Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach has been the one attraction our family has continued to enjoy since the girls were babies. When they were small we had annual passes for years, visiting at least once a week. Now that they’re 10+ years older our trips aren’t as frequent, but no less special!
We had the chance to spend the morning at Ripley’s Aquarium last week and while so much had changed, our favorite exhibits stayed the same. In full disclosure, Ripley’s gave me complimentary tickets to visit in exchange for a honest review.
In the “new” category were the Slime and Jellyfish Planet exhibits. Both were amazing!
In the world of slime, visitors learned about creatures (and by-products) who are either slimy or enjoy it. There was loads to do and see throughout it, including lobster game and fun plaques throughout with facts that make you cringe. I’m not sure I ever wanted to know that sand is really parrotfish poop, but cool.
After we had our fill of slime, we bounced over to the new and spectacular Planet Jellies exhibit. If you’re familiar with the aquarium’s layout, it’s where the cafe was. Don’t worry – the cafe still exists. It’s just behind it.
Inside Planet Jellies you’ll get your fill on everything you ever wanted to know about jellyfish and more. There are several varieties, big and small, to see. For a set of girls who are in the ocean a few times a week and actively avoid these suckers, it’s neat to be able to get close without being afraid.
If you’re feeling curious (or brave), there’s a touch tank where you can actually feel the upper surface of a jellyfish. There’s an attendant there to teach you about the animals and how to touch them.
Last, there is some practical advice. Should you be in the ocean and get stung, here are tips for alleviating the pain. Never EVER try to rinse the area with fresh water. Sidenote: Even a dead jellyfish can sting you. So should you see one washed up on the beach, leave it alone.
One thing we’ve always loved about Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is how there’s something for everyone, even the wee ones who sometimes hate being strapped into a stroller or tasked with holding hands. Also in the “new”category is this cool play area where they can climb, slide, and jump to use up some energy! It’s located just behind the Planet Jellies exhibit, by the new cafe area. It’s the perfect spot to grab a drink and take a break.
As you make your way downstairs, you enter the heart of the aquarium. First, you’ll visit Rainbow Rock. It’s an enormous tank filled with beautiful fish. Time it right, and you’ll be treated to a dive show. It’s funny how excited fish get at snack time!
Just passed Rainbow Rock is the entrance to the shark tank, better know as Dangerous Reef. Step onto the motorized trail and just look around you. You’ll see sharks from every angle (yes, they’re above you, too!), fish in schools, and our favorite, a sea turtle named Gabby. She’s hard to find, though! Your budding marine biologist will want to go through over and over again!
Bonus, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the Fancy Fins Mermaid Boutique! There your little one can be transformed from a land-lover to beautiful mermaid princess, sailor, or pirate! You can have a look at package prices here.
I’ve saved our favorite two spots at Ripley’s Aquarium for last. First, is Discovery Center. It’s a spot where you can get up close to everything. Since my daughters were young, they’ve delighted in touching (and holding, when they got old enough) horseshoe crabs. During our latest visit, we noticed other creatures in that tank!
Last, who doesn’t love Ray Bay? It’s where gorgeous stingrays look like they’re flying. I could sit there, watch, and listen to the music forever. It’s mesmerizing. Since the girls were little, they’d get right up close. They love rays and several times a day visitors have the opportunity to watch mermaids swim with them!
We finished our visit up in the gift shop where I couldn’t resist this little gem. Blue means I was happy. Totally accurate.
I’m leery of most attractions, skeptical of whether or not they’re worth the price of admission. I look to answer questions like, “Was there enough to see? Did we spend enough time there? Is it somewhere I’d recommend or like to return to?” Ripley’s Aquarium gets a “yes” without hesitation.
We had a fantastic time visiting and you will too. Ripley’s Aquarium a the one Myrtle Beach attraction you don’t want to miss. It’s perfect for all ages. From littles in a stroller to grandparents who may need a spot to have a seat for a bit, the aquarium has you covered.
To purchase tickets at a discount, click below. By buying online, you skip the line and start your family’s fun faster. Plus you can save even more if you plan to visit more than one of the Ripley’s attractions during your visit! [Note: In an effort to maintain full disclosure, I may receive a small commission for tickets sold via the link below.]
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