Visit the aquarium’s Touch Tank, a space where students of all ages can have an up-close, interactive experience with animals found on our coastline. Feel the spikes of a sea urchin or the shell of a horseshoe crab before you venture toward the 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank. Situated in the middle of the aquarium, our three-story-deep tank is home to sharks, many species of fish and a 300+ pound loggerhead sea turtle named Caretta.
Following a walk through Madagascar Journey and our Animal Care Exhibit, complete your experience at the South Carolina Aquarium with a visit to the state’s only sea turtle hospital.
The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program rehabilitates sick and injured sea turtles. The endangered loggerhead sea turtle is South Carolina’s state reptile, and the remaining six species of sea turtles are each listed as either threatened or endangered. This is a reflection of the growing issues surrounding coastal development and ocean conservation. To help ensure that sea turtles have a future in our oceans, the South Carolina Aquarium aids sick and injured sea turtles and is a leader in inspiring future generations to take action to protect these animals.
When a sea turtle is found stranded or injured, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) brings it to the Sea Turtle Hospital for treatment. Your group can visit the hospital’s current patients during a 30-minute private tour. Students and chaperones alike will experience the extraordinary care given to the animals that suffer most commonly from bacterial or fungal infections, shock from being exposed to cold temperatures, or injury from a boat strike or shark bite.
South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program staff members or volunteers lead each group through the hospital, individually describing each turtle’s treatments and story. Treatments include IV fluids, antibiotics, vitamins and other medications. You may have a one-on-one encounter with a sea turtle undergoing rehabilitation — our expert staff even created a special weighted dive vest for one very fortunate sea turtle.
Following recovery and rehabilitation, sea turtles are released to become reproductive members of the sea turtle population. To date, 130 sea turtles have been released from the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
Join the South Carolina Aquarium for a fun-filled day of discovery. Experience our daily animal programs that highlight the aquarium’s collection, visit the state’s only 4-D Immersion Theater, and find yourself face-to-face with ring-tailed lemurs. With members of our education staff eager to interact with guests of all ages, everyone will leave inspired to become advocates for the conservation of our natural world and its inhabitants. An education destination all in itself, the South Carolina Aquarium is an ocean full of possibilities for your class.