South Carolina Aquarium Charleston, SC

When visiting Charleston, South Carolina, be sure to visit the South Carolina Aquarium! The aquarium is a fantastic place for members of the entire family to discover the natural wonders of South Carolina’s habitats, from the Atlantic coastal waters to the inland mountains and forests.

The aquarium boasts plants and animals that are native to all of South Carolina’s natural environments and not just those that you’d find in a fish tank! River otters, American bald eagles, and Venus flytraps are just some of the creatures that you’ll see without fins or flippers.

Visitors to the aquarium will enjoy learning about the mountain forests of South Carolina, entering an area that has been designed to transport you to the stunning views of the mountainous regions of the state. You’ll find waterfalls, a spring, and dozens of furry, scaled, and feathery friends awaiting in this portion of the aquarium. In the Piedmont exhibit, guests will learn more about the foothills and the freshwater fish that call the region home. Freshwater tanks highlight bass, crappies, and other fishing favorites.

Have you ever wondered what it felt like to be in a Carolina swamp at dusk? When you visit the coastal plain region, you will learn about how hurricanes impact the environment and look into the eyes of a gator or two! You’ll also come face to face with a rattlesnake and learn more about the exotic plants that call this region home.

No trip to an aquarium is complete without the touch tank experience! The South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston gives its visitors a chance to get up close and personal with some pretty amazing critters! The touch tanks include animals such as hermit crabs, whelk, sea urchins, and Atlantic stingrays! Aquarium staff are available for educational opportunities and question and answer sessions in this portion of the aquarium, too!

South Carolina is known for its beautiful coasts and tropical weather. Check out the Ocean and Carolina Seas exhibits for incredible views of towering 15,000-gallon tanks right as you enter, as well as the 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank. This astounding view is two-stories tall! Inside you’ll find the famous 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle, lovingly named Caretta. You can also check out daily dive shows hosted by the aquarium staff.

Speaking of sea turtles, the South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston is more than just an aquarium. It is also home to the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery, a real-life animal hospital and rehabilitation center that is focused on sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation, and release. Guests will be able to see this process happening in real-time, learning more about what it takes to save a turtle and successfully bring it back out into its natural habitat in the wild.

Families will also be excited to see much familiar fish, plants, and animals in the exhibits of the South Carolina Aquarium. There is a specific exhibit that focuses on the natural habitats found in the backyards across the great state of South Carolina. This area doubles as an educational experience, giving families ideas on how to create a thriving habitat for native birds, butterflies, and the friendly (and helpful!) butterflies at your own home.

After visiting the aquarium, guests can spend time in the gift shop where they can bring home a purchase that will not only help them remember their trip through the habitats of South Carolina but also help fund and maintain the conservation efforts that the aquarium supports. Visitors can also learn more about the Adopt an Animal program, where you can “adopt” an animal at the aquarium through a sponsorship program.

If you or someone you know is a certified teacher of grades K-12 in South Carolina, they can receive free admission to the aquarium and a $25 discount on a regular member of their choice. Tickets for educators should be reserved prior to planning your trip. Membership levels range from a yearly cost of $89 all the way up to a family member with special invitations to events just for that tier of membership at around $300 a year. Memberships include unlimited admission for a certain number of members (based on membership level) and include a discount at the gift shop, snack bar, and on the souvenir photos available for purchase.

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