South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston: Hours, Address, South Carolina Aquarium Reviews: 4/5

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
Write a review
About
Discover the wonder of water, wildlife and wild places at the South Carolina Aquarium. Overlooking the Charleston Harbor, the Aquarium connects you with more than 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.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience South Carolina Aquarium and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
2,368 reviews
Excellent
1,053
Very good
784
Average
389
Poor
106
Terrible
36

Allison T in NC
Benson, NC39 contributions
Sep 2020
We visited the SC aquarium and loved it. It would be fun for visitors of any age.
Due to the coronavirus, the aquarium is selling tickets for entry at a specific date/time. We got our tix online in advance. We arrived 10 minutes prior to our assigned time and the staff was really friendly and helpful. Even with a holiday weekend, it was not crowded viewing any of the exhibits. There are many hand sanitizer stations available on both floors of the aquarium. We liked the gift shop. The snack bar was closed, probably due to the virus, but there are lots of options to eat in Charleston a short drive away. We would visit again.
Written September 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

William M
9 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
My wife and I came here while on vacation, everything about it was too notch!
The displays, the staff, great education especially for children. We loved seeing the sea turtle centre. If we lived here I’m sure we would visit several times a year. The price is reasonable, lots to see and do. You could easily spend 4-5 hours here. The parking lot is easy to get to and 18 dollars max per day and is close enough to walk over to the pineapple fountain and the city market.
It has great views of the harbour, I would definitely make this a must see!
Written May 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Megan S
Indiana58 contributions
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.

MeyganCox04
50 contributions
Apr 2021 • Couples
We paid almost the same to go to Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach and they are double the size of SC Aquarium. I did like the touch tanks and the bald Eagle. The snakes need more room. Three huge snakes in one enclosure is sad to see and I’m not even a snake fan. I was very disappointed in the otter enclosure. This aquarium needs to be expanded and add more animals. I can see it being an amazing aquarium. Definitely not worth the price for what it is now.
Written April 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Meygan, Thank you for taking the time to leave this review and for sharing your concerns. I can assure you that we have extremely knowledgeable and experienced biologists dedicated to providing the best welfare possible for all of our animals. We hear you that the price of admission feels high. The proceeds from admission go directly back to the care of our animals and all of the conservation work conducted by our team, including the Sea Turtle Care Center, the only rehab center for sea turtles in South Carolina. Thank you for supporting our education and conservation efforts through your visit.
Written April 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL7,647 contributions
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.
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.

JamieK042013
Amarillo, TX51 contributions
Dec 2021 • Family
In town for New Year’s and we debated about doing this because of the mixed reviews. Because it was at night and we didn’t have any other plans, we did this.

It was a bit pricey at $140 for 3 adult and 2 kid tickets.

The aquarium had some really neat and pretty Christmas lights. It was small but the good parts were really good.

The main tank was very impressive with a huge loggerhead turtle and a few sharks with lots of other fish.

We didn’t see the alligator and missed several exhibits simply because of the darkness for the aglow event.

The turtle hospital was also impressive. There were interactive kiosks where you could look up the current patients and see what happened and their treatment plans.

Interactive sting ray exhibit was a favorite of the kids.

Being at night, we couldn’t see the harbor views or outside environment.

Also very surprised to see a full bar open at a family-oriented event.

Overall, the kids enjoyed it, so that made it worth it.
Written December 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lost Traveler
Columbia, SC8 contributions
Jan 2022
Such a fun experience for our preschooler (and us grown ups, too)! The staff were knowledgeable and enjoyed answering our questions. One even pointed out dolphins swimming in the harbor. Very interactive. There were two touch tanks and the opportunity to pet an alligator. The sea turtle rehab exhibit was wonderful. We could watch the turtles up close and watch the zoologists care for them. My favorite: the river otters!

Regarding covid precautions: online reservations were required, but around lunch time, the aquarium felt too crowded. Staff did a great job wearing masks, and there were plenty of hand sanitizing stations.
Written January 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Polaroids & Drinkin Stories
United States1,392 contributions
Jun 2022 • Solo
Visited on a Thursday afternoon. Wasn’t very crowded. I parked in the nearby parking garage. It’s $1/half-hour. You have to buy your tickets online even though there are cashiers in booths to scan your entry. It’s easy though. They have signs with QR code up to take you right to purchase page. Staff are all very friendly and helpful. It’s kind of on the small side. Just two floors. Decent variety of fish. Lots of info and peeks behind the scenes. Nice views outside of the harbor. Again it’s on the small side so I was through seeing everything in an hour. I hate to say it’s overpriced cause I like to think some of the admission is going to conservation. So with that in mind I’m OK with the price. But $35/adult does seem a little high considering the size. But it’s enjoyable attraction none the less.
Written June 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Heather N
7 contributions
Jun 2021
We visited the aquarium on 6/19 and had an enjoyable time. It was not super crowded. We did purchase our tickets in advance as required which was no big deal to us. My kids are both teenagers and had a good time during our visit. It took us probably 1 to 1 1/2 hours to tour the whole aquarium. The aquarium is nice but small; however, we live near Baltimore and have been to the National Aquarium many times which is bigger with more exhibits so we compare everything to that. I'd say younger kids would really love this aquarium. We also opted to feed the stingrays which our kids loved! You don't get a huge amount of fish to feed the stingrays with but for $5 that was fine. The views of the harbor are amazing from the many decks of the aquarium as well. We would go back again.
Written June 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah R
19 contributions
Aug 2021
This aquarium was even cooler than I was hoping!

So many different animals, from fish to sharks to otters to snakes!

The staff was friendly and very helpful.

The tanks were incredible. My favorite was one almost 70 feet deep! The lighting was really cool as well.

Very educational. Lots of plaques and video screens showed off facts and information.

There's a sea turtle hospital room where you can see real turtle patients who are recovering. There are interactive "games" in this room as well. You can also see into turtle hospital display rooms and see the equipment (through a window.)

There are jungle-like, enclosed outdoor areas with animals on display.

There are touch tanks where we got to touch beautiful (small) sharks, sting rays, and horse shoe crabs.

We got to touch large sting rays in another area, and we even got to feed them! (For an additional $5 which we purchased when we bought our tickets at the front of the aquarium.)

We watched a diver event, where divers went into the large tank with the fish and spoke to us about the animals.

The aquarium is beautiful, fun, and educational. We spent about 3 hours, but we could have easily spent more, especially if we had taken time to read all the information in each exhibit.

The animals have lots of space, which was really nice to see.

The view from the aquarium is breath-taking. There are outdoor areas, where you can sit to get away from the noise (it was very quiet when we went though.) From there, you can look out onto the water and see boats.

The gift shop was a good size and had a great variety of things. My friend purchased a stuffed walrus keychain, and I got a wooden turtle ornament and a squid-themed chocolate bar.

There is also a nature trading area, where you can bring in nature items (ex: rocks, shells, shark teeth, etc.) and exchange them for points. You can use the points to get other nature items that other guests have brought in.

I would absolutely go here again. 100% recommend!
Written September 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to leave such a great review. We are happy to hear you had a great experience at the South Carolina Aquarium! AmyL - Sales and Services Manager
Written September 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 2,344
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking South Carolina Aquarium tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 3 South Carolina Aquarium tours on Tripadvisor