Three Charleston Harbor attractions offering one convenient pass

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The South Carolina Aquarium, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, and the Charleston Water Taxi announced a new, joint promotion: the Charleston Waterfront Pass. For the first time, the three organizations have partnered to create a special pass that is perfect for families and visitors who want to see two of the top Charleston-area attractions and enjoy a boat ride across the harbor.

Passholders can choose to begin their waterfront adventure at either the South Carolina Aquarium or Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and then take in breathtaking views of the Charleston Harbor while riding the Charleston Water Taxi to the remaining attraction. Visitors may show each attraction’s ticket staff their pass, and it will be redeemed for one standard admission ticket. Visits to each attraction are not required to take place on the same day, but must be used before the expiration date noted on the pass.

The Charleston Waterfront Pass is available exclusively through the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and can be purchased at its four staffed visitor centers:

? Downtown Charleston at 375 Meeting St.

? Kiawah Island at 4475 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy.

? Mount Pleasant at 99 Harry M. Hallman, Jr. Blvd.

? North Charleston at 4975-B Centre Pointe Dr.

The combined price of the pass allows visitors to save nearly $15 off the price of visiting each participating attraction on its own. Pricing is as follows:

? Adults (ages 13+): $52.95

? Children (ages 6-12): $38.95

? Children (ages 3-5): $26.95

For more information, media may contact South Carolina Aquarium Public Relations Manager Bethany Morgan (bmorgan@scaquarium.org) or Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum Public Information Officer Chris Hauff (chauff@patriotspoint.org).

About Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum:

Located on the Charleston Harbor, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is the top attraction in Mount Pleasant, SC and includes a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, 28 historic aircraft, and the only Vietnam Support Base Camp in the United States. The museum is also headquarters to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the agency’s official Medal of Honor Museum. Visit www.patriotspoint.org for more details, or find us at @patriots_point on Twitter and Instagram, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/PatriotsPoint.org. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The museum is only fully closed on Christmas Day and closes early (at 3:30 p.m.) on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve.

About the South Carolina Aquarium:

The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston’s No. 1 family attraction, features thousands of aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in more than 60 exhibits representing the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. Dedicated to promoting education and conservation, the Aquarium also presents sweeping views of the Charleston harbor along with interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages. The South Carolina Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Aquarium is closed Thanksgiving Day, half day Dec. 24 (open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Dec. 25. Visit www.scaquarium.org for more information.

Army Corps sets aside $45 million for Charleston Harbor

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Some political leaders say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing $45 million this year to help deepen a South Carolina harbor.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a news release Thursday the money will help pay to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet, the deepest on the East Coast.

South Carolina State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome would not talk about the money until it’s officially announced by the Army Corps. Newsome said in April the port needs $90 million in federal funds each year for three years to stay on schedule.

South Carolina lawmakers already provided the state’s share of $271 million. Even with Thursday’s announcement, the federal government has only provided $66 million of the $287 million it is supposed to pay.

Senator Lindsey Graham Statement

I’m very appreciative of the Trump Administration’s decision to dedicate nearly $50 million to deepen Charleston Harbor. When it comes to the Port of Charleston, President Trump listened and delivered.? OMB Director Mick Mulvaney was invaluable in making the case for the needs of Charleston.

?“This is great news for the Port of Charleston and the state of South Carolina.? Charleston Harbor deepening is about jobs – both today and in the future.? With this news we are one step closer to having the most dynamic port in the United States.?

“The nearly $50 million in the Army Corps’ work plan allows construction to go forward without delay and keeps the project on track.? And when it comes to Charleston Harbor deepening – and the needs and demands of international shipping – time is money.?

“It’s long been my belief that the sooner we get this project done, the better.? It remains a top priority for me and will continue to be so until it is complete.? ??

?“I also want to thank the congressional delegation – particularly my friend and colleague Tim Scott — for their unified efforts in support of the Port and Governor McMaster’s strong and effective voice.? I also very much appreciate the support of South Carolina State Senator Hugh Leatherman and the entire South Carolina State Legislature.?

“Charleston Harbor deepening has been a team effort.? I think we all understand this is a long term investment which will benefit South Carolina and American business in perpetuity.”

Merits of Adding the New Mount Pleasant Cruise Dock Port

By Mark A. Leon

I had the esteemed privilege of being part of a very insightful discussion about the new proposed cruise port in Mount Pleasant with some people very close to the design of this major Mount Pleasant initiative. ?After lengthy discussion, it became clear that there are several merits supporting this move.? It also came to my attention, that not all the relevant information has been understood by some that oppose or don’t fully understand the move.

Here are some bullet points you should know about this initiative that will show the value it will add to the Mount Pleasant, SC community.

