Travel magazine names Ripley’s Aquarium one of the top aquariums in the country

A popular travel magazine has named Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach one of the top aquariums in the country.

Ripley’s was grouped alongside 11 others including the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago in’s list of the top 12 aquariums in the nation. The list appeared online Wednesday in the magazine’s July edition.

The blurb about Ripley’s touts the variety of exotic and even poisonous species that can be seen at the 85,000-square-foot aquarium, which is at Broadway at the Beach. It also mentioned that visitors can touch some of the marine life, including the horseshoe crabs and stingrays.

Craig Atkins, Ripley’s general manager in Myrtle Beach, said he was excited for Ripley’s to be included in the list and grouped with aquariums he has a lot of respect for -- he said he’s visited all of them.

“It’s flattering,” Atkins said. “These are top-notch aquariums around the country.”

Others on the list, which was not ranked: Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta; Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Ill.; National Aquarium, Baltimore, Md.; Aquarium of the Pacific, Longbeach, Calif.; Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco, Calif.; Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.; Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati, Ohio; Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga; Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas; Adventure Aquarium, Camden, N.J.; Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Oregon.

The magazine had an “insanely difficult time trying to come up with that list...and, harder still, limiting it to the few we chose,” said Darlene Perrone, editor of

Among the criteria: size of the aquarium, how many species and the variety of species, its uniqueness and how immersive the experience for visitors, Perrone said.

Atkins said the exposure will introduce Ripley’s to a new set of travelers and possibly entice them to visit. He also said the accolade will give locals another reason to be proud that Ripley’s Aquarium is here.

Ripley’s operates several other attractions in Myrtle Beach along Ocean Boulevard, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not.