The Georgia Aquarium via Reserve123.com
This is part two of Amanda’s Atlanta excursion with her Atlanta CityPass.
The World of Coca-Cola attraction is literally next door to the aquarium. Along with the World of Coca-Cola, she stopped by the world’s largest aquarium right here in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium. With a convenient little walkway in between the two, Amanda walked right over from one venue to another.
The Georgia Aquarium contains more than 8.5 million US gallons of marine and fresh water and is the home to more than 120,000 animals of 500 different species, most notably the aquarium’s four young whale sharks, four beluga whales, and four manta rays.
A sting ray touch tank, one of the many touch tanks at the aquarium
Luckily for Amanda, the venue wasn’t too crowded and easily made her way through the aquarium. It was late in the morning and the lines moved along fairly quickly. When you enter the aquarium, there is a central hub where the attraction is divided by specific environments: Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales. You can enter and exit these different exhibits throughout the day. The Dolphin Tales is the newest exhibition that showcases several dolphin shows a day; the show tickets must be purchased separately and do not come with the CityPass. You are also more than welcome to see the dolphins for free when they’re not performing.
Being the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium boasts several attractions such as numerous ‘touch tanks’, which are shallow ponds where you can pet animals varying from rays to sharks, in the Georgia Explorer section to Ocean Voyager’sexhibit tunnel, a 100-foot long tunnel with 4,574 square feet of viewing windows. The Ocean Voyager exhibit is the exhibit of the aquarium because it also showcases the whale sharks and manta rays.
The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium in the United States that features whale sharks and manta rays. These gigantic and majestic creatures require a vast amount of swimming space and the Georgia Aquarium was actuallybuilt with whale sharks in mind. The Ocean Voyager exhibit holds the majority of the aquarium’s water and has almost 100,000 fish living in it along with these gentle giants.
Playful sea otters
Amanda’s CityPass granted her two unique experiences: a ticket to the Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow and a ticket to the Quick Dip tour. The aquarium has a 4D theater that places you into the film with their interactive seats and special effects. At first, Amanda was put off by the ‘cartooney’ feel of the movie but ended up enjoying every twist and turn the story and the theater offered.
“You think it’s a kiddie movie, but it’s a really fun little adventure,” said Amanda, “there are some parts that completely surprised me!” Because of the specially designed theater, you get to feel a brush of a jellyfish’s tentacle or a mist of fresh saltwater in the film. A woman sitting behind Amanda screamed to the top of her lungs when a sea creature ‘poked’ her in her seat! Amanda recommends sitting next to any kids and you might not get your eardrums blown out! The movie is approximately 10-15 minutes.
An albino alligator
One of her favorite parts of the aquarium is the Quick Dip Tour where you can get a different perspective on two of the exhibits: River Scout and Ocean Voyager. In this tour, Amanda said the guides focused on River Scout’s ecosystem and the whale sharks.During one part of the tour, Amanda felt a synthetic whale shark skin that was as long as an average whale shark – 31 feet. She said it was like touching a real whale! The tour took approximately 30 minutes.
By the end of her visit, Amanda became a whale shark fan. Though her favorite animal, by far, was the albino alligator in the River Scout exhibition, she enjoyed seeing all the different sea creatures in the various habitats. What really separates the Georgia Aquarium from other aquariums is its interaction with visitors. The Georgia Aquarium offers an interactive experience with their 4D film, new and upcoming exhibitions, several different tours, and children activities. Along with interactive activities, the aquarium also designed each exhibition according to its respected environment. Watch the waves ebb and flow in the Tropical Diver exhibit or get lost deep under sea at the viewing window in the Ocean Voyager.It’s certainly an Atlanta destination, whether you are eight or eighty years old!
The world’s second largest viewing window via National Geographic
If you would like to purchase Atlanta CityPasses, please visit our website.
All photographs are by Amanda unless noted otherwise.