Things To Do

8 places for animal lovers to visit when vacationing in Myrtle Beach or coastal Carolinas

Our corner of the Carolinas are abundant in animal attractions, including three aquariums, each of which will be a favorite in things to do for animal lovers.

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    • Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is where Gabby, a green sea turtle, lives. Another star of that species, Sheldon, is in the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Caretta, a loggerhead turtle commands the attention at the S.C. Aquarium, in Charleston, which also contains a Sea Turtle Rescue Program hospital managed by Kelly Thorvalson, who grew up in Georgetown.         — Ripley’s Aquarium, at Broadway at the Beach, off 29th Avenue North, between U.S. 17 Bypass and Robert Grissom Parkway in Myrtle Beach. 843-916-0888, 800-734-8888
    • Alligator Adventure, on the north end of Barefoot Landing, is home to hundreds of animals, not just alligators, but many others such as Eurasian eagle owls and red kangaroos, in one place, with special shows hourly.      — Alligator Adventure, at Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach. 843-361-0789 or
  • TIGERS (The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species), seasonal, at Myrtle Beach Safari, west of Myrtle Beach, for ages 6 and older, by reservation only. 843-855-2699or
  • Waccatee Zoo, 8500 Enterprise Road, Socastee, west off S.C. 707, just south of S.C. 544. 843-650-8500 or
  • Brookgreen Gardens also has its own zoo of native wildlife. A walk through a woods is full of indigenous wildlife, starting with marsh tacky horses and red devon cows, in their respective pastures. River otters at play in their indoor playground waterland will make everyone smile. Be sure, too, to look at the abutting overlook to check for some otters living it up outside as well, maybe with a high-pitched squeak or two.                     — Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach. 843-235-6000, 800-849-1931 or
  • When visiting The Center for Birds of Prey, in Awendaw, be sure to leave time to see flight demonstrations after a tour to see its raptor residents up close.                                                                                                                  — The Center for Birds of Prey, 4719 U.S. 17 N., Awendaw, about 35 miles south of Georgetown. 843-971-7474 or www.thecenterforbirds
  • N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road (U.S. 421), south of Kure Beach, N.C., near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. 910-458-8257 Also accessible by the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry. 910-457-6942 or 800-368-8969, or
  • S.C. Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, off Calhoun Street, about one mile south from Meeting Street exit off U.S. 17, on west side of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge from Mount Pleasant. 843-720-1990 or Also, for tours of Sea Turtle Rescue Program hospital, reservations recommended at 843-577-3474.