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This Aquarium Fished Out Wishing Coins to Pay the Bills While Closed During the Pandemic

Now they have to clean and sort close to 400kg of coins.
13 August 2020, 9:56am
For illustrative purposes only. Photo: Michael Longmire on Unsplash

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the world economy, leaving companies bankrupt and increasing unemployment rates around the world. While people and businesses struggle to survive the pandemic, one aquarium is taking old wishing coins to help care for their animals.

Before the coronavirus, visitors of the North Carolina at Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium would make a wish and toss coins into the establishment’s waterfall. Now closed for five months due to the pandemic, the aquarium decided to clean out the waterfall to collect all the coins that had been in there for as long as 14 years.

According to the North Carolina Aquariums website, its Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium has been temporarily closed to the public since March 17. Only essential staff are on-site to “care for thousands of animals in aquarium care.”

On Aug. 9, the North Carolina at Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium Facebook page posted photos of their staff collecting the coins, which ended up weighing about 100 gallons (378.5kg).

“Our staff turned off the 30-foot tall Smoky Mountain waterfall and collected all the coins! 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 post received over 1,900 reactions, 2,200 comments, and 980 shares as of press time. In the post, the aquarium also asked followers to guess how much money was in the waterfall, with people commenting their predictions.

A few days later, the aquarium said in another post that cleaning and counting the coins was taking longer than expected.

“We've sent a portion of them to the automated coin counter at a local bank. It took about four hours to get through nine crates of coins! So stay tuned! We'll post the total amount next week.”

North Carolina is currently at “Phase 2” of social distancing measures, which has been extended until at least Sept. 11. North Carolina Aquariums wrote on their website that their locations could reopen to welcome guests if the state moves to a less strict Phase 3, however, the dates are still unclear.

As of press time, there have been 139,413 COVID-19 cases and 2,277 deaths in North Carolina, and over 5 million cases and over 160,000 deaths in the United States.