Two of Charleston’s classic attractions occupied our day today – a visit to Fort Sumter National Monument and a tour of the South Carolina Aquarium. Since they’re right next door to one another, it seemed to make a lot of sense to visit those two today and see the historic area of Charleston tomorrow.
I’ve been to Charleston numerous times, but I’d never been to Fort Sumter. However, since 2011 marks the start of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and since Tim and I have been visiting so many Civil War sites, we decided that we had to see where the opening shots of the Civil War were fired. You can only get to Fort Sumter by boat, so we boarded one at Liberty Square.
|Fort Sumter National Monument|
|Left-Face Casemate Ruins|
|Five Flags Have Flown Over Fort Sumter|
Next door to the Fort Sumter visitor center is the South Carolina Aquarium, one of the most visited attractions in Charleston. The aquarium showcases animals from the South Carolina mountain forests and piedmont to the coastal plain, saltmarsh and ocean. There are really some amazing fish and other critters on exhibit, including a rare albino alligator and Atlantic sea nettles. I wouldn’t want to see them in the wild, but they were fascinating to see up close in a tank.
|Albino Alligtator from the Coastal Plain|
|Atlantic Sea Nettles from the Ocean|
|A Pelican in the Saltmarsh|
One of the main features of the aquarium is the Great Ocean Tank, a two-story tank that contains hundreds of animals, including sharks, pufferfish and a loggerhead sea turtle. As we made our way to the lower ocean gallery, we stumbled upon a special holiday program on the Twelve Days of the Great Ocean Tank. Although the program was primarily designed for children, Tim and I had fun watching Scuba Claus swimming with the fish. What a hoot! The aquarium is definitely worth a visit.
|Loggerhead Sea Turtle and Fish in the Great Ocean Tank|
|Scuba Claus in the Great Ocean Tank|
|South Carolina Aquarium|
|Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge Over the Cooper River|