Things to do / Travel Guide
The Georgia and South Carolina region has some exciting aquariums and zoos for you to enjoy during your visit.
Zoos in Savannah and Georgia
The Georgia Aquarium contains more than 8 million gallons of fresh and marine water, and more than 100,000 animals representing 500 species from around the globe. Among the marine life you'll see there are giant Pacific octopus, garibaldi damselfish, and Japanese spider crabs. There are also interactive touch tanks filled with horseshoe crabs, sea stars, stingrays, and shrimp.
Zoo Atlanta is often hailed as one of the best zoos in the country. Animals like drill monkeys, clouded leopards, and big-mouthed African dwarf crocodiles live in open enclosures that simulate their natural habitat. There's also a petting zoo featuring a red kangaroo, a wallaby, goats, and sheep.
While not exactly a traditional zoo, the Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah is a worthwhile destination for the nature-minded traveler. The focus is on animals in their natural habitat, so expect to see alligators, wolves, bison rather than lions and tigers and bears. Besides a farm section with the usual goats, chickens and pigs the wildlife center offers exhibit areas on local Georgia predators (no political jokes, please). So, if you came to see cougar, bobcat, hawks and eagles, you will not be disappointed.
Hilton Head Aquarium and Zoos
If you have been to Hilton Head before, you will know that there are no zoos and aquariums there. Hilton Head is known for its resorts, beaches, waterways and golf courses. And more golf courses. But, if the family is getting restless while dad shops for the latest fashions and mom hits the links (or vice versa) – head to Savannah. The Oatland Island Wildlife Center is less than an hour away. That would have to qualify as the Hilton Head Zoo. If you think an aquarium visit would be more popular, you are under 5 hours away from one of the best ones in the country – the Georgia Aquarium.
South Carolina Aquariums
Believe it or not, the Ripley's Aquarium is among the most popular attractions in South Carolina. One of their larger exhibits is a 750,000-gallon tank, where 10-foot sharks and other sea creatures live and prowl. Another exhibit will grant you stunning views of thousands of brilliantly-colored Pacific fish from Hawaii, Australia, and the Indian Ocean through an acrylic window the size of two movie screens. It's amazing, but true - believe it or not.
South Carolina Aquarium has a 385,000-gallon aquarium, called “The Great Ocean Tank,” containing more than 800 animals, including sharks, turtles, and stingrays. There is also a daily dolphin program during which visitors can view the clever mammals.
Definitely not in the aquarium category, Alligator Adventure will give kids a few fun hours and even provide some education value. It is not just about alligators – it is also snakes, birds and other animals of the South Carolina marshes.
South Carolina Zoos
If aquariums aren't your thing, the Brookgreen Gardens is the only accredited zoo on the coast of the Carolinas. You'll find animals and plants from the low country that can be viewed by boat or overland vehicle. Among the native animals you'll likely see are waterfowl, river otter, owls, hawks, eagles, foxes, and deer. Bird enthusiasts will be especially pleased with the zoo's offerings.
Being a popular family vacation spot, one would expect Myrtle Beach South Carolina to have a proper zoo and aquarium. Not quite. There are a few quite commercial wildlife related ventures in Myrtle Beach. The Waccatee Zoo is one of them. The zoo is reasonable priced, fun and even unique – but it is not a great place for the animals or for those who love them.
On the other end of the spectrum is T.I.G.E.R.S – a 50 acre preserve for endangered and rare species. They run pricey tours that let you get up close to tigers, leopards, chimps and others in a natural habitat. Some of the admission fee goes to supporting international conservation efforts so that we will not get to the point where the only place to see an orangutan is in Myrtle Beach, SC!
Zoos and Aquariums in Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Charleston, South Carolina, Atlanta, Savannah, Georgia