One of the 41 aquariums I have visited around the world is the Myrtle Beach Aquarium in South Carolina. Officially the Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, the aquarium boasts thousands of fish, a very long underwater tunnel, and even a replica of a Civil War ironclad.
At 340-feet in length, the glidepath (with both man-powered and moving walkways) is one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world. [The longest is in Shanghai and is 509 feet; I’ve visited there too and will report in a later post.] You can see the ironclad in the background of the photo below.
Like most aquariums, Ripley’s works hard to provide a variety of habitats. Visitors can stop in the marine education center, visit Rio Amazon, explore the colorful reef fishes at Rainbow Rock, touch a stingray (stings removed), and cozy up to some poisonous frogs and lizards. Along the way they can greet a huge catfish:
Say hello to one of the many large Arawana:
And be afraid of barracudas…[some day I’ll tell the story of a barracuda following me around for an hour while I did marine research in Bermuda…a day after a huge barracuda had come straight for me out of the murky entrance to a small bay]
My favorite, however, was the sawfish. The aquarium had several that wandered the “big tank” (approximate 830,000 gallons). For some reason I really liked these guys.
Overall, the aquarium was worthy of a visit. The area around the aquarium has many restaurants and bars, so plan to make a day of it and stay for dinner. Take your camera. Ripley’s also has opened an “Aquarium of the Smokies” in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, so I’ll be adding that to my list of aquariums to profile in my book.
More on aquariums.