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South Carolina Aquarium: Visitor’s Guide, Tips & More

The South Carolina Aquarium is located in Charleston, South Carolina, and is one of the best aquariums in the United States. Opened in May 2020, the aquarium has grown manifold over time.

Today, it has over ten thousand plants and sea animals, including the great blue herons, jellyfish, green moray eels, sea stars and more. It also features one of the deepest tanks in North America, the Great Ocean Tank which is 42 feet deep.

Besides life-size exhibits with a sea of aquatic life living in them, the aquarium also has many shows and events planned throughout the year that make it a special place to visit. Many people plan their weddings in the unique settings of the aquarium.

Besides this, the aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that undertakes many research projects and offers internships and volunteer programs for those interested in marine life.

It serves as a great learning platform for children through education programs and for adults through internships.

The aquarium is also present on all social media platforms such as Carolina Aquarium LinkedIn which gives a detailed profile of the aquarium and introduces its crucial personnel such as the Carolina Aquarium board of directors.

You can look out for South Carolina Aquarium jobs here. Also, it has a particular Carolina Aquarium Twitter account where people can post their comments about the aquarium and hold exciting discussions.

So let’s find out all about South Carolina Aquarium’s history and the treasure trove of aquatic life it has.


An aquarium is not only a place to spend an afternoon of fun and frolic looking at sea animals. It is also a learning hub for children and adults alike.

It emphasizes marine life conservation through education and research and some extraordinary visitor experience through unique exhibits and shows.

Here are some of the reasons why a trip to the aquarium is a must:


You can avail yourself of many discounts for South Carolina Aquarium tickets. For instance, all South Carolina certified K-12 teachers get a South Carolina Aquarium teacher discount of free admission and also a $25 deduction in a regular membership.

The discount tickets for South Carolina Aquarium are available at the entry gate of the aquarium.


Many vendors offer coupons to South Carolina Aquarium as package deals where you get discounted tickets and entry to specific shows and exhibits for free. For instance, South Carolina Aquarium Groupon has many packages for users wanting to explore the aquarium.

These coupons for South Carolina Aquarium come in handy when you are going in large groups. You can use the South Carolina Aquarium promo code to avail of these discounts or give the South Carolina Aquarium coupon code number at the front desk.

Special Events

The aquarium gives you a peek into the lives of over 7,000 animals and provides hands-on experience with deadly sea creatures through the touch tanks, hosts special events like weddings and corporate gatherings, and organizes school educational tours too.

You can get authentic South Carolina Aquarium reviews on all these events from happy visitors on the website and around the web too.

Exciting YouTube Videos

You can get some great videos on special events or even the animals’ exhibits on Carolina Aquarium YouTube channel. So get ready for a preview of what is in store for you.

Ticket Prices

Aquarium offers affordable prices with many discounts and packages. For a regular entry, an adult over 13 years has to pay $29.95, a child between 3-12 years has to pay $22.95, while for a toddler till two years of age, the entry is free. Besides this, there are special prices for members, military personnel and teachers.

Also, there are some South Carolina Aquarium free days; you can find out about them from customer service. Otherwise,

South Carolina Aquarium tickets are available online, and make payment through the digital medium. It works out best in times of COVID- 19. You can check for any changes in South Carolina Aquarium admission from the official website.


Becoming a member has a whole lot of advantages for you. As a member, you enjoy unlimited visits to the aquarium along with exclusive invitations for programs and shows all through the year.

The South Carolina Aquarium membership discount has got different categories. For instance, the family plus is available at $239, including 1-2 adults, all children, grandchildren under 18 years and two guests each day.

For one adult, the South Carolina Aquarium annual pass is $89. You can get the latest information on this from the official website. As a member, you also enjoy the South Carolina Aquarium aaa discount for just $5 a month.

The South Carolina Aquarium military discount is available for active, retired and veteran personnel. You can avail of a $3 off on these discount tickets to South Carolina Aquarium at the entry gate of the aquarium by showing a valid photo identity proof.

