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Aquarium Is Washing Old Wishes To Pay Bills During Pandemic

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Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores turned off a 30-foot waterfall and collected all the coins visitors had thrown into the water while making wishes. After cleaning them off, they'll put the money toward the aquarium's expenses.
Liz Baird, Courtesy of NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores turned off a 30-foot waterfall and collected all the coins visitors had thrown into the water while making wishes. After cleaning them off, they'll put the money toward the aquarium's expenses.

For many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has created a coin shortage. All the sheltering at home put a crimp in the normal circulation of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, and now some retailers are asking customers to pay with exact change.

But a lack of coins is no problem at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

The aquarium — which is soon to enter its sixth month of mandated closure, thanks to the coronavirus — has come up with a pandemic project that can pass the time and help pay the bills.

They've drained a large waterfall at the facility and dredged up all the coins thrown in by wishful visitors.

"About 100 gallons of coins were cleaned and sorted and will go toward the general care of the aquarium and animals during this time," the aquarium said in a Facebook post last week.

It asked commenters to guess how much money 100 gallons of coins adds up to, and will reveal the answer this week.

While it's closed to visitors, the aquarium has been offering virtual events, behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters. And, of course, the normal work of maintaining the facilities and caring for the animals continues.

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