Sleep With the Sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach

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Don't get us wrong. The Strand's friendly staff would love for you to be our guests and spend every night of your Myrtle Beach vacation in our luxurious resort. But we would certainly understand if you decide to check out this unique overnight opportunity at Ripley's Aquarium with the “Sleep with the Sharks” event.

The 85,000 square foot facility, which features 1.2 million gallons of water, is home to all kinds of aquatic sea life on display at the Broadway at the Beach Complex. Ripley's Aquarium recently added this sleepover activity to its lineup, giving guests the rare opportunity to sleep with the fishes – not like in the mobster movies, but more like a cross between the classic films “Jaws” and “Night at the Museum.”

Overnight guests are invited to bring a sleeping bag and pillow and experience the underwater magic of Ripley's Aquarium at night. A full evening of activities are scheduled before the slumber party moves to the popular Danger Reef display, a 750,000-gallon tank filled with various species of sharks from around the world. Guests can get up close and personal with their new roommates, including those with feet and fins.

Overnight guests arrive just as regular visitors are calling it a night and leaving for the evening, but that's when all the sleepover fun begins. Start the experience with a behind-the-scene tour, and a mermaid and dive show before joining fellow guests in competing in a scavenger hunt with hidden clues scattered throughout the facility. Top it off with a bedtime snack, then make your way to the 330-foot moving walkway that takes you to your sleeping spot.

Ripley's Aquarium offers two different overnight programs – the “Sharks After Dark” family sleepover, which are scheduled for specific nights throughout the year, and the “Kids Night Out” sleepover for ages 6 through 14. Ripley's experienced guides serve as chaperones who show overnight guests a good time while also shedding some light on the nighttime habits of aquatic sea life with an educational presentation.

The next family sleepover is slated for Saturday, Oct. 17, with more dates scheduled throughout the year. If you can't make it for a scheduled date but you still want to experience an evening under the sea you can book a special sleepover event for groups of 15 or more. If you don't have quite enough humans to schedule a night with the sharks, contact Ripley's Aquarium anyway. There may be another partial group willing to merge.

The next kids-night-out is set for Oct. 31 in conjunction with the annual Halloween event, the Boo-quarium Bash. Let the little ones experience trick-or-treating and other fun holiday activities at Ripley's Aquarium while parents hit the adult Halloween party next door at Broadway at the Beach's Celebrity Square. The Nov. 26 “Black Friday” event lets parents get a jump on Christmas shopping while kids sleep over. Other dates include Dec. 18 for winter break, Dec. 31 for a New Year's Eve Bash, and March 30 for spring break.

Ripley’s Aquarium also offers special birthday parties (mermaid theme for girls, pirates for boys) that can include a sleepover. Enjoy birthday cake and party games, along with a visit from mascot Sharky, for a memorable birthday experience. In November, Ripley’s Aquarium welcomes back its annual “50 Trees of Christmas” display, featuring a theme-decoration tree for each state. There’s even more in store for visitors in 2016.

Guests at The Strand, Myrtle Beach should check their Sun & Fun Bonus package for one free admission ticket to Ripley’s Aquarium. Even if you can’t spend the night, you and your crew can enjoy Danger Reef, Ray Bay, Rainbow Rock, Rio Amazon and a lot more during regular visiting hours. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


(Posted: 10/6/15)