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Aquariums: They aren’t just for fishes anymore

By Stephen Wynne and Vickie Mitchell
Courtesy South Carolina Aquarium

Fins aren’t a requirement for residency at the South Carolina Aquarium.

On Charleston’s busy harbor, the aquarium explores the path water takes as it moves down mountains and through marshes and swamps to the sea.

Its exhibits encompass not only the creatures who live in the water but those who live alongside it, which makes the facility much like a zoo with water features.

In the Mountain Forest exhibit, for example, two river otters splash and cheery cardinals sing. A barred owl and a great blue heron share space with a diamondback terrapin in the Saltmarsh exhibit. The aquarium’s most noticeable resident, a ghostly albino alligator named Alabaster, lives in its renovated Blackwater Swamp.

Architects realized the potential the aquarium would have for special events and made the most of its waterfront position.

Walls of glass are all that separate diners in the 4,640-square-foot Great Hall from the harbor and its ships.

In good weather, a 2,622-square-foot terrace, with views of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, is reception central.

Even during the aquarium’s business hours, small groups can book the 600-square-foot boardroom with an adjoining 1,200-square-foot terrace that looks toward Fort Sumter.


For more on Zoo meetings:

Animal magnetism
ZOOm Air Adventure
Aquariums aren’t just for fishes