South Carolina Aquarium
South Carolina Aquarium
4
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Discover the wonder of water, wildlife and wild places at the South Carolina Aquarium. Overlooking the Charleston Harbor, the Aquarium connects you with nearly 5,000 amazing animals and learn how you can protect them. Come face-to-face with sick and injured sea turtles in rehabilitation in our Sea Turtle Care Center ™ and follow their journeys from rescue to rehab to release. Visit our two touch tanks for a hands-on experience with stingrays, sharks, horseshoe crabs, sea stars and urchins. Learn fascinating details about the natural world at daily dive shows and animal encounters.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • Presley H
    Johnson City, Tennessee5 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    It was okay.
    It was very interactive, great for kids. I loved the otters and the sea turtles. I only saw 1 shark and 1 large sea turtle in the giant tank. I liked the sea turtle rehab center as it showed before and after pictures. The snack shack is very limited and overpriced. The gift shop is outrageous on pricing but that is to be expected. There is a variety of animals, not just fish. It is on the waterway so you have the opportunity to see dolphins. Overall, it was okay. If you have small children I would recommend. Otherwise, I was more impressed with Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 10, 2023
  • mom4mke
    97 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Love this aquarium!
    We visit this aquarium every time we visit the Charleston area. Great aquarium that showcases sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation. We pay a little extra to feed the sting rays which our family really enjoys. We have been able to see wild dolphins swimming outside of the aquarium which was an unexpected bonus. Garage parking is available a block or so from the aquarium. Would be nice if the cafe in the aquarium would open but that's about the only down side.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 4, 2023
  • Cosmopolitan719583
    Bowling Green, Kentucky12 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    It’s just ok
    It’s an aquarium yes, 2 floors. For the price i expected more. This was a place that is very interactive for children which is great, however the cost may prevent families from choosing to visit. The pictures were nice again very costly ($40). and of course there is the gift shop at the end. Parking garage is close by can be costly based on how long you stay. Meter parking on street is available as well. Handicap parking is available on the upper levels and elevators are close by. You can walk out on the observation deck and sit if you would like. Views are very nice.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 11, 2023
  • KAG313
    Boston, Massachusetts12 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very nice
    My 9 year old son and I really enjoyed this Aquarium! We spent a few hours here. It was on the smaller side. Very clean, nice gift shop. We got hot dogs from the little cafe and ate outside by the stingray tank with a beautiful view of the harbor and bridge. Adult admission was $37.50, child (3-12) $30 and then $5 to "feed the rays." We would definitely go back...very fun time! It's right on the harbor, so you can jump on the water taxi and go over to the USS Yorktown or The Pier where The Vendue Fountain and Pineapple Fountain are.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 23, 2023
  • Richard C
    780 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Expensive, but well done
    The South Carolina Aquarium is in Liberty Square. Entrance might require that you mortgage your house, but, then again, I did not purchase the tix in advance so I left myself in for a shock. Once inside, you'll see a variety of sea creatures, fresh water creatures, slithering creatures, and a rather sad but majestic bald eagle. Everyone I spoke to was friendly and knowledgeable, so, ultimately, I felt I had contributed to the salaries of some bright, outgoing recent college grads who are trying to survive in Charleston.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 7, 2023
  • Karson
    Clemson, South Carolina1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing Service and Accommodations
    I can't say enough positive things about my recent experience at the South Carolina Aquarium. From start to finish, every aspect exceeded my expectations in cleanliness. The quality of the cleaning was simply outstanding. The bathrooms were some of the cleanest I have ever visited. I ran into Loretta during my time and she was delightful, a true example of southern hospitality and warmth. She went above and beyond to accommodate me and my situation and I am truly touched at the service received. The level of care and dedication exhibited by Loretta was astounding. It was evident that she took pride in her work and was committed to delivering exceptional results. She approached her tasks with precision and efficiency, yet never once did I feel rushed. She was thorough in her work, ensuring that every nook and cranny was given the attention it deserved. Overall, I couldn't be more impressed with the level of service I received. My experience really exceeded all expectations.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written January 31, 2024
  • Liz M
    Silver Spring, Maryland74 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    They have the cutest animals!
    They have the cutest animals! Wonderful aquarium with great programs and animals. Loved feeding and petting the rays and the horseshoe crabs. The variety of birds were a nice bonus. I would highly recommend visiting this aquarium
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written February 12, 2024
  • Alexandra
    United States169 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Nice Indoor Activity in Charleston
    It was a rainy day in Charleston and my mom and I were looking for something to do indoors. We discovered Charleston was home to the South Carolina Aquarium and decided to spend a couple of hours there. It’s such a very facility and we really loved the sea turtle rehabilitation center! We also really enjoyed the touch tank for the sting rays -- they are so social and love to be touched! However, the cost for tickets is a bit on the pricer side considering the size of the aquarium, and they don’t offer discounts for seniors which was a little disappointing. I suppose it does all go to a good cause, but did wish there were additional exhibits to justify the cost.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written March 7, 2024
  • IllinoisMrsZ
    322 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice Aquarium and Presentations!
    We four ladies in our 60's decided to visit the aquarium because of the turtle hospital. Thought the price was bit steep for only 2 floors of animal displays, but it was a nice variety of the different habitats in SC. We did make sure to hit 3 of the presentations: Feeding at the touch tank(very interesting to see the horseshoe crab eat!), Dive into the G.O.T.(a bit hokey, more for kids), and the Turtle Talk( the reason for our visit and very informative). There was an area for hands on things for children to do. Enjoyed seeing the bald eagle that put on quite a noisy display(wish I had gotten it on video as it was interesting to hear its sound). Very nice gift shop with lots to entice parents to buy something for the kids. The small area with food/snack offerings smelled wonderful when walking by. Loved its setting by the harbor. Convenient parking garage across street. Worth the visit!
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled with friends
    Written March 27, 2024
  • Jason & Bill
    Kings Mountain, North Carolina21 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    You’ll be sorry if you don’t go!
    Excellent visit! Went behind the scenes with one of the staff and was so interesting. Very clean and easy to maneuver. Very educational and entertaining. Our experience with Anna was amazing! She is so dedicated to her work and the animals. She provided us with a behind the scenes tour and informed us of so much stuff.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 23, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles2,441 reviews
Excellent
1,085
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802
Average
401
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38