There is a military discount of $25 on memberships too. You can get the latest details on it from the official website.

Events at the South Carolina Aquarium

There are many annual and one-time events that the Aquarium hosts. These make a visit to the aquarium all the more special. You can read about the reviews of South Carolina Aquarium events online on TripAdvisor and other recommended sites.


Find real mermaids in the massive Great Ocean Tank as World-Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids perform an elegant dance.

You can get pictures clicked with them for memories and also enjoy an all-American meal. The event is priced at $40 per person, with children below the age of 2 years getting free entry.

Shark Week

Shark Week is a delightful experience. The event spans over a week, where you can visit the deadly sharks in the aquarium.

During this event, you are also invited to take part in a shark-themed South Carolina Aquarium scavenger hunt and get educated about sharks. Make this a part of your South Carolina Aquarium pictures diary. You will surely remember it all your life.

Homeschool Program

In this unique program, thematic activities are created for homeschooling adults and children in grades K-12. There are classroom lessons, animal enrichments, a scavenger hunt, and learning stations spread across the aquarium in every session.

Diver Volunteers

There are special diver volunteers at the South Carolina Aquarium who help with the diving activities at the aquarium, including tank cleaning, feeding, and more.

Also, suppose you are a visitor and a certified diver. In that case, you can enjoy an exhilarating experience as you go in for a South Carolina Aquarium dive with the sharks at the aquarium. There are special dive shows planned at some of the exhibits for all those who want to see this unique underwater adventure sport.

Turtle Hospital Tour

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Loggerhead Turtle © South Carolina Aquarium

All seven species of sea turtles are endangered, and at the aquarium, these threatened turtles are looked after and nursed to health.

The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center, in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), helps in this endeavor. You can watch this awe-inspiring process of rescue, rehabilitation and South Carolina Aquarium turtle release on a special tour.


Make a splash at your wedding, celebrating it at the aquarium. With room for guests between 50-500, this venue is one of the unique ways to celebrate the most important days of your life. There is a dedicated team to help plan the entire event- catering, logistics, dance and more.

You can choose to make it exciting with an interactive animal encounter or with a diver sharing a personalized message from inside a tank and have beautiful South Carolina Aquarium wedding pictures that will etch in your memory forever. To find out about the South Carolina Aquarium wedding cost, you can call the aquarium front desk.

New Years’ Eve

Please bring in the new year in a unique manner with the enchanting and alluring sea animals ushering it in with you. The aquarium arranges for a particular ball on new year’s eve with the exhibits and tanks as a backdrop and a D.J. playing foot-tapping music with a tank full of fish and turtles as a back wall.


There is something truly magnificent about the ocean and its creatures. It is the allure of the unknown and the myriad shapes, sizes and colors that meander through the aquatic blue.

The same is the attraction with South Carolina Aquarium animals. There are over 5,000 animals featured through 12 beautiful displays.

As you enter the aquarium, you are welcomed by a 15,000-gallon Carolina Seas tank with some exotic fish found off the coast of Carolina. You can see the playful South Carolina Aquarium dolphins,

the aloof stingrays and sharks and the endangered sea turtles all living in perfect harmony.

Here is a list of some of the popular exhibits at the aquarium:


Be amazed by the variety of sea animals that live underwater, including sea horses, stingrays and flounders.

Coastal Plain

See the rare American alligators, rattlesnakes and gopher tortoise at the Coast Plain exhibit. These fascinating reptiles live in absolute harmony with each other in their natural habitat.

It was also home to the extremely rare South Carolina Aquarium Albino Alligator, who died in July 2019 after a prolonged illness.

Mountain Forest

South Carolina Aquarium Charleston SC illustrates a great variety of sea animals, birds and plants, all surviving in their natural habitat.

