Thank you to Ripley's Aquarium for providing us with complimentary admission in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.
Our family loves Myrtle Beach. Every year after Christmas, we take a family trip to the North Myrtle/Myrtle Beach, SC area. While we're visitng for the week, we love to check out some of the local attractions. One of our favorite places to spend the day is at Broadway at the Beach, which just so happens to be the location for Ripley's Aquarium. We decided to go to the aquarium on one of the rainy days during the week. It's the perfect way to spend part of the day when you don't really want to be walking around outside, and are looking for something fun and educational for the kids.
3 Amazing Locations
Since 1997 Ripley’s Aquariums have thrilled millions of visitors in North America.
Traveling on moving glide paths, visitors enter the ocean realm and come face to face with thousands of fascinating fishes and menacing sea creatures, everything from barracudas, to rays, to jellyfish, octopi, moray eels and giant sharks!
The first beautiful exhibit you see when you walk into the aquarium.
The staff at Ripley's Aquarium Mysrtle Beach are wonderful! The guest services desk always has friendly faces behind it, and we were well taken care of. One of the neat things about visiting Ripley's Aquarium during the holidays, is that they have lots of beautiful Christmas Trees on display all through out the aquarium. We were greeted by some gorgeous trees at the entrance. As we gave our tickets to the ticket taker, we were asked to group together for a family photo.
There are several experiences to enjoy at Ripley's Aquarium. We like to start out on the left side, and then work our way around to the rest of the exhibits.
B enjoys the sting ray experience at Ripley's Aquarium.
One of the coolest experiences at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, is the sting ray exhibit. It's an interactive experience, which allows you to touch the sting rays, and some sharks which swim alongside them in the same touch tank. Sting Ray Bay is so cool. There are flat 'rocks' that you can lie down on, and then gently place your hands into the water. The sting rays are very gentle, and they willliterally swim up to you if you are still, and glide right underneath your hand. I was so proud of B for giving it a try. He's a pretty cautious kid, so I was surprised that he wanted to touch a real sting ray, especially knowing that there were also some sharks in the tank.
We timed our visit to Sting Ray Bay just right. We got to see the divers entering the tank, and then we got to see them feeding the rays and sharks.
Just one of the gorgeous exhibits at Ripley's Aquarium... the sea horses are magical to watch!
The Touch Tank is another favorite spot in the aquarium.
One place we tend to spend a lot of time at is the touch tank. It's a huge walk up exhibit, which is open for touching and learning. Aquarium staff are right alongside you to tell you about all of the creatures that are swimming around or residing in the touch tank. There are crabs, sharks, fish, We had a lot of fun watching the puffer fish, and holding the horseshoe crabs. We were even brave enough to keep our hands in the water as the tiny sharks swam past.
A couple of cute little sharks in the touch tank. Yes- we touched them!
The touch tank is part of the large Discovery Center at Ripley's Aquarium. This is a neat, interactive area for kids and adults, which houses the touch tank, and lots of other cool diplays. There are puzzles to solve, tests to take, and quests to be had aboard the sunken ship area!
Sacha, Baby S, B, and Papa enjoy one of the cool video displays at Ripley's.
Interactive fun and learning in the Discovery Center.
B takes a turn at spinning the wheel at the ship display/play area.
I know that my curious crew likes to spend a lot of time in the Discovery Center, but the rest of the aquarium is so amazing, too! My favorite thing to do at the aquarium, is to walk around and just look at all of the beautiful colored fish and sea life. They are all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and they are truly breathtaking! Watching them swim in circles is quite mesmerizing, really.
Exhibit filled with gorgeous fish, coral and more!
These unique fish are true beauties!
Everyone's favorite part of Ripley's Aquarium was going through Dangerous Reef. You actually feel like you're underwater with the sea creatures in this part of the aquarium.
Filled with thousands of fish of every shape and size, this is the largest and most popular exhibit. Leisurely travel on a moving 340-foot long glidepath, as you wind your way through the acrylic tunnel and come face to face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, a green sea turtle, giant stingrays, sawfish, and very large SHARKS! YOU CAN ALMOST TOUCH THEM! Your family will marvel at the clarity of the water and the totally immersive environment. You will feel as if you were exploring the deep oceans and could almost touch the amazing sea life.
