November 24–December 31

Festive fish, spirited sea turtles, jolly jellies… wherever you look, the Aquarium is bringing holiday celebrations to life! Gather friends and family to join us for joyful fun with Santa Sundays, daily dive shows with elves, a chance to feed our RAYndeer and so much more!

a scuba diver wearing an elf costume waves at two children standing in front of an aquarium tank

Dive Into Holiday Fun

Join us for daily dive shows featuring festive elves in the Great Ocean Tank, and dive deeper into the magic with special animal programs throughout the day. Keep an eye out during your visit, as you may see our animals with some new holiday decor in their environment, snacking on frozen fish pops or accompanying an educator for up-close animal encounters. Plus, you can complete our “12 Rays of FISHmas” scavenger hunt to receive a prize!

Santa Claus sits and smiles toward the camera

Santa Sundays

Mix and a-mingle with Kris Kringle! Santa’s taking three trips to Charleston in preparation for Christmas, and you can meet him at the Aquarium. During Santa Sundays, guests can meet Santa in the Great Hall and have their photo taken with him! And we don’t know if there’ll be snow, but you can have a cup of cheer. Thanks to Charleston Coffee Roasters, you can sip on delicious hot coffee during the festivities! General admission tickets or member reservations are required to participate in Santa Sundays.

Santa is back at the North Pole to prepare for Christmas, but he will be back to visit on Santa Sundays next year!

a cownose stingray shows its mouth as it swims upward in an aquarium

Feed the RAYndeer

Reindeer may traditionally eat carrots, but our RAYndeer prefer fish! Come face to face with lively cownose rays in The Shallows, and if you’re in the spirit of giving, you can purchase a feeding voucher to give the rays a fishy treat yourself! Vouchers can be purchased at Admissions or the Information Desk; 10:15 a.m.–4 p.m. while supplies last.

a red mail box reading "North Pole" stands in front of the Carolina Seas exhibit at South Carolina Aquarium

Letters to Santa

As you wander through our galleries full of merriment, be on the lookout for a special red mailbox labeled “North Pole.” Simply drop in your letter to Santa, and we’ll make sure it reaches its destination!


Aquarium Aglow

On select nights this holiday season, the Aquarium will open its doors at dusk for a dazzling light spectacular. From the icy starlight of the mountains to the neon lights of the coast, let wildlife lead the way to celebration this holiday season! Make memories to last a lifetime as you wave to Scuba Claus in the Great Ocean Tank, indulge in festive refreshments (including adult beverages) and capture frame-worthy moments at multiple photo ops. Buy your tickets early to guarantee the best price!

a man, woman and baby look into the Sea Turtle Care Center™ at South Carolina Aquarium. The woman points toward a loggerhead sea turtle swimming in a recovery tank.

Gifts That Give Back

This year, spread holiday cheer while making a difference with gifts that give back! Our gift guide includes options for everyone on your list, and when you shop, you’ll be giving the Aquarium a gift, too. A portion of proceeds from every gift goes directly toward fulfilling our mission, including caring for sick and injured sea turtles, providing education programming for students and continuing our critical conservation work both within our walls and beyond.

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