At the Mountain Forest, you can learn fascinating facts about the diverse habitats found in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the South Carolina Aquarium Eagle, Liberty, lives. You will also see the two aquatic acrobats, Ace and Stono, the South Carolina Aquarium otters, all set for a match of water polo.

Touch Tank and Shallows

One of the most popular exhibits at the aquarium, the touch tank, allows visitors to touch the sea animals like hermit crabs, sea urchins, whelk, and stingrays and learn about them in detail. You can feed them between 10:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. The South Carolina Aquarium octopus is one of the favorites here.

Piedmont Exhibit

Kestrel Piedmont Exhibit
Kestrel at Piedmont Exhibit © South Carolina Aquarium

Learn all about the critters in the woods and rivers of South Carolina here. You also learn about prehistoric mammals like the saber-toothed tiger and the ground sloth.

Great Ocean Tank

It is the largest exhibit in the aquarium extends from the first floor to the third floor, with 700 animals in it. It is also the most bottomless tank in the U.S., with a depth of 42 feet and over 385,000 US gallons of water.

Saltmarsh Aviary

Enjoy the great view of Charleston harbor as you visit the Saltmarsh Aviary exhibit with gulls, pelicans, burrfish and diamondback terrapins and many more. This 2,500-square-foot exhibit gives the feel of kayaking through the salt marsh tidal creek.

Virtual Tour

There is an option of a virtual tour for all those who cannot make it to the aquarium. It takes you through all the must-see exhibits in the aquarium including, the sea turtle care center, incredible ocean voyage and more.

Each trip lasted for 30 minutes and was priced at $150. You can customize the program as well to fit your requirements.

There is also an option of a South Carolina Aquarium live stream, where you can see the activities taking place in the various exhibits in real time. You can find out updated details on the official website.

South Carolina Aquarium Gift Shop

South Carolina Aquarium has a beautiful gift shop where you can buy gifts for your loved ones and also pick up souvenirs as a remembrance.

The gifts range from sea animal print t-shirts, mobile covers, greeting cards, shower curtains, and many more accessories. You can also take pictures of the South Carolina Aquarium and get them framed as a memory.

Important Information


The aquarium is ideal for tourists as it is centrally located, and many buses and shuttle services are taking you to the venue.

South Carolina Aquarium’s address is 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401, United States.

Operating Hours

The aquarium is open on all days between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. It shut on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. The customer service center is also available daily between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


You can drive down to the venue or take a bus. You can either take the I-26 East, Highway North, or Highway 17 South.

Detailed driving directions are present on the website. There are trolley services to the venue too.

If you fly into the city, the Charleston Airport is just a 15-minute drive from the South Carolina Airport. There are buses, shuttles and taxi services available for the same. The bus would take more than 30 minutes to reach the venue.

You can check out the South Carolina Aquarium map available on the official website or call up South Carolina Aquarium phone number – (843) 577-FISH (3474) and Toll-Free: (800) 722-6455.


South Carolina Aquarium parking is easy to find. There is ample space at the South Carolina Aquarium parking garage. The entrance to which is on Calhoun Street between Washington and Concord Streets.

There are parking slots for larger vehicles on the first floor, and for smaller cars, there is ground-level parking. You can also find metered parking on Concord Street and Washington Street.

Careers and Internships

There are ample job opportunities at the aquarium, both part-time and full-time. For instance, at present, they are looking for an Environmental Service Associate, part-time and an Operations Associate (Security) full-time.

The primary aim is to have genuine care and concern for conserving marine life. You can get the latest updates on all the job offerings from the official website.

Besides regular jobs, students can apply for Aquarium internships. These programs offer practical learning and give the students a chance to get hands-on experience.

As a student, you can work for short durations at the aquarium and learn a lot about marine life and its conservation.

Many South Carolina Aquarium volunteer programs are planned every year. Keep yourself updated through the official website. If you have the time and interest in marine life, you can also volunteer at South Carolina Aquarium.

At present, they have more than 350 volunteers who are over 18 years and are part of the Anchor Volunteer Program. However, you should be ready to commit to a year’s worth of volunteer work. Click here to know more.

