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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- $6.75 for ages 5-65
- $4.75 for children ages 1 to 4
- $5.75 for those over age 65
- $4.75 for teachers, police, firefighters, and EMT with ID
- Free for active military with ID
- Groups of 10 to 15 can take advantage of a special group rate
511 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC
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.