S.C. Aquarium, Part 1 | Project Discovery

The South Carolina Aquarium, located in Charleston, South Carolina, is an impressive place to visit. Operated by a nonprofit organization, the aquarium is 40th in size and fifth in biodiversity.

A journey through the aquarium takes viewers across South Carolina – from the mountains to the sea. Exhibits include a forest habitat, a salt marsh, and a 350,000-gallon ocean tank, and are home to all types of animals associated with aquatics, such as spiders, fishes, frogs, and mammals. To add to the aquarium’s collection, curators trade with other zoos and purchase from wholesales. All animals are quarantined for 30 days, during which time they receive medicine before they are moved to a final exhibit.

The water used in the aquarium comes from the Folly River. It is filtered and pumped to the exhibits. A life support system filters the water constantly to keep it free from debris.

The aquarium’s design team, from Boston, Massachusetts, and Tucson, Arizona, looked at actual habitats in South Carolina. Some of the habitats in the aquarium were made of cement and epoxy and painted by artists to look realistic. An animal care staff cares for every animal every day. It consists of bird specialists, herpetologists, aquarists, and mammal specialists. There are more than 10,000 mouths to feed daily!

Horticulturists scout the plants used in displays for disease and see to their general upkeep. Native materials from the mountains to the coast, the plants in the open-air exhibits are from local nurseries. Planters have cooling coils for mountain plants and misters so the plants won’t die in the hot Charleston summers. Grasses and palmettos are planted in the salt marsh display.