This was our first full day in Charleston. We woke up to 42 degrees with a real feel of 35... in South Carolina. It was also cloudy and there was a bit of wind.
Our first stop for the day was to visit Fort Sumter which involved a ferry ride to and from the Fort. I knew it would be even colder on the water so we had to wear our winter coats... again.
From Mount Pleasant, it was about a 20 minute drive to Aquarium Wharf were we parked in the garage for $5 for the whole day. Being used to NYC parking prices, this was a dream! We parked and walked a short bit over to the Fort Sumter building. I had purchased a package online that included the ferry to Fort Sumter and admission to the South Carolina aquarium. It gave you a small discount to purchase them together. I presented my printed reservation and was given the tickets to the ferry and the aquarium.
We had about 15 minutes until the ferry boarded so we walked around the small exhibit area inside the building. We headed outside to board and it was cold! We bundled up and settled in for the 30 minute ferry right to Fort Sumter. There was a recorded narration about what you could see and some history about Fort Sumter.
As we approached Fort Sumter, the ranger gave us a return time of a little over an hour and told us there would a ranger talk and flag raising ceremony at 10:30. It didn't sound like much time but it was really plenty of time. Everything inside the fort is original and there were plenty of informational signs explaining what you were looking at. We explored all around and then went to the flagpole area for the ranger talk. The ranger gave an interesting talk about the civil war and it's place in history. He then asked for volunteers to assist in the flag raising.
We had about 15 minutes left to explore before we had to head back to the ferry. There was a small museum area that we didn't go into but other than that, we saw the rest of the fort.
We opted to sit in the downstairs area on the ferry on the return trip in the hopes of warming up a bit. We were back at the dock at about 11:45 and headed next door to the South Carolina Aquarium.
The aquarium housed fish and wildlife specific to South Carolina. They also had a connection with Lego. So there would be an exhibit with the actual animal and then a Lego version of the animal next to it. It was kind of cool and kind of weird at the same time. I noticed many kids that were more interested in the Lego versions than the real thing.
I love seeing Bald Eagles and the exhibit was so close that it was easily my favorite part. It only took a little over an hour to walk around the entire place.
There was an "interesting" special event going on at the aquarium. There were mermaids from Weeki Wachee (in Florida) doing some special performances. It was a big deal. We entered the aquarium at the end of the first show and there was a huge crowd. As we finished seeing the aquarium, another showing was about to start so we stayed to check it out for a few minutes. The mermaid entered the tank and would swim around waving to the kids, while every once in a while taking oxygen from a hose that she held in her hand. Now I had never heard of Weeki Wachee Mermaids but a little internet research taught me that they have been performing in Florida since 1947.
After lasting about 5 minutes looking at mermaids, we left the aquarium and decided to make our dinner a late lunch instead. We finished the aquarium earlier than expected and debated trying to add something else to do or just calling it an early day. I had some work to get done and we have a long day tomorrow so we opted to call it a day.
For our late lunch, we went to the Tattooed Moose. I had found it on a site that mentioned restaurants featured on the Food Network. It was definitely a "dive" and it was a little scary to walk into. It wasn't overly big and by the time we left (about 3:15 pm) it was packed. They are known for their duck club and duck fat fries so I had to have both. They also used to have this amazing multi-layered chocolate cake. It was even still on the menu but when I asked for a slice to go, the waitress said they no longer carry it. So I chose peanut butter pie. The pie was good, but I still would have liked the chocolate cake.
Tomorrow is another full day in Charleston and then driving to destination #3.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.