This is a guest post by Nikki of Reef’d Up Aquatics.
As a native to South Carolina, U.S., I was quite pleased to learn the South Carolina Aquarium made 10Best.com’s 2012 Top 10 Aquariums list (albeit #10). The location couldn’t be better as it is situated in downtown historic Charleston on the water. The aquarium’s exhibits are centered on S.C.’s natural flora and fauna and are organized by geographical location.
The first exhibit is the “Mountain Forest” where inhabitants of the Blue Ridge Mountains are housed in rocky gorges, winding streams, and underneath waterfalls. Native birds keep a mindful eye over the river otters playing nonstop in the stream.
The “Piedmont Gallery” (for non-natives, this is the foothills area) focuses on South Carolina’s infamous fly-fishing areas (particularly Lake Jocassee, Lake Hartwell, and Lake Keowee).
Rich in unusual species, such as an albino alligator, the “Coastal Plain” offers a unique experience not typically found in public aquaria. Carnivorous plants hide frogs while rattlesnakes bask in the light. Black Cypress trees felled in Hurricane Hugo were recycled as natural decorations.
Nearing the coast, the “Saltmarsh Aviary” is home to blue crabs, stingrays, and various native birds. Adventurous visitors can feed the stingrays sustainably-harvested shrimp.
The “Coast” gives visitors a chance to view the S.C. Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital dedicated to saving this endangered species. So far this year they have taken in an additional seven sea turtles. Other inhabitants are seahorses, flounder, and an octopus.
No aquarium would be complete without an “Ocean” section, and the S.C. Aquarium doesn’t disappoint. The “Great Ocean” tank is 385,000 gallons and is home to sharks, healthy sea turtles, and large fish. Smaller tanks house lobsters, reef fish, and delicate species.
In conclusion, the South Carolina Aquarium offers a unique glimpse into the wildlife of South Carolina with a focus on underwater organisms. Now more photos!