Overlooking Charleston Harbor, The Shallows is an outdoor exhibit where you can meet both cownose and southern stingrays. Housed in a 20,000-gallon tank, the exhibit offers rare access to these fascinating creatures. Not only can you get up close-up views of them, but you can touch them, too!
For safety, staff is on hand to teach guests the proper stingray-touching technique: a gentle, two-finger stroke applied along the back and wings. For the well-being of the animal, no contact is made with the rays’ eyes, mouth or tail. And rest assured that all stingrays are well-groomed as they receive harmless, regular barb trims from staff veterinarians to eliminate the risk of stings.
At the shallow end of the exhibit, the tank is 3-feet deep, allowing visitors to reach into the water and feel the animals' smooth skin. An observation window offers guests an underwater view of the rays, which tend to stay close to the bottom. There are also great views from the top, where guests, including those in wheelchairs and strollers, can watch the marine life swimming.
For the ultimate experience, each day the aquarium offers a limited number of vouchers for purchase that allow guests to feed the stingrays. Staff members will guide you as you feed hungry rays their yummy fish treat.
There's even more hands-on fun inside where guests will find two touch tanks. One is home to invertebrates (animals without a backbone) such as sea stars, hermit crabs and purple sea urchins and the other is teeming with horseshoe crabs, Atlantic stingrays and chain dogfish - which are actually sharks!
As with every exhibit at South Carolina Aquarium, the staff have a wealth of knowledge to share with guests. You are guaranteed to leave with a deeper understanding of these and other amazing creatures that call South Carolina home, from the mountains to the sea.
The Shallows is included with general admission to the South Carolina Aquarium. For more information on this and other exhibits, click here.