Jen F
Baltimore, MD97 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Other reviews mention that the aquarium is small. I didn't really think it was too small. We spent a few hours visiting and it was a highlight of our trip. Our group was two adults and a toddler. Our little one loved the tanks with all the fish. I liked that the aquarium was not very crowded. This may have been because February is off season and we visited from 10:30 - 1:00 on a Sunday. I have been to other aquariums that are so crowded that it is hard to walk around are really enjoy the exhibits. We were able to take our time and have unobstructed views of the big tanks.

We paid $5 to get a small bowl of fish to feed the manta rays. It was really cool to feel them suck the food out of my hand and to pet them.

We also went to the turtle talk about rehabilitating the sea turtles. The staff bring their animal ambassadors out for visitors to see up close. We pet a snake and a tiny diamond turtle. They also had an owl out and they were going to be feeding the bald eagle, but we didn't stay for that.

Also to note they don't have lockers, but we were able to keep our stroller with us the whole time.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Miranda C
Chapel Hill, NC57 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
Cool aquarium, expensive and smaller than expected! We went to every exhibit and even let our rowdy toddler play in the toddler zone for 20 minutes and we finished in under 2 hours. We also went during a time where it was Buy 1 adult ticket, get 1 free! It cost us 30$ to get in (it’s free for those under 3). I would be angry if we had paid 60$ to get in. The turtle sanctuary was the coolest part about the whole experience. There’s also a pretty impressive salt water tank, it was probably one of the bigger ones I’ve seen! However everything else was ordinary. You could pay 5$ to feed the stingrays, but they were sold out for the day and we had only arrived 1.5-2 hours after opening so that was a bummer.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashlyn P
Milwaukee, WI18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
We went to the aquarium on a Saturday afternoon. Definitely buy tickets online in advance as they only allow a certain number of people in at each time slot. People were being turned away when we showed up. The aquarium was very clean, people were respectful of social distancing. It's smaller than other aquariums I've been to but a highlight was the turtle rehab hospital that is unique to the South Carolina Aquarium.
Written September 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

shirl1221
Bluffton, SC3 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
We had heard how great the aquarium was so we decided to visit it yesterday while visiting Charleston. We both were very disappointed. Nothing special. We had heard that there was a fantastic turtle presence. Not at all. We were lucky to see 5 turtles. The one big tank had many fish ibut not anything extraordinary. For &29.95 per adult we felt it was overpriced.
Written October 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi shirl1221! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review about your visit. I'm sorry to hear that you felt the price was high. As a non-profit organization, the cost of admission goes directly back to the care of our animals, including our world-class Sea Turtle Care Center. The number of patients in the hospital depends on how many sick and injured sea turtles we have admitted and it looks like you may have visited right after we were fortunate to release 4 healthy turtles back to the wild! Thank you for supporting our rehab efforts and education programs by visiting.
Written October 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

