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Reeling in visitors year-round with exciting and educational activities such as up-close shark encounters, hands-on stingray experiences, live dive and mermaid shows, and other aquatic adventures spotlighting the creatures of the deep, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has long been a top destination for family-friendly, ocean-oriented fun. And during the holiday season, the attraction’s appeal grows even more with the annual Ripley’s Aquarium Festival of Trees.
In addition to the usual lineup of wet and wild attractions found at the aquarium — located at Grand Strand shopping/dining/entertainment hot spot Broadway at the Beach — the 2018 edition of the Festival of Trees sees 100-plus uniquely decorated and themed trees displayed throughout the sprawling Ripley’s Aquarium facility. And further adding to the destination’s family appeal, admission to the daily event is included in the regular Ripley’s Aquarium ticket price!
The Nov. 9-Dec. 31 Festival of Trees, which made its Grand Strand debut in 2001 with just 10 trees, has gradually expanded this number over the ensuing 15-plus years to reach the current triple-digit figure. Many of the trees are decked out with Christmas lights and decorations as the aquarium takes on a distinctly holiday vibe — one that even sees the aquarium’s mascot shark Sharky don Santa’s signature red-and-white suit.
Meant to represent the United States’ diversity, another 50 of the trees are adorned with decorations celebrating each state’s personality and traditions. For example, the Louisiana tree is adorned with Mardi Gras masks, beads and colors, while the Kentucky tree features red roses inspired by the Kentucky Derby and the Nevada tree is crowned with a Las Vegas-style feather headdress. Representing the Grand Strand’s home state, the 18-foot-tall South Carolina tree is covered in shells, golf balls, magnolia blossoms, and USC Gamecock and Clemson Tiger trimmings. Adding to the fun, a free scavenger hunt activity tests guests’ knowledge of the 50 states and their representative trees.
To learn more about this festive event and to get your Ripley’s Aquarium tickets, visit the attraction’s website at ripleyaquariums.com. And, after planting the seeds of holiday cheer at the Ripley’s Aquarium Festival of Trees, return to Long Bay Resort to spend some quality family time in your comfortable oceanfront accommodations and pamper yourself with some of the resort’s many exciting amenities. Book your Myrtle Beach vacation today — and get ready to soak up some Christmas spirit in Grand Strand style!