This is not your ordinary aquarium, especially one with a three-story, 385,000 gallon tank. Touted as North America’s deepest tank—42 feet—the Great Ocean Tank exhibits over 700 animals. Opened in 2000 overlooking the historic Charleston Harbor, the South Carolina Aquarium offers more than an impressive tank. It is home to more than ten thousand plants and animals in numerous special exhibits featuring land and aquatic wildlife. From the Great Ocean Tank to the Saltmarsh Aviary, you’ll get up close and personal with countless cunning critters.
Ace and Stono, the aquarium’s resident otters welcome you at the Mountain Forest exhibit; sand fiddler crabs pick up partners in the Saltmarsh exhibit; goliath grouper Mel swims his nearly 800-pound body in Coast; tiger sharks hiding in the sand (did you know they’ve been around 150 million years!?) Feed cow nose stingrays and horseshoe crabs in the touch tank at The Shallows or experience real-life turtle rehabilitation at the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery. Queen, the loggerhead sea turtle rescued off Kiawah Island in 2020 is recovering nicely from debilitated turtle syndrome. There’s more to do than most day-trips can cover!
Check out the live cam and see what you can spy.
Operating as a nonprofit organization, the aquarium supports state and national conservation efforts beyond exhibiting and caring for wildlife. It provides extensive educational programs and conducts valuable research—such as population assessment surveys and critical habitat restorations.
Field trips, holiday gatherings, fundraisers, weddings, and corporate events can also be hosted. With a beautiful indoor or outdoor venue space in front of the Great Ocean Tank, or a panoramic view overlooking the Charleston harbor, an event at the aquarium is sure to make waves. Dedicated events staff help create a personalized event with amazing photo opportunities, catering stations, bar service, and more.
Support from guests, members, foundations, and generous donors allows the aquarium to continue its conservation mission. During Covid-19, online reservations are required with limited capacity and timed entry.