During my one week whirlwind visit, I had one day for sightseeing. One day for anything I want. That day my kids took me to downtown Charleston. More importantly, they took me to the South Carolina Aquarium. I loooooooooooove aquariums! Especially when they have touch tanks, and this one had a touch tank! Two touch tanks!

But first, click the link. Go visit the South Carolina Aquarium site. My new best friend Voldemort waved at me, personally, when we visited the Sea Turtle Care Center. I’m not sure that’s him on the front page, the markings don’t look the same, but that one is my friend too.

Voldemort waving HI at me!

While I fell in love with all the sea turtles, it was the stingrays that brought me the most joy. I think we spent a good half hour talking to their caretaker, stroking their incredibly velvety skin, and wishing we could jump in the tank and swim with them.

I swear he’s smiling at me!

I thought this was so cute… till I realized he was smelling Lindsay to see if she’d make a tasty snack!

I am getting ahead of myself a little, you can’t really blame me, touching stingrays is just a highpoint of any visit to any aquarium. Our Saturday for sightseeing was an incredibly clear, blue skied & sunny, day. Still cold, even in Charleston it’s cold in January, but beautiful. I felt like the skies opened up & welcomed me back to America on my one day of sightseeing and showed off how amazing my second home truly is.

My mom & dad headed for the open air market, the kids (Soren, Lindsay & Cole) bustled me into their car and off to the aquarium. The aquarium had free wheelchairs, and a whole day of sightseeing is just not in the cards for me yet. I’m not 100% sure a whole day of sightseeing in a wheelchair is necessary either… especially with Soren pushing me at breakneck speeds through a national treasure. I’m pretty sure all the fish ears are still recovering my squeals of terror.

Right next to the aquarium is the ferry to the Fort Sumter National Monument. It’s on my bucket list! But between time constraints, Lindsay still battling morning all day sickness and my limited walking skills we skipped the ride out. However. Charleston is so on my must-return list. Charleston is adorable!

After the aquarium we met my parents at Fleet Landing for an incredibly delicious lunch. I finally had shrimp & grits for the very first time, and I’m a fan! I’d only ever had instant grits, the breakfast kind out of a packet, and those are not yummy. At. All. These shrimp & grits? Melt-in-your-mouth amazingness. So buttery and delightful. I would go back every day if I could.

Even better? Cole treated me. He gets a paycheck now, and he’s suddenly very grateful for all the things he took for granted at home. He’s been tripping over his own feet trying to show me his gratitude and love. Including paying for an amazing lunch that really was above his paygrade. I wanted to say no, but his beaming face. Not beaming with pride, but with love, stopped my tongue and accepted his gift. That gesture? That love? Even better than those fabulous shrimp & grits.

The Fort Sumter National Monument ferry is right next to the aquarium. Next time!

I’m fairly certain the ferry to the Ft. Sumter is… a riverboat!

From “the deck” at the aquarium, just outside the stingray exhibit. I love boats! All boats!

I cannot capture the wonder of this 3+ story tank. The depths. The fish. I could stare for hours on end.

I do not love jellyfish on the beach. I do not love jellyfish when I swim. In an aquarium? Fascinated!

Liberty, the resident bald eagle. Swoonworthy gorgeousness!

Our airbnb rental came with a ‘gator warning. Luckily the aquarium ones were all we saw!

I feel like he’s eyeing me for a snack!

I don’t love snakes, but I love these two

Simply a stunningly gorgeous, modern aquarium.

Cole happily jumped out of the car & raced up the steps to pose for my photo. Do you see him!??!

A quick peek at Charleston… see? Adorable!

Man, I’d so hoped this guy was real!

More Charleston. More palm trees. I’m in love.

Cole took me out to lunch at an old converted U.S. Navy building: Fleet Landing