Bye, bye lemurs: South Carolina Aquarium’s ring-tailed guests moving on

The lemurs have been the calling card for for the South Carolina Aquarium’s “Madagascar Journey” exhibit.

For Chandler, Herodotus, Limerick and Cebes, the time has nearly come to pack up their things and leave Charleston.

The four wide-eyed lemurs have their last day on display at the South Carolina Aquarium on Monday, before they head off to hang out at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, south of Bloomington.

To say their goodbyes, visitors can write postcards to go in a “special suitcase,” the aquarium said. Also, “enrichment activities” are planned for the ring-tailed clan on their last day in the local spotlight, “including a special frozen treat.”

The downtown Charleston visitor attraction is ending a more than three-year run for the furry social primates.

“It was a huge success,” said Kate Ditloff, spokeswoman for the aquarium.

In the most recent fiscal year, for example, attendance climbed about 6 percent to 430,452 guests.

The lemur family arrived on Concord Street in 2012 as the centerpiece of the “Madagascar Journey,” which was billed as the largest exotic animal exhibit ever to be staged at the waterfront attraction. They were the successors to a wildly popular penguin exhibit, which followed in the footsteps of an albino alligator.

Chandler is the father of the three other males. They are on loan from the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, N.C.

Their 4,000-square-foot exhibit includes a Nile crocodile, chameleons, frogs, geckos, parrots, stingrays, fish, snakes and other exotic animals connected to Madagascar, an island off the Southeast coast of Africa about seven times the size of South Carolina.

The aquarium wanted a charismatic animal in an interactive educational exhibit to boost attendance.

Ditloff said the next special exhibit is expected to be announced soon, probably within a few weeks.

John McDermott of The Post and Courier contributed to this report.

Reach Allison Prang at 937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.