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South Carolina Aquarium
Vacation Travel Guide

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.

Top things to do in South Carolina Aquarium

Top Hotels Close to South Carolina Aquarium

Emeline
Emeline
4 out of 5
181 Church St, Charleston, SC
The price is $229 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 14

Located in Charleston Historic District, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Charleston Legends and Lore Ghost Theater and Charleston City Market. Port of ...

5/5Exceptional! (98 reviews)

"Everything about this place was top notch! The service, location, amenities. . you name it!"…"

Reviewed on Dec 1, 2020

Emeline
The Francis Marion Hotel
The Francis Marion Hotel
4 out of 5
387 King St, Charleston, SC
The price is $95 per night from Jan 4 to Jan 5

Located in Charleston Historic District, this spa hotel is steps from Marion Square and College of Charleston. Charleston Music Hall and Charleston Museum are ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,444 reviews)

"Perfect location in the middle of King Street. Easy walking to all restaurants and entertainment. Short walk to the pier and water front..."…"

Reviewed on Nov 30, 2020

The Francis Marion Hotel
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
3.5 out of 5
560 King Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $98 per night from Dec 21 to Dec 22

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of PURE Theatre and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Medical University ...

4.4/5Excellent! (940 reviews)

"Parking fees should be included in price Very costly In garage!"…"

Reviewed on Dec 1, 2020

Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top South Carolina Aquarium Flight + Hotel Deals

Emeline
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charleston N./Ashley Phosphate
Charleston Marriott
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Best Lodging Options Near South Carolina Aquarium

Emeline
Emeline
4 out of 5
181 Church St, Charleston, SC
The price is $229 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 14
Emeline
The Francis Marion Hotel
The Francis Marion Hotel
4 out of 5
387 King St, Charleston, SC
The price is $95 per night from Jan 4 to Jan 5
The Francis Marion Hotel
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
3.5 out of 5
560 King Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $98 per night from Dec 21 to Dec 22
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
4 out of 5
115 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $152 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown
Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown
3.5 out of 5
425 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $83 per night from Dec 8 to Dec 9
Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown
Belmond Charleston Place
Belmond Charleston Place
5 out of 5
205 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $270 per night from Dec 7 to Dec 8
Belmond Charleston Place
The Vendue
The Vendue
4 out of 5
19 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC
The price is $161 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
The Vendue
Days Inn by Wyndham Charleston Historic District
Days Inn by Wyndham Charleston Historic District
2 out of 5
155 Meeting St, Charleston, SC
The price is $76 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 14
Days Inn by Wyndham Charleston Historic District
Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel
Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel
4 out of 5
68 Wentworth Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $149 per night from Dec 14 to Dec 15
Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.