  • The ships will only be docking initially about once a week.? There will be no adding of new passengers and unlike the Carnival Cruise ships we are accustomed to seeing, these vessels will only house about 200 plus passengers.
  • These will be high end cruise ships with affluent customers.? These customers will be a higher potential spending stream into the Mount Pleasant economy.
  • Passengers will utilize private buses to participate in day trips to places such as Boones Hall Plantation and the USS Yorktown.? This will not have an adverse effect on traffic adding more vehicles to the road ways.
  • Security for passengers on land will be maintained by off duty Mount Pleasant officers who will be receiving overtime and helping bring further financial support into our local law enforcement.
  • The ships will dock between Fort Sumter and Sullivan’s Island and take a water taxi to land.? Unless you are on the Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge or parts of the harbor, you will not notice the ship and given its size, it will blend into the aesthetics of the harbor.
  • These ships will be charged tourism tax in which part of that tax will go back into the Mount Pleasant budget to support road infrastructure improvements and more.
  • The ships will dock in the morning and depart by late afternoon.? The impact on the water ways of the harbor will be minimal and will not affect daily harbor activity.

Overall, this proposal brings in pure tourism revenue to the sites, attractions, retail and dining for Mount Pleasant, limited effect on traffic, additional funding for improvements in the city and extra opportunities for local law enforcement to gain revenue.

In additional, the Coast Guard and Homeland Security have provided their thumbs up and support for the proposal.? This is strong collective effort that has a promising impact one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and will also bring awareness to some of the magnificent offerings Mount Pleasant possesses.

A Day at the South Carolina Aquarium

Story and Photography by Mark A. Leon

In the coastal town of Charleston, South Carolina where charm and warm Southern etiquette are part of our DNA, it is fitting that we have an aquarium pitted right on the Charleston Harbor that deems the same beauty and respect as the rest of our colony.? Charleston is a place passionate about history, knowledge and marine biology.? From the sharks to the gators, stingrays to starfish, the interest for aquatic life is one that fuels us with ambition, intrigue and desire.? Even for those that have Southern blood through and through, the sighting of a dolphin or sea turtle is one filled with wonder.

As I walked through the floors of the South Carolina Aquarium with a spectacular view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and passing sailboats in the back, I was taken to a time of innocence when I was a little boy and all I wanted to do was see all the colors of the fish, touch them as they swam beneath the water and talk to them hoping through some miracle they would talk back and with the addition of new Lego displays, that feeling of childhood was intensified.

Whether you are five years old or eighty, there is a place for you at the aquarium.? With wide open spaces, a staff that truly loves to teach and awe inspiring moments including an eight foot albino alligator and majestic bald eagle, you will not regret a day of escape and learning.

Come with me as we share a photo expose of a day at the South Carolina Aquarium.

Welcome to Liberty Square

 

 

Stingray
Stingray

 

Spectacular view of the harbor
Spectacular view of the harbor

 

Proud bald eagle loves to pose
Proud bald eagle loves to pose

 

Otters have a soothing waterfall to put them to sleep
Otters have a soothing waterfall to put them to sleep

 

Lego otter
Lego otter

 

Lego frog
Lego frog

 

Alligator
Alligator

 

Gator up close
Gator up close

 

A view poisonous snakes are lurking
A view poisonous snakes are lurking

 

Turtles just trotting along
Turtles just trotting along

 

Lego shark - Great photo opportunity
Lego shark – Great photo opportunity

 

Need information? Go to the Shrimp Shack
Go to the Shrimp Shack to purchase food to feed the outdoor water creatures

 

Bricks Alive - Where Lego and fish co-exist
Bricks Alive – Where Lego and fish co-exist

 

Nemo and Dory playing in their Lego home
Nemo and Dory playing in their Lego home

 

Love to pet the baby sharks
Love to pet the baby sharks

 

Starfish
Starfish

 

The rich colors and style of the ocean life
The rich colors and style of the ocean life

 

We are all in school to learn
We are all in school to learn

 

Just getting along
Just getting along

 

Lego dolphin - Sorry, no real ones
Lego dolphin – Sorry, no real ones

 

Belly flopping shark
Belly flopping shark

 

Rich blues of the ocean floor
Rich blues of the ocean floor

 

Just Flounering Around
Just Flounering Around

 

You Lookin' At Me?
You Lookin’ At Me?

 

Look Out! Its a Shark
Look Out! Its a Shark

 

Ollie’s Trading Post

 

Sea Turtle Love

If you have not visited, it is time to make your way, so round up the family and enjoy a day with the wonders of the water.? If you have already walked the hallowed halls, why not remember why you loved it in the first place.

For locals, the SC Aquarium offers wonderful annual passes/memberships.? Their new membership cards are now being produced with biodegradable material and make for a wonderful gift.

Learn more about the aquarium

SpiritLine Cruises, Gray Line of Charleston Announce Key Improvements to Accommodate Charleston’s Growing Tourism Market

Media Release:? SpiritLine Cruises, Gray Line of Charleston Announce Key Improvements?to Accommodate Charleston’s Growing Tourism Market

CHARLESTON, S.C. – To best meet the needs of Charleston’s growth as a popular tourism and special event destination, SpiritLine Cruises has upgraded several aspects of its business, including adding new tour buses, upgrading audio/visual equipment on the tour boats and bringing on board a new executive chef committed to giving guests a complete fine dining experience.

