Hang with the Fishies!
Although Atlanta is approximately 250 miles from the salty shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the city boasts the world’s largest aquarium with more than 10 million gallons of water and more aquatic animals than any other aquarium in the world!! The Georgia Aquarium seems bent on being the best of the best. Guinness Book of World Records has certified the aquarium as the world’s largest in three categories: gallons of water, square footage, and number of fish (tens of thousands more than any other aquarium!). The Georgia Aquarium is located in the middle of downtown Atlanta and offers six galleries depicting different habitats from arctic to tropical waters.
As you enter the Georgia Aquarium, you will immediately observe the “wall of fish,” a preview of the animals inside. Step just past the wall into the three-story Atrium, the central hub of the museum where six exhibit galleries, two gift shops, and the Café Aquaria branch out. Make your first stop at the orange information desk or blue Atrium booth, which are ready to provide your family with tips and tricks on how to best navigate the massive aquarium (and even the city of Atlanta). The Café offers family friendly fare including pizza, pasta, and desserts in case you are in need of snacks.
The Ocean Voyager exhibit is the world’s largest aquatic habitat, boasting species from three oceans including manta rays and the largest fish in the world, whale sharks. Both of these species are exclusive to the Georgia Aquarium; no other US aquarium houses these animals. Numerous spots to view these and other fish abound, but the pièce de résistance is the 100-foot long tunnel that surrounds guests in the habitat or observation from the largest viewing window in the western hemisphere. The exhibit also features numerous other species of sharks, rays, and other small fish.
Step inside the Tropical Diver exhibit where a wave machine simulates surf conditions above the large reef exhibit housing more than 90 species of Indo-Pacific tropical fish. Almost half of the reef is made of live coral, with more being added continually.
In the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest, explore beluga whales, harbor seals, sea otters, and a newly renovated penguin habitat.
River Scout, a freshwater habitat, focuses on American, African, and Southeast Asian rivers and gives guests the unique perspective of being under a river in the U.S.’s only overhead river exhibit in an aquarium. Otters, alligators, piranhas, and more are featured in this gallery amidst waterfalls, logjams, and diverse habitats of rivers and lakes around the world.
A simulated shrimping boat, children’s play area, and touch tanks featuring sharks, rays, crabs, sea stars, and shrimp are featured in the Georgia Explorer exhibit. The exhibit boasts Georgia indigenous water animals such as lionfish, sea turtles, and cownose rays.
The most recent exhibit to join the Georgia Aquarium is AT&T Dolphin Tales. The entrance to the gallery takes visitors through an incredible 25-foot underwater viewing area. Live dolphin shows, featuring actors, special effects, and incredible music offers a fun mix of animal interaction and entertainment.
Kids of all ages love a good aquarium, and the Georgia Aquarium, quite literally, is the best!
photo: dublin molly