Touch Tank Exhibit
Touch Tank Exhibit © South Carolina Aquarium

Hotels Nearby

If you visit the city, especially to see the aquarium, it is best to look out for hotels near South Carolina Aquarium Charleston Harbor.

There are options for all kinds of budgets – be it ultra-luxury, mid-range, or budget hotels. The main thing is that they are located within walking distance of the aquarium.

Here is a list of some well-reputed and competitively-priced hotels. Please note that the prices are tentative and are subject to change.

The Spectator Hotel

It is centrally located and offers a great ambiance and comfortable accommodation—a traditional double queen room priced at $400 per night.

Hotel Bella Grace

Conveniently located less than one km from South Carolina Aquarium Columbia SC, Hotel Bella Grace is one of the best choices for mid-range hotels. Priced tentatively at $ 250 per night, the hotel offers all the facilities and amenities and great food options.

Francis Marion Inn

This budget hotel is located less than 1 km from South Carolina Aquarium Downtown Charleston in the historic district and offers all the modern conveniences. It is priced at about $130 per night.

Andrew Pickney Inn

Located in the heart of the historic district, Andrew Pickney Inn is a budget hotel that provides all the basic amenities and is located less than a kilometer from South Carolina Aquarium S.C. It is tentatively priced at $120 per night.

Days Inn by Wyndham Charleston Historic District

A beautifully designed hotel, the Days Inn by Wyndham Charleston Historic District, has retained the charm of the historic district. Priced at approximately $90 per night, this hotel makes for an excellent choice if you are on a tight budget.

*Note – The hotel tariffs listed above are tentative. These prices are subject to change.

Restaurants Nearby

There is a lot of choice for food around the aquarium. From having a quick snacky meal to a luxury fine dining experience, you can get it all at South Carolina Aquarium restaurants.

Some of the popular restaurants that offer great options for breakfast, dinner and lunch near the aquarium are:

  • Shi Ki, known for its Sushi
  • Ted’s Butcherblock famous for its Roast Beef Panini
  • Easy Bay Deli for delicious on-the-go sandwiches
  • Saffron Cake & Bakery is an excellent place for breakfast
  • Uncork & Unwind offers a great meal with some delicious cocktails

Other Attractions in the Vicinity

Charleston is a beautiful place steeped in history, culture and wildlife. A weekend trip to this iconic city is a must to be able to soak in the place in its entirety. Besides visiting the beautiful aquarium, there are a lot of exciting places to visit.

  1. Irish Memorial
  2. Gadsdenboro Park
  3. The Charleston Museum
  4. Charleston City Market
  5. Charleston Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker
  6. Charleston Harbor Tours
  7. Aiken-Rhett House Museum
  8. South Carolina Ripley’s aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium vs Georgia Aquarium

Both these aquariums are the top favorites amongst people. They rank high in terms of the variety of sea animals and plants exhibited and the conservation drive that they promote.

Georgia Aquarium is much larger and was established many decades before the aquarium. Thus, it has a broader reach.

However, if you are a marine life enthusiast and have the luxury of time, a visit to both aquariums is recommended. You will be able to see the myriad aquatic creatures that thrive so beautifully in their natural habitat.

Other Nearby Aquariums You Might Like to Visit


No visit to South Carolina is complete without a trip to the epic South Carolina Aquarium. The aquarium serves as a learning center for children and adults, similar to hundreds of sea animals and plants.

It is the best aquarium near South Carolina that introduces you to exotic species of marine creatures and gets you up close and personal with many of them. You can spend an afternoon of fun and learn here.

For those who want to take this up as a profession, there are many jobs and internships updated on the website.

Conservation and learning through preservation are the aquarium’s main aims, and it executes them beautifully through various events spread across the entire year.

Have an experience of a lifetime at South Carolina Aquarium Charleston, South Carolina; you will surely remember it all your life!