Both the Spirit of Carolina and the Spirit of the Lowcountry tour boats have been outfitted with new state-of-the-art audio/visual systems. The upgraded systems have improved amplifiers and speakers for better sound quality ideal for everything from sharing information with passengers to providing musical entertainment during a dinner cruise. Audio mixers will better mix the sounds of live bands on the performance deck and lower deck. This speaker system includes multiple levels and zones for crystal clear sound coverage across all decks.

SpiritLine also added to Spirit of the Lowcountry two Planar Media Players that provide high-resolution content to two new Samsung 50-inch TV sets plus two 2 smaller TV sets with tilt mounts. These displays will allow for an interactive visitor experience and virtual narration by Fort Sumter Tours trained tour guides. The Spirit of Carolina also has two, 70-inch Sharp TV sets visible from the inside decks.

Guests joining SpiritLine for a dinner cruise, wedding reception or business function will have the chance to sample cuisine from new Executive Chef Shawn Eustace. A Charleston native, Eustace began cooking at an early age, eventually attending Trident Technical College to study culinary arts and working his way up through local taverns, management and ultimately to fine dining.

“I believe in staying true to your roots, while applying different approaches from different styles, and that is what I want to continue,” Eustace said. “Incorporating every aspect of gained knowledge while keeping true to my base and home-style cooking is what makes my job enjoyable.”

The company’s last major change this year is the addition of three buses to its Gray Line of Charleston fleet. The Diamond Coach offers comfortable seating, cup holders, TV screens, plenty of windows for easy visibility and many more features to give customers a smooth ride as they go sightseeing around Charleston.

“Charleston continues to receive accolades and recognition as a world-class destination for individual tourists as well as weddings, special events and corporate conferences and retreats,” said Ian Harris, director of sales and marketing. “We are continually making improvements, upgrading equipment and bringing on the best staff members to help us fulfill our mission of giving each of our guests a first-class experience.”

About SpiritLine Cruises
In 1961 the Campsen family of Charleston founded Fort Sumter Tours to provide daily excursions to the Fort Sumter National Monument. Today, Fort Sumter Tours and partner SpiritLine Cruises provide daily access to this living monument, along with other memorable experiences for residents and guests of Charleston. SpiritLine continues to expand its fleet and offering of daily harbor tours, evening dinner cruises and private charters. For more information, visit spiritlinecruises.com.

Sunrise on The Battery – Quiet Morning in Charleston

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

There is nothing more spectacular than a Charleston sunrise or sunset.? What makes a sunrise so remarkable is the absolute tranquility and silence that compliments a visual show of elegant serenity.? So often, we distracted by the tourists, cars, carriages, golf carts, dogs, runners, bikers and cameras that we lose sight of just home important a quiet moment can be to clear our minds and free our souls.

The Battery captures the essence of a true Charleston sunrise.? With the sun rising from the Harbor on the East and the colors of Rainbow Row and the flowers that ordain the walkway exploding in a shower of positive energy, it is a treat to see.? As you walk or sit, locals with be out for an early morning jog or to walk the dogs.? Don’t hesitate to smile and say good morning.? You know they will.

This visual point of view should sway your intentions to set your alarm a little bit earlier and experience this for yourself or with someone you love.

Good morning Charleston.? A flower to symbolize the start of a beautiful day

There is something magical about that yellow ball rising from the harbor

The smell of the flowers add to the experience

The reflection in the water goes right to your toes

Whether you look to your left or right, the view is perfect

The Palmer House is always a sight to see at 5 East Battery

The very first moments of dawn are a rainbow in the sky

All calm in the Charleston Harbor

Eclectic realm of natural life

All is right when you start your day with a quiet sunrise at The Battery

The Battery – Charleston, SC: The Great Escape

The Battery is a scenic walk along the Charleston Harbor ordained with history plantation homes, lines of palmetto trees, colorful flowers and at the right moment a cool soft breeze to alleviate the pressures of the summer heat.

We all have our personal experiences and and routines at The Battery.? For some, who take for granted or have not spent time recently at the Battery, you are missing one of the most serene places in all of Charleston.? We spent some time at the South Battery over the weekend and thought we would remind you of some of the great things you can do.

  • Picnic where the first shots of the Civil War were fired
  • Bike with someone you love along the Harbor
  • Go for a morning or evening jog as the sun rises and sets over the Charleston Harbor
  • Go for a local personal walking tour of the beautiful historic Plantation homes along The Battery
  • Offer directions to passing tourists that lost their way from the French Quarter
  • Get the motivation to finally learn how to sail after watching the boats pass by
  • Finally, keep your eyes open for frolicking dolphins

If these images make you sigh, picture yourself caught up in the beauty and serenity of it all.

The fresh flowers in the medium add the perfect amount of color and fragrance.

The view of the homes will make you yearn for a simpler time of yesteryear.

The Palmetto Trees offer a brief moment of escape from the sun and compliment the clouds very well.

Find your way back to The Battery soon.

Last moments of sunlight at White Point Garden

 

2 Meeting Street B&B
2 Meeting Street B&B
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