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Aquarium Is Washing Old Wishes To Pay Bills During Pandemic

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 because of 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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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.