Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has tourist attractions for visitors of all ages along the shore and inland. Visiting the indoor aquarium in town is ideal to save for a rainy day or to beat a heat wave. Part of Broadway at the Beach, you will find Ripley's Aquarium amongst the restaurants and stores in a popular tourist location. They have plenty of parking available on site.
Entering the aquarium be prepared to shell out some cash, as the price is over $20 per person. Purchasing tickets online will save you $2 per ticket totalling $20.99 per person. The friendly staff will provide you with a map and information on the aquarium. You can choose from the upper and lower level to start your journey.
Up top as you are heading towards the lower level you will find stops along the way of the Ray Bay and Rainbow Rock tanks. Ray Bay is home to sting rays, with the opportunity to touch and feel them while supervised by a staff member. The rays weren't friendly and avoided my hand when I tried to get their attention but there are two spots with room to give it a try. Around the corner you'll catch your first glimpse of the fish inside Rainbow Rock including clown fish, moorish idol, regal blue tang, foxface rabbitfish, and more species. The size of the tank is initially deceiving until you reach the bottom of the ramp. Children can take the opportunity to sit down in this area and view the fish. Live dive shows are featured every 2 hours from 11am to 9pm at Rainbow Rock and every 2 hours from 12pm to 10pm at Ray Bay.
On the lower level you will find smaller tanks with illuminating jellyfish and a scene reminding you of Finding Nemo. Discovery Center is one of the highlights at Ripley's, especially for younger children. They have a touch and feel tank featuring horseshoe crab and bamboo sharks. The sharks swim around the open top tank, with easy access to give them a touch. There are staff present at the tank to pick up the animals, answer questions, and allow you to touch the animals safely. The oyster tank will give you a chuckle, providing a photo opportunity if you can climb down under the tank. If you've made it this far you'll find your head in a small steamy area surrounded by the fish in the tank. Even little ones will enjoy this experience.
The main attraction that sets this aquarium aside from the rest is their underwater glide path. It was definitely my favorite when visiting the aquarium. The glide path is 340 feet of automated pleasure, viewing the more dangerous water species. You will glide through the tunnel as if you are on one of the gliders at the airport. The path provides two options: the glider or a normal walkway. You can step off at any time. The norm is not to walk along the glide path but to let the glider do the work as you stare in awe of nature's sea creatures. This large tank has sharks, sawfish, a turtle, tarpons, schools of fish, and more. You can ride the glide path an unlimited amount of times.
Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach is located at 1110 Celebrity Circle. For more information call (843) 916-0888. They are open daily Sundays from 9am-6:30pm, Mondays through Thursdays 9am to 7:30pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 8:30pm. Those with children beware of the exit path as you are forced to walk through the gift shop. Overall it was a pleasurable experience yet the price seemed a little steep for the features of the aquarium.