keep in mind that the blog comments are moderated so that this site is only putting positive vibes into cyberspace...

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.