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“Nothing for the $” 2 of 5 stars
Review of South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium
1216 King St., Charleston, SC 29401
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South Carolina Aquarium Admission
Ranked #28 of 96 Attractions in Charleston
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Owner description: Fun, wonder and education come together at the South Carolina Aquarium. An intimate family-fun adventure, see a rare albino American alligator; get hands-on at the Touch Tank, marvel at the sharks in the Great Ocean Tank, come face-to-face with rays in the Stingray Encounter, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital. Don’t miss our interactive dive shows and animal programs offered daily!
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Columbus, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Nothing for the $”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2011

Shark week? Really? We come from Columbus, OH where the Aquarium is a blast! I would never pay $20 a person for what seems like 2000 sqft of "attractions". What a waste of $60. I think we were there for less then an hour.

Visited August 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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715 reviews from our community

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Baltimore, MD
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Don't forget the Sea Turtle Hospital”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2011

Their albino alligator is clearly one of their highlights at the aquarium and we spent some time in front of his display. He’s pretty impressive. This is not a huge aquarium, but it’s a decent aquarium. There’s an outdoor swamp area with a lots of diamond back turtles. That area especially could have used some more interpretive services, signage and education. My favorite part was an additional tour of the Sea Turtle Rescue hospital. We got to see their current patients including green, loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. This is an extra expense, but it goes to the Sea Turtle Rescue. And I love turtles.
There's also a nice little outdoor area on the water. Good views. The Sea Turtle Cafe is very limited. Bring your own food and go somewhere else.

Visited August 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Not so great”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2011

We have traveled to many cities and every time we visit a new place, we visit the aquarium that is nearby. So, while we were visiting Edisto Island (an hour south of Charleston) we took our children to the SC Aquarium. It was shark week, so we were excited to see the "shark" fun. Upon arrival, we loved where the aquarium was located and there was a giant shark inflatable on the front so we thought it was going to be a great shark experience. When getting our tickets, we learned there was no Veterans discount what so ever, like all the others have. This immediately upset me because I am an avid Veterans advocate...but we paid the fifty some odd dollars for my husband, myself, and our six year old. We went in, strolled through a few little rooms filled with average looking fish, nothing major. Saw a few exhibits with skunks, owls, and moved on to the sharks. There were only two in a tank that we could barely see and one of them looked as if its back was broken, very odd. We wandered upstairs through a few more minor exhibits and was wound through an area that took us back downstairs. We thought there was more to the aquarium, so we looked around, and decided to ask an attendant if we missed something??? He said nope, thats it! WOW! It only took us 30 minutes to go through and that was at a slow pace! The gift shop is like all others, but very pricey. We were not thrilled with this aquarium and will not visit again. It is nowhere near the quality of the Ripley's Aquariums in Myrtle Beach or Gatlinburg, nor the others we have seen in Boston, Colorado, and SD.

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SCAquarium, Public Relations Manager at South Carolina Aquarium, responded to this review, August 16, 2011
Hi Huntersmama,
Thank you for sharing your concerns with your recent visit to the South Carolina Aquarium. Our staff works hard to ensure all our guests have a great visit, so we take all feedback very seriously.

In regards to your review, I would like to clarify: our Great Ocean Tank is actually home to 9 sharks: 2 sandtiger sharks, 1 blacktip shark, 5 brown sharks, and 1 nurse shark. We encourage all guests to enjoy this tank from all windows as different windows offer different views of the tank, some providing a better view of a specific species over another. Also, I would like to share details about the shark with the curved back. This particular sandtiger shark has scoliosis (a condition where the spine is curved), which also can occur in humans. This particular shark is one of many sharks, from Aquariums across the country, currently a part of a study to better understand shark spinal development. This study is intended to help us better understand the health of shark populations.

Additionally, yes, we do not currently offer a veterans discount. We do at this time though offer an active duty military discount for military ID holders and their dependents.

Thank you again for your thoughts and we hope you will consider a visit with us again in the future.

Elizabeth Bender
Marketing Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Very nice aquarium, pricey for a big family...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

I was actually surprised at how much my 5, 8, 10 and 12 year olds enjoyed the aquarium. In the days of Spongebob and iPods, I expected them to be underwhelmed, but I was wrong.

The aquarium was not very large, but was perfect size to spend a few hours. It is also right next to the Fort Sumter museum, which was fun to see as well. The best part was the live scuba show in their main tank - it was entertaining and educational. While we were there it was also "Shark Week", which was a great attraction, although I'm not sure they did anything different except highlight their existing sharks.

We also paid $3 extra each (with our family membership, see below) to see the 4-D movie. They had a Dora the Explorer adventure and one by Planet Earth. We saw Dora, it lasted about 10-15 minutes. I was underwhelmed (not a big fan of 3D let alone 4D), but the kids, even the bigger ones LOVED IT!

It would have cost us $140 for our family of 6 to visit for the hour or so we were at the aquarium - yikes! I happened to ask how much a family membership was ($100), which I was surprised the staff didn't volunteer that information. With the family membership we also got a free parking voucher and 10% off gift shop purchases.

So I highly recommend the SC aquarium, especially if you are local and can go back with a family membership and enjoy the different exhibits throughtout the year.

Visited August 2011
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Columbia, South Carolina
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Not worth the price”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

We made a special trip to see the aquarium with our 5 year old grandson. It was very pricey ($62.00 for 1 adult, 1 senior and a child; including an adult and child ticket to the 4-D theater) It took us less than 1 hour to go through the entire complex including the show. It was very crowded and difficult for our grandson to see the exhibits. The flow of the exhibits was confusing and the small spaces were crowded. No penguins; only one large sea tank with a few sharks; but lots of freshwater fish which we can see at Riverbanks Zoo for 1/4 of the price with more bang for your buck. We were expecting so much more...

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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