One of my kids’ favorite activities at North Carolina’s Outer Banks cost just $10. We signed our kids up for a Beach Exploration class at Jennette’s Pier in Nag’s Head. This brand new pier just opened in 2011, offering many programs and opportunities year round.
Jennette’s Pier offers a public beach access with parking and bathhouse, a 1,000-foot long fishing platform, 16,000-square foot pier house with exhibits, cafe, and gift shop and many educational opportunities for all ages. Whether a resident of Nags Head or a visitor, you won’t want to miss visiting Jennette’s Pier.
Outer Banks Beach Explorations Class at Jennette’s Pier Review
My kids are nature lovers. They love the beach but we don’t know a lot about what actually lives on the beach. The Beach Exploration Class at Jennette’s Pier was the perfect opportunity to learn about what is crawling and swimming around with us on the beach this week.
The Outer Banks Beach Explorations Class at Jennette’s Pier is intended for kids ages 6 and up, however the parents had just as much fun. The class started out inside with a powerpoint show with photos of what we would be looking for on the beach. The instructor was giddy and very engaging with the kids. Her name was Lydia Courtright and just moved to NC from Ohio, Peninsula, Ohio! What a small world! She made learning fun for the kids in the classroom and on the beach.[slickr-flickr tag=jennettespierclassroom]
Then, we headed to the beach. Our group of 15 kids were split up into 3 groups. Each group searched for different ocean life with various nets, then we switched groups.
Elizabeth joined right in, at age 4. I saw another younger sibling there too. They didn’t seem to mind at all and let the smaller kids join in.
The first activity was to cast a bag into the ocean to gather water and anything tiny enough to get through the screen. This activity was to catch plankton, which we all now know that basically everything in the ocean eats. The kids got to squeeze out the excess water and then dump the remaining into a bucket to be later examined under a microscope in the lab.[slickr-flickr tag=jennettespieractivity1]
The second activity was to catch larger creatures with a giant net. This net took two people to hold and pull across the waves that were coming in. Bigger kids could handle this fairly well but the dads couldn’t resist pitching in to
help have fun too. It was a riot watching the men! They weren’t catching anything. Meanwhile, my little nature boy caught a silver fish with his bare hands as it washed up on a wave. Boy was he proud of himself!
Matt helped Elijah as well, it was a fun bonding time for sure. They mostly caught sand fleas.[slickr-flickr tag=jennettespieractivity2]
The last activity allowed kids to use nets of all sizes to wade in and capture whatever they could. Again, mostly sand fleas and seed weed. Elizabeth especially enjoyed this activity. Now, this is all we do at the beach, use the nets to catch our sea life.[slickr-flickr tag=jennettespieractivity3]
After the hands-on activities on the beach, about 1-1/2 hours, we returned to the lab to examine our findings. Kids enjoyed this as well as coloring pictures of Sponge Bob Square Pants, how appropriate.
Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Jennette’s Pier Review
Even if you don’t take a class, it is worth it to stop by Jennette’s Pier. The pier is beautiful and pristine as it just opened earlier this year. My kids were in awe at watching person after person reeling in fish. There are even fish cleaning stations throughout the pier with running water. This must be the place to fish in Nags Head, NC because the entire time we were walking the pier, people were catching fish. There were some serious fishermen there with coolers for their catch, and others just there for sport fishing. The view on the pier is amazing of the beach and ocean. You can even us the free telescopes to get an up close look.
Inside, you will find a well stocked gift shop with gifts, nature items, books, toys, and cold drinks. Or stop by their cafe for a snack. The building also has several exhibits to learn about Nags Head and the pier.
Jennette’s Pier Family Friendly Activities and Programs
There is a program or activity for every age at Jennette’s Pier. If visiting the Outer Banks, you must add this to your iternary. This is an educational, affordable fun activity in NC’s Outer Banks. Below is a list of programs to choose from.
- Daily Guided Pier Tours: Mondays thru Fridays at 9 a.m. Cost: $3 per person
- Beach Explorations: 2 Hour class to discover beach animals in the surf and on the sand. Mondays & Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Ages 6 a& up Cost: $10
- The Wonders of Wind: Explore the power of wind for energy and impact on the shores. Fridays 1 to 3 p.m. Cost: $8
- Plankton Investigations: Using scientific instruments, discover the world of these microscopic organisms. Mondays and Wednesdays 1 to 3 p.m. Ages: 8 and up Cost: $10
- Kids Fishing: Learn basic skills to catch a fish and what you can expect to catch at the pier. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 to 11 a.m. Ages: 8 and up Cost: $10
- Family Fishing: Families of all ages can learn basic fishing skills. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9 to 11 a.m. Cost: $10 per person ($5 age 5 and under)
- Marine Crafts, Story Time and Puppet Tales: Arts and crafts, kid’s stories and to learn about animals in the marine ecosystem. Tuesday and Thursday 10 to 11 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m.; Saturday 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost: $3 per child
- Little Anglers: Basics of fishing. Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:10 to 12 p.m.; Saturdays 10 to 11 p.m. Ages 3-8 Cost: $5 per person
There are many more programs available for adults and families. Visit their website for the latest schedule.
Visit Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC
You can visit Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC for a simple $2 donation for a walk on visit. Even if you don’t participate in a class, you gotta stop at the Pier. There is so much to see and do.[slickr-flickr tag=jennettespier]
Hours of Operation:
April, May, October, November 6 a.m.-midnight
December-March 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
7223 South Virginia Dare Trail (16.5 milepost)
Nags Head, NC
This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Jennette’s Pier who provided the class for review.