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Ripley’s Aquarium takes guests on an oceanic exploration

Ocean Reef Resort is considered one of Myrtle Beach’s top-notch resorts, with its outstanding accommodations and amenities underlined with a distinctive tropical vibe.

Giant Tiki men stand guard in the water park, where children and adults have fun splashing around or lazily taking in the action poolside.  There is also a kiddie water park and a sinking ship game to enjoy among other activities.

But your aquatic adventures don’t have to stop there – Ripley’s Aquarium is just around the bend.

As South Carolina’s most visited attraction, Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is replete with numerous ocean wonders. It is truly a feast for the eyes.

Any one who appreciates the mystery and beauty of the ocean will be in awe of the sights seen at the 85,000-square foot facility located at Broadway at the Beach.

Fish, frogs, sharks, iguanas, stingrays, octopus and various other sea creatures call this gargantuan aquarium home.

Ocean dwellers from around the globe glide, slide, slink and swim their way around an array of aquarium domains.

In the Rioz Amazon Tropical Rainforest aquarium, carnivorous and herbivorous piranhas are on display. The herbivores, also known as pacus, can weigh up to 44 pounds. The carnivore species, although quite smaller, are noted for being ferocious and fearless.

One of the world’s largest freshwater fish, the Arapaima, or pirarucu , is also on display at Ripley’s Aquarium. Although the fish is permitted to be hunt in some remote areas of the Amazon basin, the Brazilian government has banned commercial fishing of this species because of its commercial extinction, according to Wikipedia.  The fish has a recorded weight of 440 pounds and has been as long as 8.2 feet.

The Living Gallery area of the aquarium highlights a wide collection of sea life, including living corals, jellies, sea anemones and Pacific Giant Octopus.

Another fascinating display at Ripley’s Aquarium is the Dangerous Reef exhibit. Visitors to this area of the aquarium get to ride along a 340-footlong glide path that slowly takes them through a tunnel aquarium where giant stingrays, sawfish, JAWS-like sharks, grunts, squirrelfish and other sea inhabitants swim above and beside you. The experience does make folks feel as if they are truly under the sea.

Actually, Ripley’s Aquarium magically transports visitors to the regions where the marine life originated. The experience is wondrous, sometimes surreal and always fascinating – believe it or not.

If you go:
What: Ripley’s Aquarium
Where: 1110 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29577
When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday (open year-around)
(Online) Cost: Adults, $19.99; Children (ages 6-11), $12.99; Children (ages 2-5), $4.99
Information: Call (843) 916-0888 or (800)-734-8888. You can also visit http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach/
Directions from Ocean Reef Resort: Start out going southwest on North Ocean Boulevard/S.C. 73 toward 71st Ave. N. Take the first right onto 71st Ave. N. Turn left on North Kings Highway/U.S. 17 BR. Turn right onto 29th Ave. N. Take the third left. Turn right onto Loop road. You have arrived at Ripley’s Aquarium.

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