If you haven’t been to the South Carolina Aquarium in awhile, it might be time to check in again — they’ve added several new activities to their summer schedule.
The new Animal Care exhibit gives viewers a glimpse into the way the staff takes care of their animals. “It kind of showcases how we take care of our animals because every animal that comes into this building is important to us,” says director of education Whit McMillan. The exhibit shows how the staff takes X-rays of the animals and has a microscope where visitors can look at blood slides from fish with parasites and tapeworms. Interactive boards showcase pictures of two animals and the process the veterinarian uses to care for them. Another section shows how the staff does surgery on a fish.
Veterinarian Shane Boylan administers antibiotics, gets fluids, takes x-rays, ultrasounds, and draws blood from the aquatic animals every day. “It’s kind of what a vet practice does every day except most of our patients are aquatic,” Boylan says.
McMillan adds, “We’re really excited about our new programs and all of the animals. We’re going to have a lot of animals on the floor this summer for people to touch and experience, everything from alligators to snakes.”
The aquarium has 10 programs every day during the nine hours that they are open. Divers will do dive shows in the great ocean tank, the Dr. Gill Show gives kids a chance to learn about the wildlife living in the great ocean tank, and Alabaster the albino alligator will be making appearances. The Madagascar exhibit features lemurs and lets a child dress up as one. On the floor, different animals are rotated in for visitors to see up close and personal and even touch. They also have four sea turtle hospital tours, turtle stations, and painting with terrapin turtles.
In addition, they’ve added two new educational 4-D experiences. SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D: The Great Jelly Rescue, is great for the younger kids, while National Geographic’s Sea Monsters 4-D takes viewers back to prehistoric times.
“One of the things we want to do here is engage with our guests,” says Brian Thill, assistant director of education. “We really want them to leave here with an experience and to leave here interacting with some of our staff.”