The tour starts with a tank filled with various types of lobsters.
If you or your kids like sharks, you will love the Dangerous Reef. It's filled with sharks, and I'm talkin' about really big sharks! If I ever met one of these guys in real life- like in the actual sea, I would be terrified. I'm glad we had the opportunity to see them so clearly and so close up, all the while protected by the acrylic tunnel.
Take a look at this big guy!
...and meet his pal!
Hubby enjoys the moving floor, which takes you through the entire tunnel.
You can walk through the Dangerous Reef on your own, or you can stand on the moving floor, which will safely move you around through the tunnel. This is slow moving, and allows you to read the information at the different exhibits. If you want to take pictures, I would suggest moving off of the moving walk, and standing in the middle of the tunnel.
My favorite picture from the entire day- B and my dad, checking out the sharks. Look at the one swimming right over their heads! Amazing!
Another favorite- the sea turtle! This guy wouldn't stay still, but we were able to get a great close-up look at him before he swam off.
The eels always sort of creep me out. They remind me of The Little Mermaid!
Just when you think you've seen everything that there is to see at the aquarium, you realize that there's a whole other world of wonder awaiting you upstairs! We couldn't wait to tip toe into Planet Jellies, one of the newest exhibits at Ripley's Aquarium! I think jelly fish are so beautiful, and I was really looking forward to seeing them.
Enter a world of wonder in Planet Jellies!
This exhibit is filled with all sorts of jelly fish. There are even touch tanks in Planet Jellies! Yes- you can touch the jelly fish (very carefully). I was so glad that there was a staffperson right beside the tank, explaining when and where to touch the jellyfish. Yes, the ones in the touch tank can sting, so touch them at your own risk!
Jellies in the touch tank! These are the ones we were able to touch very gently.
Touch a Jelly tank.
There were also interactive activities in the Planet Jellies area. B had a lot of fun designing silly animated jellies on the computer screen in the exhibit. Just around the corner were even more jellies. These were the ones I was so excited to see... the ones that were colored so brightly, and had the longest, most delicate tenticles.
Check out these gorgeous jellies...
These jellies were just stunning. I can't even believe that I took these pictures- they don't even look real! They were so beautiful, and I could have just stood there watching them forever!
Next, we headed to the SLIME exhibit, and the Amazon exhibits. These were the last exhibits for us on the day we visited Ripley's. The SLIME exhibit was really cool. We learned all sorts of interesting things, If you have boys, or if your kids (or husbands) like gross stuff, they will really like this exhibit! It's filled with frogs, slugs, and all sorts of slimey creatures!
Before leaving, there were a few more things to do...
There's a great cafe, where you can stop and play, or grab a snack!
Your kids can play on this awesome indoor playground, and look out over the rest of Broadway at the Beach- right on the water!
We didn't eat at Ripley's this time, but I know that they have great snacks available. The restrooms are clean, and have changing stations available. The playground is lots of fun, and it's the perfect place for the kiddos to release a bit of energy before piling back into the car for the ride back to the condo or hotel. You can even purchase tickets for a ride on Ripley's Glass Bottom Boat experience!
All sorts of fun to be had in the gift shop!
On your way out, don't forget to grab a souvenier in the gift shop. You actually have to walk through the gift shop to exit the aquarium, so if you were hoping to avoid it with your kids, sorry about that! There are tons of fun gifts from dress up props to books and toys. There are even gifts for grown ups!
We hda an amazing day at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach! It was so relaxing just to look at all of the beautiful sea creatures, and it was so cool to get to see those sharks up close, as well as touch the sting rays and some of the other sea life! We cannot wait to go back the next time we're at the beach!
Want to go? Plan your visit!
Head over to Ripley's Aquarium to plan your visit to any of the 3 Ripley's Aquarium locations. Check out Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach for information on this particualar aquarium. Connect via Twitter and Facebook.
Special thanks to Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach for allowing us to visit and share our amazing experience!