The South Carolina Aquarium is bringing its dedicated community the best present it can offer during these unprecedented times – a plan to reopen its doors and begin connecting people with water, wildlife, and wild places at the end of a week that also marked its 20th birthday.
The Aquarium made the difficult, but proactive, decision to close its doors to the public on March 16th. These past nine weeks have been challenging yet rewarding with the Aquarium maintaining connection to the community with virtual visits as well as continued animal care amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the Aquarium feels ready to welcome guests once again, albeit with new operational guidelines set within its walls that takes into consideration the safety of staff, guests and animals alike. For a full explanation of safety protocol upon reopening, please visit scaquarium.org/ReopenFAQ.
“Our community has made the Aquarium a popular gathering place for families, friends and guests for two decades and we look forward to welcoming everyone back,” said Kevin Mills, South Carolina Aquarium president and CEO. “We are reopening in a way that ensures the safety and health of our guests and our team, drawing upon the best available scientific data and meeting – or even exceeding – published government guidelines.”
The Aquarium will reopen to the public on Saturday, May 23rd, from 9 am to 5 pm, with the last guest admitted at 4 pm. There will be a special opening day exclusive to Aquarium members on Friday, May 22nd. Perhaps the greatest shift when planning an Aquarium visit comes with reduced contact and dated/timed ticketing protocol to ensure safe social distancing practices are followed. All visits will now require a dated/timed ticket purchase to limit capacity in the building. Ticket purchases (including required membership reservations) will be available through the Aquarium online ticketing system at scaquarium.org/tickets. Due to strict adherence to these limits, tickets will not be available at the gate and must be purchased ahead of time.
In celebration of its 20th birthday, the Aquarium is also offering $20 off annual memberships until May 25th. Membership comes with an array of perks, such as exclusive benefits, special discounts and invites to exciting programs and events throughout the year. To take advantage of this offer, simply use the code HBD20 during the online checkout process.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, something’s been creeping into the Aquarium. Masked makers have been hard at work creating the newest Aquarium experience, “Monsters: From Micro to Mega.” Set throughout the Aquarium, guests will begin to see sculptures, signage and scenes representing creatures big and small come to fruition. “Monsters: From Micro to Mega” will officially open on July 4th, with more details available in the coming weeks.