Holidays at the Aquarium

Make holiday memories at the South Carolina Aquarium! We invite you to enjoy the magic of the season with visits from Santa, pop-up animal programming, our brand new evening experience, Aquarium Aglow and much more. Plan your visit to the Aquarium today!

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Don’t forget to check out our new evening holiday experience, Aquarium Aglow.
Santa sits in a sleigh and looks at Pippen the barn owl

Santa Sundays

Santa Claus is coming to Charleston! Stop by the Aquarium on Santa Sundays to meet jolly old St. Nick himself and pose for a keepsake photo. Santa will be here in his sleigh, designed with social distancing in mind. Enjoy more Aquarium fun with our digital line… no need to stand and wait! Plus, this year, we’ll have complimentary coffee for the adults (while supplies last). Santa Sundays are sponsored by Charleston Coffee Roasters. You must have a general admission ticket or member reservation to visit the Aquarium to participate in Santa Sundays.

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Santa visits will take place on the following dates leading up to the Christmas holiday from 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
12/5, 12/12, 12/19
Ralph, a gopher tortoise, sits on a green floor with a Santa hat on his shell

Holiday Pop-Up Programming

We’re not the only ones celebrating the holiday season. Our animals are taking part in the festivities, too! Keep an eye out during your visit to see some of our animals enjoying new holiday decor in their environment, snacking on specially-made holiday fish pops or get the chance to meet a critter up-close on the floor!

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a cownose stingray swims in The Shallows at South Carolina Aquarium

Feed the RAYndeer

You’ve heard of treats for Santa’s reindeer but what about fishy snacks for Santa’s RAYndeer? Feed the cownose rays by hand and give them a tasty treat daily from 10:15 a.m. through 4 p.m. each day, while supplies last.

Purchase a ray feeding voucher for $5 at the admission gate or information desk during your next visit.

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A photo station in front of the Charleston Ravenel Bridge looks like a snowglobe with a snowman and gingerbread man

Festive Photo Stations

Venture through the Aquarium to find fun, festive photo stations, perfect for selfies and group pictures. Look out for the new photo-op on the terrace, and pose with our larger-than-life Lite Brite upstairs.

Snap a photo with friends and family, and be sure to tag @southcarolinaaquarium when you post. We can’t wait to see your photos!

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a red mailbox labeled "North Pole" sits in front of the Carolina Seas exhibit

Letters to Santa

As you explore the wonder and merriment, be sure to stop by Santa’s mailbox. Look for the special red mailbox labeled “North Pole” and send your letter up North!

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Looking up at a Christmas tree made of holiday light strings with bulbs of many colors at Aquarium Aglow

Aquarium Aglow

Aquarium Aglow is a one-of-a-kind holiday experience in downtown Charleston! This immersive holiday light spectacular brings forth the joy and magic of the season with tens of thousands of lights displayed throughout the Aquarium, from elegant and innovative to festive and nostalgic. Enjoy an unforgettable evening at the Aquarium with friends and loved ones, complete with food, beverages and live entertainment!

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Rheos green tortoise shell sunglasses sit on a wooden table in the sun

Gifts that Give Back

‘Tis the season to spread meaningful merriment to your friends and family! Support the South Carolina Aquarium with gifts that give back all year long. Your purchases help us continue our mission of educating the conservationists of tomorrow and caring for the sea turtles who need us most today. No matter their interest, there’s a gift option for everyone on your list!

Become a member and enjoy the fun year-round!
Donations make a big splash.