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Visit the South Carolina Aquarium

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In this post, we share everything you need to know about visiting the South Carolina Aquarium. A popular attraction amongst both locals and visitors, the South Carolina Aquarium is a great place to visit any time of year. 

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.

If you're traveling as a family, read our post Charleston on a Budget for money-saving tips. 

Getting There

The South Carolina Aquarium is located in Downtown Charleston on the Harbor at 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401. Check out the South Carolina Aquarium website for more details.

By car: If traveling by car, you can either take I-26 East, Highway 17 North (West Ashley), or Highway 17 South. 

There is a city parking garage at 24 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401. Metered parking is located along Washington Street and Concord Street.

By CARTA DASH Trolley: Take Route 210 (Orange) and get off at the South Carolina Aquarium stop. This service is completely free to use and operates every day other than Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. 

Read our post on the CARTA DASH trolley to learn more.  

Visit the South Carolina Aquarium

Hours & Tickets


  • Adults - $34.95 
  • Children - $27.95 

Hours: The aquarium is open for entry 9am-4pm daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day!

If you want to avoid the crowds, try visiting on the weekdays or before 11am or after 2pm. 


Extending out on to the harbor, the aquarium has over 60 exhibits to learn about aquatic life from otters to turtles and of course, sharks! It's an interactive experience where you can even reach in and touch the sea life. 

Touch Tank - Get hands-on during your visit at the Touch Tank, which features a variety of species of invertebrates, like hermit crabs, whelk, sea urchins, horseshoe crabs, and Atlantic stingrays.

Great Ocean Tank - This two-story, 385,000-gallon tank is the flagstone of the aquarium. Come face to face with sharks and say hello to the 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta. There are divers that put on daily dive shows with the animals. 

Sea Turtle Hospital - Still want more? South Carolina's only Sea Turtle Hospital is located at the aquarium.


Reviews for the South Carolina Aquarium are generally very positive. It maintains a 4-star rating on TripAdvisor and is especially popular with families.

Though some found that the smaller size of the aquarium was disappointing and not worth the entrance fee, most were more than satisfied with their experience.

As one of reviewer points out, part of the fee goes toward the full-service turtle hospital which is a unique feature of this aquarium. 

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About The Author

Scott Nelson

Scott has led over 2,000 tours of Charleston and has more than 1000 5 star reviews. He started working in museums at the age of 16 (Unsinkable Molly Brown House) and hasn't looked back. He was the Executive Director of Heurich House and on the historic interpretation/ education staff at Mount Vernon, both in Washington DC, for over 6 years. Scott moved to Charleston in 2012 for a job with the Historic Charleston Foundation and began leading tours for Free Tours by Foot.
Updated: June 16th, 2022
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