South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium is located in Charleston, South Carolina and has been open since May of 2000 and is found on the Charleston Harbor. More than 10,000 animals call the Charleston Aquarium home, including pythons, alligators, hawks and more. The Charleston SC Aquarium is open from 9am until 6pm Monday through Friday and from noon until 6pm on Sundays between April and August. The rest of the year the South Carolina Museum closes an hour earlier, at 5pm.

The Charleston Aquarium covers more than 90,000 square feet and is where guests can see innumerable examples of local and more exotic sea life. The Charleston SC Aquarium features the Great Ocean Tank Exhibition, which is a two-story, 385,000 gallon tank holding a collection of more than 800 sharks, sting rays, sea turtles and other creatures. Although this is one of the most popular attractions at the South Carolina Aquarium, it is only one of the 60 exhibits featured here. All 60 of the exhibits are organized into 5 groups meant to represent the different regions of the Appalachian Watershed, which include the Coastal Plain, the Mountains, the Piedmont, the Coast and the Ocean.

While it is against South Carolina law to keep whales and dolphins in captivity, the South Carolina Aquarium"s Riverside Terrace allows visitors to view dolphins in the Charleston Harbor, home to a large population of dolphins. While there is no interaction, this view offers the chance to see dolphins in their natural habitat. After scoping out the dolphins, check out the Secrets of the Amazon, which replicates the experience of being in an Amazonian rainforest.

A ticket to the Charleston SC Aquarium will grant guests access to all of the aquarium’s exhibits, so visitors will not need to buy special tickets for any sections of the aquarium. Ticket prices are $17.95 for adults and $10.95 for children ages 3 through 12. Children age 2 and under can enter the aquarium for free. Tickets can be purchased only at the ticket office of the aquarium itself. Summer is by far the aquarium’s busiest season, so try to get there early in the morning if you want to avoid crowds. Visiting on a weekday is also a good way to avoid crowds during the summer.

Visitors to Charleston looking for places to stay will find some good options for Charleston hotels in the downtown area. The aquarium itself is located on its own wharf in Charleston Harbor. Some hotels are located near the water, so if being close to the aquarium is important for your trip you will not have trouble finding a place to stay. If you happen to be in Charleston during the months of May or June, be sure to check out the Spoleto Festival. The festival is the biggest arts and culture festival in the state and happens each year at theaters and music halls throughout Charleston.

Image: Charleston Area CVB

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