Team ECCO: Don’t Miss This Pint-Sized Powerhouse Aquarium in Hendersonville, NC

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Did you know Hendersonville, NC has an aquarium? Team ECCO Aquarium and Shark Lab is located right on Main Street in Downtown Hendersonville, NC. Squeezed in beside stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, Team ECCO ‘s footprint may be small, but the education squished between those walls is massive. The aquarium’s true charm is in interactive experiences led by its knowledgeable volunteers. Here’s a bit about our visit to Team ECCO, plus everything you need to know to plan your family’s visit.

Team Ecco Charlotte the sting ray, Hendersonville, NC

Take a Look Inside

Here’s a video tour of some of the amazing sea life and reptiles at Team Ecco.

Team ECCO: Small But Mighty

“Small but mighty” is a good way to describe Team ECCO. Don’t expect to be visually wowed when you enter the aquarium, especially if you’ve visited a much larger aquarium. You won’t find floor-to-ceiling aquarium tanks here, no fancy technology or huge atriums. But you don’t need it and you won’t miss it. I promise.

What you will find at Team ECCO is a variety of reptiles, fish, sharks, rays, and marine life accompanied by a knowledgable staff and group of volunteers waiting eagerly to share their knowledge and passion with visitors.

After our visit, my husband confessed he expected we’d only spend a few minutes walking around the aquarium when he first saw the space. We were both surprised at the amount of time we spent inside discovering all of Team ECCO’s treasures. We had to drag the kids out after about an hour and a half.

aquarium tank at Team ECCO in Hendersonville, NC

Animals to See at Team ECCO

Our favorite Axolotls

Do all kids love axolotls? I am potentially raising a future herpetologist. So, the official names of all kinds of scaly, amphibian, and reptile creatures are common vernacular in our home. But, the kids tell me the axolotl is popular because of its addition to Minecraft. So perhaps your Minecrafting kids also discuss these unique salamander-like creatures. My point? There are 3 axolotls at Team ECCO and they are super cute.

Checking out an axolotl at the aquarium in Hendersonville, NC


The first animals you see when you enter Team ECCO (in fact you can see them from the window on Main Street without even paying admission) are some tortoises. We enjoyed watching them eat and move around their enclosure.

The reptile section of the aquarium also houses some box turtles, a crested gecko, a leopard gecko, and an alligator gecko. These guys are fun to watch, but make sure to ask questions. They are really interesting creatures and the staff at the aquarium has a lot of knowledge to share.

crested gecko
Crested gecko

Reptile Interactions

In fact, the reptile section of the aquarium includes an interaction station. Staff members remove the lizards and turtles from their enclosures to feed them vitamins and give them any care they need, but also so visitors can pet the lizards and see them up close.

You’ll get to see how different these lizards are, despite looking similar. Everything from the texture of their skin to the shape of their feet is uniquely suited to each variety of lizard and their needs.

Live reptile interactions at Team ECCO

Marine Life at Team ECCO

The bulk of the aquarium is dedicated to fish, sharks, eels, rays, and other marine life. There are probably a dozen or so tanks to observe, but once again, you’ll get the most out of your visit by asking the volunteers about the creatures you see.

There were several staff and volunteers in the room when we were there, just walking by and pointing out different things to people viewing the sea life. It made the experience very interactive, educational, and truly engaged my kids. I think they would have happily stayed until closing.

The volunteers and interns at Team Ecco are students with an amazing opportunity. They learn about animal care and husbandry, maintenance of the equipment, public speaking skills, and so much more!

Touch Tank and Table

The marine life side of the aquarium also has a touch tank with starfish, crabs, sea urchins, and more. The tank area is manned by staff available to direct and answer questions. There is also a table set up in the middle of the space with shells and other non-living specimens that you can touch, pick up, and examine.

Who Will Enjoy Team ECCO?

  • Is Team ECCO good for little kids?
  • Will my pre-teen enjoy a visit to Team ECCO?
  • Is Team ECCO aquarium a good place to bring the grandparents?

YES! Anyone who enjoys watching interesting animals, reptiles, and marine life will enjoy Team ECCO. Relax on the bench in front of the large tank and just watch the fish swim by, or walk around and ask every question under the sun, or just listen as aquarium staff point out interesting tidbits about the animals and marine life. Just because the aquarium is small does not mean it’s only for young kids. Far from it!

Plan Your Visit

Team ECCO is only open to the public 3 days a week.


  • Thursday-Saturday: 1 pm to 4 pm
  • The aquarium is closed Sunday and Monday.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday are reserved for private programs by reservation including field trips.

Admission Cost:

  • $7.50 for ages 5-65
  • $5.25 for children ages 1 to 4
  • $6.50 for those over age 65
  • $6.50 for teachers, police, firefighters, and EMT with ID
  • Free for active military with ID
  • Groups of 8 to 12 can take advantage of a special group rate

511 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC

Team ECCO in the News! Can a stingray mate with a shark?

Team ECCO is getting national attention for their expecting stingray, Charlotte. This is rather mysterious because the aquarium does not have a male sting ray. How does this happen?

One possibility is a phenomenon called Parthenogenesis where the mother essentially clones herself. This is rare but possible with sharks and rays.

The other possibility is a cross-breeding between Charlotte and the juvenile male bamboo sharks in her tank. Bite marks typically seen in mating sharks were found on Charlotte. Answers will have to wait until the pups are born. She is expected to give birth any day and we will update when we know more!

Watch Charlotte in the video below:

More to Do in Hendersonville, NC

There are lots of fun things to do and great restaurants right near the aquarium in Hendersonville, NC. Don’t miss the Park at Flat Rock with its unique ropes course-like playground. For lots more, see our Guide to Hendersonville, NC.

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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