‘Tis the season to make lifelong memories, and the Aquarium is your destination for festive fun! Visit us with family and friends to experience the magic of the holidays with visits from Santa, pop-up animal programming, evenings featuring our holiday light spectacular, Aquarium Aglow, and much more.

A young boy in winter clothing looks up at Santa Claus, who holds a letter in his hands.

Santa Sundays

Santa Claus is coming to Charleston! Stop by the Aquarium on Santa Sundays to meet jolly old St. Nick himself and pose for a keepsake photo. Please note, either a general admission ticket or member reservation for the Aquarium is required to participate in Santa Sundays.

Santa visits will take place 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m. on the following dates:
12/4, 12/11, 12/18

A snake looks toward the camera while slithering through a Christmas tree. Its tongue is out.

Pop-Up Programs and Activities

We’re not the only ones celebrating the holiday season — our animals are taking part in the festivities, too! Keep an eye out during your visit to see our creatures enjoying new holiday decor in their environment, snacking on specially made holiday fish pops or accompanying an educator for up-close animal encounters on the floor. Plus, kids can complete a special scavenger hunt to receive a prize!

A cownose stingray at the South Carolina Aquarium swims is seen through a viewing area at The Shallows at the South Carolina Aquarium.

Feed the RAYndeer

You’ve heard of leaving treats for Santa’s reindeer, but what about fishy snacks for the Aquarium’s RAYndeer? Hand feed our cownose rays in The Shallows from 10:15 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, while supplies last. Feeding vouchers are available for $5 at Admissions and the Information Desk during your next visit.

A red mailbox labeled North Pole sits in front of a tank at the 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.” Just drop in your letter and we’ll ensure it reaches its destination!


Aquarium Aglow

The wonder of the season comes alive at Aquarium Aglow! Gather friends and loved ones to journey through the Aquarium, becoming immersed in waves of color from tens of thousands of lights. Installations, from warm and nostalgic to awe-inspiring and contemporary, transform the Aquarium you know and love. Combined with interactive displays and refreshments (food, wine and beer available for purchase), Aquarium Aglow is an experience sure to become a holiday tradition for many!

A family stands in front of a tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™ at South Carolina Aquarium. A sea turtle swims in the tank as a man holds a baby and a woman points and smiles at the turtle.

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 this holiday season. Plus, a portion of proceeds from every gift on our list 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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