Welcome back to my discussion of the South Carolina Aquarium! I'll just jump right in...
The coastal area was my favorite. Going out into what seems like a large cage perched overlooking the Cooper River, you are in another open-air exhibit; this one filled with all the different animals you find in the coastal areas of South Carolina. There are a number of different species of loose birds and some very unusual turtles. This exhibit also has a beautiful owl.
After the coastal area you come to the ocean, which seems to be the favorite among most people. After seeing a tank of schooling fish, flounder, weird fish with legs, and a couple of baby sea turtles (they are adorable!), you come to the main attraction of the aquarium, the 300,000-gallon Deep Ocean tank. This tank is full of sharks, eels, an enormous loggerhead turtle, and more fish than I could count. Sometimes they have a diver in the tank to talk about the different creatures you see. You can view this tank from a lot of different angles, which is great.
Make sure to look at the small but neat jellyfish exhibit when you are in this area. It is off to the side, so many people don't realize it is there. One tank is lit with blacklights so you can see the glowing colors they have.
After leaving the ocean, you come to the Discovery Lab area, which is great for the kids. They have a touch tank and different strange animals that a trainer discusses. Also in this area is the special exhibit. Right now they have an Amazon exhibit. I didn't go in because there is a huge anaconda and I'm terrified of snakes, but my roommate said it was really cool.
I think the aquarium is a wonderful place for anyone, and I highly recommend it. If you have kids, they may especially appreciate it, since they are probably tired of being dragged around to restored houses! Make sure to check out the gift shop, too. It has some really great merchandise that you might not expect.