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Explore South Carolina’s Zoos and Wildlife Attractions

Treat the family to a fun tour of South Carolina’s zoos and wildlife attractions. The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw is a wildlife conservation center featuring regional birds of prey. Get up close views of owls, eagles and vultures, and watch hawks, falcons and eagles in awesome flight presentations. The center is 12 miles north of Mount Pleasant and open Thursday-Saturday. Open daily, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia features more than 2,000 animals and a 70-acre botanical garden with over 4,000 international plant species.

Marine life enthusiasts have two aquariums to explore. Ripley’s Aquarium is located at Broadway-at-the-Beach in Myrtle Beach. Boasting 87,000 square feet of exhibits, the attraction offers more than 30 interactive displays and fun themed areas like Ray Bay, Dangerous Reef and Rio Amazon. Take a glass bottom boat adventure or sign up to dive with sharks. South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston Harbor spans 93,000 square feet and features three stories of exhibits plus a 4-D theater. View over 10,000 aquatic species, reptiles and plants. Popular attractions are the Great Ocean Tank, Sea Turtle Recovery, and the Touch Tank, where you can feel stingrays, urchins, crabs, and whelk.

The Center for Birds of Prey

Located along South Carolina’s outstanding Atlantic coast, the Center for Birds of Prey is a great destination for Mount Pleasant visitors and fans of wildlife alike. The center was constructed to preserve and provide a healthy environment for some of the region’s most majestic birds of prey.

The center hosts frequent events, as well as guided tours and exhibit area walk-throughs, featuring some of Earth’s most impressive winged creatures. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the live flight demonstrations of hawks, falcons, owls, eagles, kites, and vultures every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Hollywild Animal Park

Make travel plans for South Carolina. The Hollywild Animal Park began in the 1940s on the Meeks' family land with goats, chickens, cows and horses. They acquired opossums, raccoons, squirrels and foxes until the collection expanded and became home to deer, monkeys, tigers, swans, lions, bears, ducks and Donna – the Asian Elephant.

Enjoy the Outback Safari Ride across the park's 70 acres to spot Bison, Sika, Zebras, Emus and "Tank," the famous Rhino. The park continues to grow in their collection of animals, the development of animal habitats and visitor educational opportunities. Enjoy a scenic drive through South Carolina's upcountry region to Greenville.

Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium is a favored Myrtle Beach attraction, located in Broadway-at-the-Beach. This impressive 85,000 square foot aquarium contains a wonderful variety of exhibits and displays. The new "Jaw-some" exhibit, "Sharks – Perfect Predators" features more than 12 shark species and 30 hands-on interactive displays.

Take your time strolling through Rio Amazon, Dangerous Reef, Stingray Bay, Systems Control, Living Gallery, Touch-A-Ray Bay, Rainbow Rock and Discovery Center.

Have fun exploring it all. Stop in the Cargo Hold Gift Shop to shop for a remembrance of your visit or grab a snack in the Feeding Frenzy Eatery. This coastal aquarium also offers educational classes, marine camps, swimming with sting rays and sleep-overs with the sharks.

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Set on the Saluda River, the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden covers 170 acres of central South Carolina in the capital city of Columbia. Welcoming over one million annual animal lovers, the Riverbanks Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals.

Permanent exhibits include the Kangaroo Walkabout, the Birdhouse at Riverbanks, the two-acre African Plains, and the 20,000-square-foot Aquarium Reptile Complex.

The zoo grounds also includes the 70-acre Riverbanks Botanical Garden – housing over 4,000 species of plants both native and from around the world.

South Carolina Aquarium

Opened in 2000, the 93,000-square-foot South Carolina Aquarium is set on Charleston Harbor along the South Carolina coast.

The three-story Charleston aquarium is home to over 10,000 reptiles, plants, and aquatic animal life.

Be sure to see the 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank, tour the Sea Turtle Hospital, or pet horseshoe crabs and Atlantic stingrays in the Touch Tank. Open daily at 9 a.m., the SC Aquarium also features a 4-D Theater.

Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary

Covering 842 acres, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Walterboro on the South Carolina coast. Free to the public, the Walterboro Wildlife park is open from sunrise to sunset, and features plenty of outdoor recreation.

Visitors enjoy four miles of trail for hiking and biking plus playgrounds, picnic spots, and nature viewing. Stroll the Savannah Stagecoach Road, explore the 10,000-square-foot Discovery Center, or try canoeing in Ireland Creek or Ashepoo River.