The REEF is CLOSED for renovations and will reopen in 2020!

The REEF at FSU is one of the few places in Central North Carolina to experience a coral reef, and interact with reef organisms. Along with providing community education programs, we use the facility as a training ground for teachers, provide research opportunities to undergraduates, and introduce K-12 students to how a degree in STEM disciplines can lead to a stable career. We hope that young visitors to our facility will pursue degrees and strengthen the local community, becoming our future scientists, teachers, nurses and physicians. The new 1400 sqft. facility is home to two large reef aquariums (300 and 180 gallons) where visitors learn how a coral reef grows, identify some of the reef organisms, handle coral skeletons, and hear about how corals are being studied for their use in medicine. Our 120 gallon "touch tank" offers the optional opportunity to hold and touch brittle stars, sea urchins, and several species of crabs.

Anjel Castro - early college graduate and biology major.

I am a volunteer at the REEF. During my time here I have improved my public speaking skills, learned about the upkeep of marine life, and gained experience in animal research and behavior. I enjoy volunteering here because it gives me a chance to learn things about aquatic animals and research, which I am then able to share with the community during our shows for the public. This gives me a chance to spark an interest of biology and the STEM field to future generations.

Recent Activities at the REEF

  • Early college students Anjel Castro and Jordan Oneil completed their summer internships.
  • WiFi controlled LED lighting was installed to prepare for coral growth experiments.
  •  In 2017, we had 2106 visitors to tour the REEF.
  • 21 new fish were quarantined, acclimated, and stocked into our 300 gallon and 180 gallon aquariums.
  • Over 500 invertebrates were added.
  • 15 new species of stony and soft corals were added to our tanks.
  • Our new refrigerated lobster tank has arrived! 

Become a Friend of The REEF today and support our research, education and enrichment. Whether you can contribute at the Zooplankton or Giant Squid level, you are important to the vitality of the REEF and we thank you.

How to volunteer

If you would like to volunteer, stop in to room 105 of the Lyons Science Building of call 910 672 2103 and speak with Dr. Salek. Our volunteers care for the animals and run education programs for the public.

Visiting hours

The REEF is open to the public by reservation.  The REEF is open to the university community 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Tuesday and Thursday. Visiting hours change each semester.

Animals at The REEF

The REEF is home to many different types of animals. Some of these include:

FISH -Powder blue, Yellow, and Kole tangs. Kaudern's and Pajama cardinalfish. Firefish, hawkfish, sixlined wrasse, black sailfin blenny, royal gramma, diamond watchman goby, bicolor blenny.

CORALS- Hammer, Montipora, Acropora, Galexia, Xenia, button polyps, Kenya tree, colt coral, candy cane.

INVERTEBRATES- Chocolate chip sea star, brittlestars, Pencil and Common urchins, hermit crabs, Snails, Lobster and many more.

Artwork at The REEF

Our "REEF" themed decorations add life to our shows.


Do you have a shark? You have to visit to find out!

Is there any age limitation? We accept visitors of all ages including handicapped and special needs visitors.

How long are the shows? Our shows are about 45 minutes.

What is the cost? Admission is free!