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Ripley’s Aquarium: An oceanic adventure awaiting Atlantica Resort’s visitors

There is plenty to enjoy here, and high on the Richter scale is Ripley’s Myrtle Beach Aquarium. Since it is just a little over two miles from Atlantica, it provides a quick fix if you want pleasure on your vacation plate the entire family will enjoy.
Ripley’s Aquarium has something fascinating and entertaining for folks of all ages because it brings the inhabitants of the ocean to you – up close.

From beginning to end, Ripley’s Aquarium transports visitors into different regions of the ocean so they can witness the beauty, wonder and uniqueness of each creature.

Rio Amazon highlights sea dwellers in a recreated habitat reflective of a primitive rainforest, where there are more than 2,000 fish species upon which eyes can gaze and scrutinize.
Fish and sea creatures in the Rio Amazon aquarium include armored catfish, zebra cichlids, mudskippers, green iguanas and freshwater stingrays.

Piranhas, the ones that eat meat and the ones that eat plants, are also in the Rio Amazon aquarium. The herbivores of the species, also known as pacus, can weigh as much as 44 pounds. The carnivorous piranhas are diminutive; yet, what they lack in size, they make up in sheer ferociousness and bravery.

Another fascinating inhabitant of the Rio Amazon exhibit is the arapaima or pirarucu.  According to Wikipedia, it is a living fossil and one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, measuring more than 6.6 feet – the most massive has been as long as 8.2 feet, with a “maximum-cited weight” of 440 pounds. This Amazon native, according to Ripley’s Aquarium website, makes a breathing sound that can be heard as far as 100 feet away. Another intriguing characteristic is the creature’s tongue, which is extremely coarse. Folks dwelling in the Amazon region use the arapaima’s tongue to grate food.

In the aquarium called Dangerous Reef, you will see thousands of oceanic residents in what is Ripley’s Aquarium prime and most popular exhibit. You, alone, or together with family and friends, will journey through the aquarium on a gentle, slow-moving 340-foot long glide path. While riding, you will snake your way through an aquatic tunnel and look into the eyes and nostrils (when applicable) of sharks, a green sea turtle, tarpons, stingrays and more.

The Living Gallery will take you on a different kind of adventure that is just as amazing. While viewing this aquarium presentation, you’ll encounter bizarre and beautiful sea dwellers.

The weedy sea dragon, for example, has appendages that resemble flower or tree leaves. It is a fish that moves like molasses while intriguing beholders with its unusual appearance. Octopus, sea nettles (cnidarians ordinarily called jellyfish) and lionfish are also among the inhabitants of the Living Gallery.

Other exhibits at Ripley’s Aquarium include Rainbow Rock, where some of the most colorful marine life calls home (clownfish, Moorish idol, foxface rabbitfish and others); and Friendship Flats, a shallow lagoon where folks can reach out and touch rays as they swim by.

Essentially, you can spend untold hours enjoying the varied exhibits and experiences of Ripley’s Aquarium and return to the comfortable confines of Atlantica thoroughly entertained and probably just as exhausted. So, relax and rejuvenate because vacations were designed for you to do those very things.

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: (843) 916-0888 or (800)-734-8888
Directions from Atlantica Resort: Take the first left onto 21st Ave. N. Turn right onto Robert M. Grissom Parkway. Turn left onto 29th Ave. N. Take the first left. Turn right onto Loop Road. You have arrived. If you reach Resort Drive, you have gone too far.

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