charleston sun 106The South Carolina Aquarium is more than just an aquarium…it’s a journey with a close up view of South Carolina’s nature, from the mountains to the sea. My children enjoyed the camping exhibit with real skunks and a fake campfire (and the guess that smell game) as much as the albino alligator, only one of 50 known to exist.

charleston sun 147That was a bit anti-climactic for us since the gator didn’t move a muscle the 10 minutes we stood there watching—a white gator is cool, but this one looked more like a concrete replica since it didn’t budge.

The kids did like seeing the divers feeding the sharks in the great ocean tank. However, the highlight of our visit to the aquarium took place in the basement—at the Sea Turtle Hospital.

The aquarium uses its facilities and experts to aid endangered sea turtles through its Sea Turtle Rescue Program. When someone finds a sick or injured sea turtle along the coast, it is brought to the Turtle Hospital where animal care staff can monitor and treat the animal in their state-of-the-art facility.

What happens in this small area will amaze you. The really sick turtles get their own little pool where they can be watched and hopefully recover to the point where they can be released again.

We fell in love with Mclellan, or Mac, a big loggerhead who was missing her right front fin. While we were there, she was swimming like crazy, possibly trying to show the staff she was ready for the big pool of the ocean again. The staff told us she was close.

If you want to be part of their recovery, you can make a donation to help charleston sun 086keep the center running. You can also adopt a turtle (along with many of the other aquarium critters).  Just check the aquarium web site for details. 

charleston sun 079Want to know about other fun stuff to do with your family in Charleston? Read this review of the Explorer Club for details.