Ocean Center Ecology Park, home of Discover Hatteras and part of the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, is located on the sound side of Highway 12. This is just northeast of central Hatteras Village, about 3 miles from Frisco and 1.8 miles from the Hatteras ferry terminal. Look for the big yellow building at Mile Marker 71!
Hatteras Island Ocean Center
57204 NC Highway 12
Hatteras, NC 27943
At the Ocean Center you will learn about Hatteras Island inside our interactive museum and experience nature firsthand outside.
Touch, see, hear, and smell. You never know what kind of critters you’ll see in our Outdoor Ecology Park and marsh walk located behind the main building. Either in the water, on land, hiding in the trees and grasses, or flying nearby, you are sure to see some of the many species that call the wetlands their home. The view at the end of our elevated walkway is gorgeous and one that surprises many visitors.
Launch your kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, or other non-motorized watercraft at our easy public put-in into this coastal wetlands and you will only be a short paddle away from Sandy Bay and The Slash.
You can also go crabbing right off of our dock and catch blue crabs!
Discover Hatteras programs cover everything from kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to understanding the wetlands and its wildlife.
At the Ocean Center you will discover Hatteras Island in a way many visitors never see. You’ll have a whole new reason to visit Hatteras Island!
Easy Public Paddlesports Access
Visitors may feel free to launch their personal or rental kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, or other non-motorized watercraft at our public, easy access put-in. While the access is free for public use, donations are always greatly appreciated.
Experience the fun and wonder of catching blue crabs. All it takes is something smelly for bait (chicken wings work well), a piece of string, and a net.
Marsh Walk & Nature Trail
Experience coastal wetlands and forest up close and personal. Our two trails are very short and easy to walk, but they pack a lot of action. You never know what kind of critters you’ll see in the water, on land, hiding in the trees and grasses, or flying by. The view at the end of our elevated walkway is gorgeous and one that surprises many visitors.
Touchscreen displays and traditional exhibits that help you explore the ecology and history of Hatteras Island and its surroundings. Indoor/outdoor 15 minute programs run on a flexible schedule during the regular season that all visitors are sure to love and learn from!
See satellite exhibits from local & regional museums such as the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and other non-profit groups such as the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, Watermen United, Day at the Docks, Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Hatteras Island Genealogical and Preservation Society, Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation, Coastal Voices, and others. If you are traveling the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, we can help you to find your points of interest along the way.
Drinks and Gift Shop
In our main building we offer refreshing drinks for those hot and sunny beach days! Stop by before and after your activities to get your fill. We also showcase a handful of local books and DVDs. All proceeds help support the Ocean Center.
We also sell 4Ocean Bracelets! For every bracelet sold, 1 pound of trash is removed from the ocean.