Living on the East Coast has its advantages. The South Carolina Aquarium located in Charleston, SC is one of them.
This quickly became our 3-year-old’s favorite place this summer. (So much so that we’ve been there SEVERAL times in the last few months!)
Every time I post details of our visit on Instagram I have followers inquire about it, so I figured I’d share more about the location, policies, to do’s and more in this blog post.
How much does it cost?
- Adults (13 years and up): $29.95
- Children (3-12 years): $22.95
- Toddlers (under 3): Free
We always buy our tickets online! Way more convenient upon arrival.
Is it open on the weekend? YES! The Aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving when they have limited hours. Is there dedicated parking? Although the aquarium is near downtown, the aquarium actually has its own parking garage right across the street. Very convenient and super affordable!
Do they require mask wearing? As of the date I’m writing this (August 13, 2021) they are following CDC guidelines and encouraging mask wearing, but not requiring it. All staff does still wear a mask. Our personal experience with this there has honestly been great. Although the exhibits can be busy, it is still a spacious enough building that you can social distance. At this point, I am fairly certain they are still currently operating at a limited capacity every day in order to maintain proper social distancing for all guests and staff.
How long does it take to get through everything?
Our visits have ranged in length from 60 minutes to 2 hours (the first visit was definitely the longest due to Charli being OBSESSED with every. single. creature.).
Are you able to bring stroller, diaper bag, backpacks, etc. in to the aquarium?
YES, thank goodness! Charleston, SC is HOT majority of the year, but majority of exhibits are indoors where it’s cool. I highly recommend bringing a stroller for little ones, if able and willing. They have elevators that you can use if you bring a stroller.
They allow bags to be brought indoors. They also allow snacks and personal water bottles indoors, too!
I saw your post that they do not have dolphins, manatees or whales. Why?
From their website: “As a result of the Marine Resources Act of 2000, which was adopted by the state of South Carolina, marine mammals cannot be used “for any exploratory, experimental, scientific, educational, or commercial display purposes,” thus making it against the law in our state to have them on exhibit. South Carolina and North Carolina are the only states in the country that do not allow marine mammals to be displayed in their aquariums.”
WHAT EXHIBITS DO THEY HAVE?
There are so many to keep every age entertained! See the full list here: EXHIBIT LIST.
Some of Charli’s favorites are:
- “Kids Coast” – Learn nature-based concepts through play and guided discovery
- “Touch Tank” where littles can actually touch the following: Hermit crabs, whelk, sea urchins, horseshoe crabs and Atlantic stingrays
- “The Shallows” – Observe and pet cownose stingrays
- “Carolina Seas” – 15,000-gallon Carolina Seas tank that houses a collection of colorful fish found around reef habitats off the coast