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Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach -- A Day In Ray Bay

Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach -- A Day In Ray Bay

Grab your trunks, scoop up your family, and head to Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle

Beach for a chance to swim alongside some of nature's most exotic undersea fauna!

Stingray aficionados and brave young marine explorers alike have discovered a sweet spot in their quest for an up close and personal experience at Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. At Ripley's Aquarium (yes, that's the same Ripley's that does Believe It Or Not), a beautiful stingray environment hosts southern rays, spotted eagle rays, and guitarfish in a child-friendly setup that lets all comers swim with the rays.

Stingrays, despite the dangerous sounding name, are generally docile and prefer to flee from a disturbance rather than attack it -- making them excellent first companions for young swimmers. Even better, because rays in the wild have a startling ability to hide themselves under sand and silt, environments like the one in Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach offer a rare opportunity to watch these unique creatures undulate through the waters.

The controlled environment also prevents swimmers from accidentally stepping on a stingray -- the number one cause of stingray attacks. While even the rays at Ripley's have venomous stingers, the safety of the habitat combined with the socialization of the rays (they're accustomed to human company) makes for a completely safe experience. No swimmer has ever been stung in the Myrtle Beach aquarium's Ray Bay. Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach -- A Day In Ray Bay

Some rays have powerful jaws meant to crack open shellfish, and because stingrays have eyes on the topsides of their flat bodies, but mouths on the bottom, they don't always know what they're munching on. The danger of being bitten is minimal as long as you obey the cardinal rule of ray-petting: keep your hands on the top side of the ray. That way, the rays know what is touching them, and you keep your hand away from the dangerous parts.

Of course, all of these rules are covered and enforced by the Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach staff, who are intimately familiar with the animals and their tendencies. With the well-trained and observant guides on duty, the humans are kept safe from the animals and vice versa.

Ray Bay is available as a walk-around exhibit for aquarium-goers, and the chance to pet a ray is granted to standard customers as well, but the true Ray Bay experience can only be obtained via a special pass. Explorers who invest in a Ray Bay pass will get a behind-the-scenes tour of Ray Bay and the rest of the aquarium, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with and feed the rays, plus some special souvenirs. And stingray fans that have their dive certification can participate in a special dive into the ray's special sanctum -- the depths of the Myrtle Beach aquarium's Ray Bay.

The next time you're wondering what to do on a rainy day, or your junior aquanauts are seeking something exciting to occupy an afternoon, give them an experience that they'll never forget: send them to the rays. Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach will make them feel like the bravest explorers in the seas.

by: John Miller
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