Today I want to tell you about one of the aquariums I’ve visited. When I was in college, my scuba club, the shark club, and the sea turtle club pooled money and sent a bunch of us to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. Yesterday, I mentioned that aquarium while discussing whale sharks and I thought I’d take the time to talk about it some more.
I always love talking to people about aquariums. Aquariums provide a lot of information about species and environments that most of their visitors may never learn in school—often in creatively entertaining ways—and it’s how a lot of people begin to get interested in the ocean.
I highly recommend the Georgia Aquarium if you are looking for something fun to do while in Atlanta. It’s situated amid a variety of restaurants and other museums if you don’t want to spend the whole day in the aquarium—it’s okay, I won’t hold it against you! But I do implore that you spend a decent amount of time there because of all the wonderful animals you can see!
There’s the large tank with the whale sharks and manta rays, including some steps to sit on if you want to lose yourself while watching them. They have beluga whales that were fairly active when I saw them. They also have live coral in some of their exhibits that the aquarium staff grew themselves; they have their own coral growth program that they fund. During my last visit, they were still setting up a sea lion exhibit, which I believe is operational now.
The Georgia Aquarium offers backstage tours where you can learn about the programs that go on behind the scenes and how the aquarium operates. The best sleepover ever is their Sleeping with the Sharks program where they give educational tours and then allow you to sleep under or next to the various shark tanks. Best part: you can pay to snorkel or scuba dive with the whale sharks and manta rays, which I regret missing out on. Note to self: BRING ENOUGH MONEY NEXT TIME!! They also offer a lot of educational programs for kids and adults, so if you want to plan a school event they can totally do it!
The Georgia Aquarium is a great place to go no matter your age, especially when it comes to sleeping with the sharks. Let me tell you, we squealed like five-year-olds when we were told we got to sleep in the room with the whale sharks. This aquarium has diverse exhibits full of creatures that you may not have seen elsewhere. I saw my only flamboyant cuttlefish there which led to a fantastic conversation with a little boy and his sister—and their dad was so relieved that someone could actually answer their questions.
Again, I highly recommend adding this aquarium to your list of places to visit, and please do find the time to make a day of it! They also offer volunteer opportunities that allow you to help out with conservation efforts around the Atlanta area.