theRobertL76
Greenfield, IN80 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
The South Carolina Aquarium is a moderately sized facility with a large capacity for learning. The exhibits offer a glimpse of South Carolina's place in both the fresh and salt water world. Many of the displays show creatures that are native to the state and its waterways. Highlights include an American Bald Eagle, touch tanks, and the very large ocean aquarium that was so large the building was built around it. Be sure to see the Loggerhead turtle in this display.
However, the best feature may have been the volunteers and staff members that were available throughout the aquarium. All were extremely helpful and patient, quite willing to answer questions. As a bonus, if you are fortunate, you might see cavorting dolphins in the river as you enter the aquarium. As you might expect, there is a large gift shop should you need to bring home souvenirs of your trip.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

C P M
241 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
This is a good place to take the kids but it can be very expensive. It is not a larhge operation but has many exhibits. The main tank is 2 story and well populated, You cna buy year round ticked, expensive, but worth it if you are taking kids several times.
Written March 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,228 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
We're native Chicagoans so we are spoiled by the Shedd Aquarium, the city's most popular cultural attraction. But Charleston, South Carolina, can justly be proud of the South Carolina Aquarium, which features the deepest tank in North America. Located at 100 Aquarium Wharf, the aquarium juts out 200 feet into Charleston Harbor. Opened in 2000, the 93,000-square-foot building is home to more than 10,000 plants and animals, including sharks, alligators, pythons, loggerhead sea turtles, North American river otters, great blue herons, owls, seahorses, jellyfish, pufferfish, green moray eels, penguins, skunks, snakes, a bald eagle, horseshoe crabs, Atlantic stingrays and sea stars. The largest exhibit in the complex, which includes nine galleries and more than 100 exhibits, is the Great Ocean Tank, which extends from the first to the third floor of the aquarium and is the deepest tank in North America. It is 42 feet deep, holds more than 385,000 gallons of water and contains more than 700 animals. Other interesting displays are the Touch Tank, where visitors can touch horseshoe crabs, Atlantic stingrays, even small sharks, and the Sea Turtle Care Center, a hospital where injured or sick or stranded sea turtles are nurtured back to health. For many, this is the highlight of the visit. For others, watching scuba divers feed stingrays and talk about the animals is worth the price of admission.
Written September 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Taylor B, Thank you for taking time to leave such a detailed review. We are happy to hear that you had a great experience and we hope to sea you again soon! Amy L - Sales and Services Manager
Written September 21, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Christen A
Albemarle, NC243 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021 • Solo
Upon arriving, the view of the Charleston Harbor is beautiful. I brought my dad to have a little peace and quiet after the hustle and bustle of hospital life. They have done great at implementing covid measures. There were plenty of hand sanitizing stations set up. We were able to leisurely stroll around without it being too crowded so visiting during the week was an excellent choice.
We really enjoyed seeing the Loggerhead Turtle exhibit.
Overall it was very informative and educational.
Written February 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MischiefManager713
San Antonio, TX40 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
Bought our tickets online. They do make you choose a 30 minute window for admission so keep that in mind (they won't let you in before or after this time slot). We went on a Wednesday during the 10-10:30am window. They take your picture just as you enter with the option of purchasing it inside. There were a lot of children there on field trips that day so it was busy, but once inside it didn't feel too crowded. The balconies outside were fun to see Patriot's Point in the distance and we even saw dolphins swimming nearby! Our favorite part was seeing the turtles in the turtle hospital. They had screens near each tank so you could read each turtle's story about why they were there and how they were recovering. The large tank in the center that is 2 floors tall was so cool to see! Sign said it was the deepest tank in North America. We could have sat there forever just watching! They also had a wonderful touch tank where you could touch star fish and Chain Catsharks! The retail store had lots of cute souvenirs to purchase. Aquarium was on the smaller side and didn't take us long to get through, but it was really well put together, lots of great interactive touches for adults and children and of course with lots of amazing animals. We will definitely be back again to visit especially to see the River Otter exhibit which was closed while we were there.
Written April 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Megan S
Indiana86 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021 • Family
The aquarium was very clean, and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The sting ray show with the scuba diver was interesting and entertaining. The penguins were very interactive, and our children enjoyed the penguin play exhibit. The shark tunnel was very neat to see. Overall, we found the aquarium more spread out with fewer exhibits than we expected for the price.
Written December 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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