6 Amazing Animal Attractions in Myrtle Beach

It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll spot a dolphin jumping from the beach, at least at some point during your vacation in Myrtle Beach. This stretch of South Carolina’s coast is home to alligators, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles, and dozens of beautiful birds.

There are few cooler things for little kids than seeing animals up close. And not only is the Grand Strand home to plenty of it’s own wildlife but there are dozens of amazing animal attractions in Myrtle Beach. As a Myrtle Beach native, I’ve sought out the best of the best, from riding horses along the beach to the must-visit zoos and aquariums.

1) Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach: Attractions in Myrtle Beach
Photo: Ripley's Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium is home to sharks, a clever octopus, a rescued sea turtle named Gabby, and some seriously funky sea horses. The star of the show is a moving sidewalk that takes you on a slow journey through a tunnel of sharks and a vibrant reef. Schools of fish swim by and eels slither out of their hiding places. It’s a fantastic experience because you can take as long as you’d like by hopping off the moving belt.

This attraction in Myrtle Beach is also known for their hands-on experiences. Kids can hold a horseshoe crab, or touch stingrays (these rays are highly trained professionals). You can also take advantage of their educational programs with animal care specialists where kids can learn about animal behavior, habitats, and more.

What you need to know
Phone: (800) 734-8888
Address: 1110 Celebrity Cir, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

2) The Lowcountry Zoo at Brookgreen Gardens

The Lowcountry Zoo: Attractions in Myrtle Beach
Photo: The Lowcountry Zoo

Brookgreen Gardens, just south of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, is a gorgeous botanical and sculpture garden that’s also home to the Lowcountry Zoo. In it you’ll find frisky otters, romping and swimming. You’ll be challenged to find the foxes as they hide, just as foxes do in the wild.  And you’ll meet an eagle with an interesting story of survival. This attraction in Myrtle Beach is like no other and definitely worth your time.

The zoo is included with the price of admission at Brookgreen Gardens. Be sure to check out one of the many educational programs offered each month. For an extra fee, you can take a pontoon boat ride on the river that runs through the gardens and see alligators, coastal birds, and other native animals in their natural habitats.

Just across from the zoo is the Storybook Forest. It’s a beautiful play area filled with miniature houses, a pirate ship, and a castle for your little one to get some energy out and engage their imagination!

What you need to know
Phone: (843) 235-6000
Address: 1931 Brookgreen Garden Dr, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

3) Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show

Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show: Attractions in Myrtle Beach
Photo: Pirate's Voyage

Pirate’s Voyage is one of a few great dinner shows in Myrtle Beach. As the name implies, it depicts a swashbuckling battle for lost treasure appealing to the pirate lovers in your family. The theater itself is an experience with the pirate-theme commanding your attention from the moment you enter the building.

The acts in the show feature diving, silks, aerial stunts, tumbling, and dancing, but the highlight is the sea lion. Kids will be thrilled and adults amazed. During the show, dinner is served with more food than you can eat. Don’t worry, you can take the leftovers home!

Advanced ticket purchase is recommended during the vacation season as this is a top attraction in Myrtle Beach. You’ll also want to arrive early to enjoy pre-show entertainment!

What you need to know
Phone: (843) 497-9700
Address: 8901 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

4) L.W. Paul Living History Farm

L.W. Paul Living History Farm: Myrtle Beach History
Photo: L.W. Paul Living History Farm

It’s a hands-on look at the Grand Strand’s rich farming heritage. You’ll experience a day on a farm out of the early 1900’s. There are demonstrations of blacksmithing, plowing, curing meat, and caring for livestock.

L.W. Paul Living History Farm is a great off-beach excursion. Located in western Conway, SC, the farm is an extension of the Horry County Museum.

What you need to know
Phone: (843) 365-3596
Address: 2279 Harris Short Cut Rd, Conway, SC 29526

5) Inlet Point Plantation

Inlet Point Plantation: Attractions in Myrtle Beach
Photo: Inlet Point Plantation

Horse lovers, listen up. This one is for you!

How romantic does it sound to explore a South Carolina plantation and then head to the beach on horseback? Imagine hearing the waves roll in while you trot along the sand. It’s peaceful and serene. Off you go, galloping through the water, the wind rushing through your hair.

North Myrtle Beach is host to the Inlet Point Plantation where you can book a horseback riding tour based on your skill level, desired scenery, and amount of time you’d like to spend. Tours start at one hour and include special occasion rides just for two. The sunset beach ride is an attraction in Myrtle Beach that feels like something out of a romance novel.

What you need to know
Phone: (843) 249-2989
Address: 5800 Little River Neck Rd, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582

6) Dolphin Watching Tours

Myrtle Beach Dolphin Tours
Photo: Little River Fishing Fleet

Dolphins are a common sight from the sands of the Grand Strand, but they’re not always easy to spot. There’s a good amount of squinting and waiting. Beach-goers often ask each other, “Did you see a dolphin?” The answer is usually “I think I saw a fin. There are no sharks here right? Right?”

Finding a dolphin in Myrtle Beach isn’t hard, but it can take some time. If you’re dying to catch a glimpse of these graceful creatures up close, head out onto the sea.

Myrtle Beach Watersports, with various locations in the Grand Strand, offers dolphin cruises in the Atlantic. Aboard either the Sea Screamer or Sea Thunder, you’ll get a tour of South Carolina’s beautiful Intracoastal Waterway and out onto the big blue Atlantic Ocean. There you’ll lots see lots of dolphins up close!

If you want to actually get in the water with dolphins, Myrtle Beach Watersports fires up the jet skis and sends you out on a guided tour. They have a dolphin sighting guarantee, which means if your excursion happens to be dolphin-free, you’ll get to return for another try.

What you need to know
Phone: (843) 903-3456
Address: 101 Fantasy Harbour Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

Caribbean Resort Wasterslide
Photo: Caribbean Resort and Villas

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About Melissa Byers

Melissa Byers, founder of MyrtleBeachforFamilies.com and a regular contributor to the BabyCenter Blog, has been a writer and editorial professional for the last ten years. She and her husband are longtime Myrtle Beach residents and raising two little surfer girls there. Committed to wearing flip-flops as often as possible, she enjoys the smell of salty air and staring blankly at the ocean.