Beginning of main content

South Carolina Aquarium

See an array of aquatic creatures, including an albino alligator, in underwater habitats ranging from salt marshes to coastal plains.

The South Carolina Aquarium houses some 6,000 plants and animals. The 60 exhibits cover five major geographical areas in South Carolina. See ocean-dwelling marine life and water-based creatures that live in the mountains. There’s also the Madagascar Journey, where you’ll learn about this island’s species, 70 percent of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Alabaster the albino alligator dwells in the Blackwater Swamp part of the Coastal Plains exhibit. He has red eyes, almost translucent scales and is sensitive to light. The survival rate for albino alligators in the wild is a matter of hours, so Alabaster is a rare sight. The conservation of Alabaster and other endangered animals like him is one of the roles of the aquarium.

The sea turtle rescue program treats and rehabilitates sick and injured turtles found on the coast before returning them to the wild. Visit the aquarium’s sea turtle hospital to learn about different species of turtle and how they’re brought back to health.

Watch young otters at play in the Mountain Forest exhibit. The enclosures are designed to resemble habitats in the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. A forest display features a waterfall with a pool of local fish, such as trout. For a real treat, listen to the songs of the mountain birds in the aviary.

A 15,000-gallon (56,781-liter) tank in the Great Hall entrance exhibits colorful fish found on coral reefs off the coast of South Carolina.

At the Saltmarsh Aviary you can join the mid-morning feeding of Atlantic stingrays. Purchase a cup of their food from Gilligan’s Shrimp Shack just near the exhibit.

When your feet need a rest, take a seat in the 4-D immersion theater and enjoy a film; the tickets are additional to admission.

The South Carolina Aquarium lies at the end of Charleston Waterfront Park near downtown Charleston. It’s just over a mile’s walk from downtown to the aquarium or you can drive and park in the adjacent garage for a fee. The CARTA shuttle bus stops at the aquarium and other attractions around Charleston.

The aquarium is open daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and half the day on Christmas Eve.


Guide to Exploring around South Carolina Aquarium


Map

Lodging Near South Carolina Aquarium

See all 535 Hotels near South Carolina Aquarium
$179
King Charles Inn

King Charles Inn

237 Meeting Street, Charleston
4.4
of 5, from 940 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

King Charles Inn is across the street from the premium brand stores of Charleston Place and a 3-minute walk from Charleston City Market, a 200-year-old institution selling local produce. Guests can also stroll down Museum Mile to the Confederate Museum and the South Carolina Historical Society.

$209
The Francis Marion Hotel

The Francis Marion Hotel

387 King St, Charleston
4.1
of 5, from 993 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

The Francis Marion Hotel sits across from Marion Square in Charleston’s historic downtown. Guests are just a block away from the King Street shopping district with its boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants, and can reach Charleston Harbor on foot in 15 minutes.

$88
Days Inn Historic District

Days Inn Historic District

155 Meeting St, Charleston
3.4
of 5, from 851 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the center of Charleston's historical area, this hotel is across from the City Market, and 5 blocks from Waterfront Park.

$309
The Dewberry Charleston

The Dewberry Charleston

334 Meeting Street, Charleston
4.6
of 5, from 49 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Joseph Manigault House and College of Charleston. Charleston Museum and Second Presbyterian Church are also within 5 minutes.

$189
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

115 Meeting Street, Charleston
4.4
of 5, from 487 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this romantic hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gibbes Museum of Art and College of Charleston. Circular Congregational Church and St. Michael's Episcopal Church are also within 5 minutes.

$170
The Meeting Street Inn

The Meeting Street Inn

173 Meeting Street, Charleston
4.3
of 5, from 222 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Confederate Museum and College of Charleston. Charleston City Market and Circular Congregational Church are also within 5 minutes.

$165
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

560 King Street, Charleston
4.5
of 5, from 216 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Woolfe Street Playhouse and College of Charleston. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and PURE Theatre are also within 10 minutes.

$239
Market Pavilion Hotel

Market Pavilion Hotel

225 East Bay Street, Charleston
4.6
of 5, from 146 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Charleston hotel is located in the historical district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal and College of Charleston. Charleston Waterfront Park and Waterfront Park are also within 5 minutes.