If you are looking for things to do in the Myrtle Beach area, you should certainly consider a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium. Myrtle Beach reviews of the aquarium say it is an excellent choice for a family-friendly outing. Plus, it is located at Broadway at the Beach, one of Myrtle Beach’s most visited attractions. This two-story attraction includes multiple touch tanks, a shark tunnel, and lots of fish, jellies, frogs, and more to watch and learn about. There has also been a recent expansion, with the Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach now having a penguin exhibit! Here’s what you need to know for your visit.
Thank you to Visit Myrtle Beach and Ripley’s Aquarium for hosting us for this review. To read all about our adventures at Myrtle Beach, see our Spring Break Itinerary for Myrtle Beach.
I’ve actually been to at least 5 other aquariums, two of which were outside the US. I was pleased to find that the Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach was very clean and brightly decorated, had several significant exhibits such as the shark tunnel and tank, and that the hands-on exhibits were all in working order. The aquarium is a smaller aquarium, but still has so much to explore!
Lower Level Exhibits at Ripley’s Aquarium: Myrtle Beach, SC
This tank is full of rays and sharks! The Ray Bay sting-ray exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has a full tank where you can watch divers swimming in the tank at showtimes, hand-feeding the rays. That part is pretty neat. The touch tank in the shallow area is one of my favorite exhibits at the aquarium. This large, shallow area allows you to touch the stingrays! You can run your hand along their back as they glide past you in the tanks, feeling their smooth skin. These stingrays are really large and it’s fascinating to watch them up close. This exhibit can get pretty crowded on super busy days, so keep that in mind if you’re wanting to get to the edge of the touch tank.
Dangerous Reef at Ripley’s Aquarium is one of the coolest exhibits they have. This extra large shark tunnel and tank has a number of fish that swim above and around you. It is amazing watching the sharks swim overhead in the shark tank. There are thousands of fish, which makes for a lot of awe while you travel down the tunnel on a convey belt glide path. This is where you will find most of the large fish, including large sharks, at Ripley’s Aquarium.
Rainbow Rock, aka the Indo-Pacific Coral Reef, is a super colorful exhibit of fish and animals. These fish are from the Indo-Pacific and include Clownfish, Blue Tang, Clown Trigger-fish, and Emperor Angelfish. The reef itself is pretty neat since most of us have never or may never see a reef up close in person. The exhibit is a great way to learn about their defense mechanisms and why they have such bright coloring.
My little kids absolutely loved this exhibit. The Living Gallery includes some of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures such as seahorses, jellies, and living coral. My favorite animal on the planet, the Octopus, can be found here. They also have some really cool sea dragons, which are relatives of seahorses, but look way cooler.
Upper-Level Exhibits at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, SC
I love the rainforest. The biodiversity is spectacular, and being able to see even a snippet of what lives there was really cool and fed my inner ecology nerd. The Rio Amazon exhibit at the Ripleys Aquarium has piranhas, colorful poisonous dart frogs, rainforest native fish, and more. They also have freshwater stingrays, which I honestly did not know existed until our visit.
If you’re wanting to learn even more about stingrays, you can head upstairs to the Friendship Flats exhibit, where you can touch stingrays as they glide by. You can also get an educational lesson on the rays, horseshoe crabs, and more from the Aquarium Educators. If you are super adventurous and willing to fork out the money, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach offers a Stingray Experience where you can swin alongside the rays.
This exhibit was pretty cool, not going to lie. The way the Planet Jellies exhibit is set up, you can watch several types of jellyfish swim through the color-changing displays. The way the lighting plays off of the jellyfish’s colors really adds to the experience, making it super fun to watch. There are moon jellies, Japanese Sea Nettles, and even unique-looking jellies like the Upside Down Jelly to watch. My 3-year-old was mesmerized by the jellies floating around the tanks, so we spent a good bit of time here in awe of them gliding through the water.
New Addition: Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse
Though we didn’t get to visit this particular exhibit during our visit, this recent expansion has people talking. Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach reviews sound amazing, so we had to mention it! With over 5500 square feet added on to the aquarium, the addition offers penguins, 8 new tanks with a worldly array of fish, classrooms, and more! One of the key features of the expansion is the penguin exhibit, with 21 penguins you can observe (and potentially interact with!). The Ripley’s Aquarium website has all of the penguins’ names and information, so you can learn about their personalities. The exhibit also has a 360-degree tunnel you can crawl through as penguins swim above you. There is even a penguin nursery! How adorable.
Other features at Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, SC
- There was a small playground and food court available. The playground was more suited for small children and provided a nice break.
- One of the exhibits Systems Control allows you to see the pipes, pumps, and filters behind the scenes that keep all the tanks running smoothly.
- You can pay an additional fee to ride the Glass Bottom Boat across a coral reef for a close look at the shark tank.
- The new penguin exhibit also has penguin encounters for a fee, where you can get up close and personal with those adorable little birds.
- If you are interested in the ecology of the aquarium, you can purchase tickets for the Marine Science Research Center Tour, where you will get a behind-the-scenes look at Ripley’s Aquarium.
- Be sure to check online before your visit to find out what shows are going on that day. You can even see a Mermaid show on some weekends.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach: Ticket Information
Ticket prices for the Ripley’s Aquarium are $24.99 for kids 3-11; $39.99 for 12 and older. Purchasing online also allows you to skip the long ticket booth lines. (Note: prices may change, please check the website for current deals).
You can also purchase Ripley’s bundle and save money if you want to also visit additional Ripley’s Attractions during your trip to Myrtle Beach. The aquarium also has online deals for tickets that include animal encounters, breakfast with mermaids, pancakes with penguins, and more!
About Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
1110 Celebrity Circle
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Have you ever been to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach? What did you think?
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