South Carolina Aquarium
The awe-inspiring South Carolina Aquarium is home to over 5,000 animals and countless conservation efforts.
South Carolina Aquarium
5 min drive
16 mins walk
With over 5,000 animals on both the land and the sea, South Carolina Aquarium is almost overflowing with wildlife. Its exhibits are awe-inspiring and rooted in conservation efforts, making for a truly motivating visitor experience.
This non-profit aquarium is located in historic Charleston, right on the harbor. From its prime location, guests can see both sea animals and iconic Charleston landmarks such as the USS Yorktown and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. In 2019, the South Carolina Aquarium was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the country’s highest honor for museums. The aquarium focuses on species native to South Carolina, which makes its exhibits a unique regional experience.
Its exhibits range from fauna of the mountain to the ocean: Mountain Forest is home to a bald eagle, countless freshwater fish, and a couple river otters; Piedmont houses bass and other fish native to the foothills; Coastal Plain shows off the alligators and tortoises of coastal Carolina’s swamps. The aquarium also utilizes the outdoors, with exhibits like Saltmarsh Aviary. The Aviary, overlooking the harbor, is home to birds like pelicans and gulls, as well as saltmarsh fish such as terrapins. Other notable wildlife in the South Carolina Aquarium include Caretta, a 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle, huge grouper Mel, and many more.
The aquarium also offers many interactive, kid-friendly opportunities to learn about sea creatures. At The Shallows, visitors can pet and even feed cownose stingrays, for only $5. The aquarium’s Touch Tank houses invertebrates like sea urchins and crabs, which can be touched by guests. There’s also Kids Coast, where children can get a hands-on feel for running the aquarium, with replica water filtration systems and more.
South Carolina Aquarium is also home to many education, rehabilitation, and research conservation efforts. Its Sea Turtle Care Center helps sick and injured sea turtles, which are an endangered population. Staff veterinarians treat and rehabilitate the sea turtles before releasing them back into the wild. The care center also offers Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery, which allows guests to witness sea turtles' rehabilitation and learn about the treatment process.
Other conservation efforts include its dedication to reducing plastic pollution and its assistance with conservation projects in the field. Their Good Catch program promotes the consumption of responsibly harvested seafood within local restaurants and fisheries, which is essential to maintaining the ocean's health. The aquarium also empowers ‘citizen scientists’, helping regular people collaborate with professionals in order to collect and analyze data on important environmental issues like rising sea levels and pollution.
Discover thousands of wildlife species, witness sea turtle recovery, and aid in conservation efforts with a visit to the South Carolina Aquarium. Its interactive exhibits and land-to-ocean focus create an engaging experience for all guests. Tickets start at $34.95 for adults and $27.95 for children under 12.