2021 in Review | South Carolina Aquarium

2021 in Review

Dec 29
Charlie and Beau, two North American river otters, on exhibit at the South Carolina Aquarium

2021 in Review

What can we say about the year 2021? Within the uncertainty of everyday life last year, throughout the ever-changing “new normal” of society, we persevered. Thanks to the incredible support of our guests, members, sponsors, community (local and virtual) and more, the South Carolina Aquarium continued to excel in education programming, animal care, sea turtle rescue and conservation, both within our walls and beyond. Here are just a few highlights of an amazing year…


In January, our education team tested out our brand new “Aquabot” with an elementary school class. The Aquabot enabled the students to navigate through our galleries at their discretion and experience the Aquarium at their comfort and convenience!

a South Carolina Aquarium educator points to a sea turtle while teaching via an educational robot


In February, our vet staff was able to incubate the eggs of a critically injured diamondback terrapin. Even though she did not survive, we were able to give these seven adorable babies a chance to live a full life!

seven diamondback terrapin babies at the Sea Turtle Care Center™ at the South Carolina Aquarium


In March, our friends at Dominion Energy made it possible for us to continue offering School Programs to South Carolina students for free. These programs inspire students to become lifelong protectors of nature and lay the path for futures in STEM careers.

students pet a snake in Dominion Energy School Programs


April was the official public introduction of our two new resident North American river otters! With the public’s help, we named these brothers Charlie and Beau, after Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina.

Charlie and Beau, two North American river otters, on exhibit at the South Carolina Aquarium


With the incredible help of our guests and supporters, we reached a huge milestone this year… our 21st birthday! We can’t wait to celebrate 22 with you next year!

Liberty the bald eagle receives 21st birthday-themed enrichment in honor of the South Carolina Aquarium's birthday


To celebrate Pride Month 2021, we were ecstatic to be designated a Charleston Police Department “Safe Place” for the LGBTQIA+ community. We welcome all at the Aquarium!

a pride flag made of images of South Carolina Aquarium animals


With the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July, we cheered on Team USA with fun Olympic-themed enrichment. Our gopher tortoises, otters, pelicans and Liberty the bald eagle all got in on the fun!

Ralph the gopher tortoise eats Olympic-themed enrichment at the South Carolina Aquarium


We couldn’t be more thankful and impressed by our littlest learners and supporters who have made it their mission to save sea turtles alongside us. We featured some amazing “Kids Who Care” in August!

kids run a lemonade stand for as a birthday fundraiser to support the South Carolina Aquarium


We had a wonderful year of rescue, rehabilitation and release through the Sea Turtle Care Center™,  and Malachite, Druzy and Lapis were just a few of our success stories! These three juvenile greens were released, in optimal health, to Cape Romain in September.

a sea turtle biologist holds a green sea turtle just prior to its release


In October, hundreds of runners, local and virtual, trekked five kilometers for the turtles! Lots of sweat and smiles filled Isle of Palms during this year’s race. This fundraiser is always a hit, and this year was no different!

runners participate in the 2021 South Carolina Aquarium Turtle Trek 5k on Isle of Palms beach


In November, we were able to welcome eight cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into our care from the beaches of Massachusetts. These juvenile turtles were lovingly named after “Frozen” characters, and are currently rehabilitating and doing well!

sea turtle biologists work on seven cold-stunned patients in the back of the Sea Turtle Care Center ambulance, on route to the South Carolina Aquarium


We wrapped up a beautiful year with an amazing new holiday light experience, Aquarium Aglow! Tens of thousands of lights shone bright throughout the Aquarium, and we cannot wait to bring you more magic in the 2022 holiday season!

Lights hang at the South Carolina Aquarium, overlooking the Ravenel Bridge in the Charleston Harbor, at Aquarium Aglow

Here’s to you, the South Carolina Aquarium family. May we experience even more progress, innovation and fun in the year to come!

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