Thursday, June 19, 2014

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta is one of our absolute favorite places to visit as often as possible.  It's just a magical place full of amazing underwater creatures, and I feel like a kid when I'm there, staring in awe through the glass of each exhibit.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

The Georgia Aquarium greets you with a wall of fish at the entrance, where you are then ushered into the huge main lobby.  The lighting and decor makes you feel like you are underwater swimming with the jellies!

There are five different areas to visit - each one with it's own vast array of sea life.  Let's begin this tour with the Tropical Diver exhibit:

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

The jellyfish are so gorgeous and graceful.  There are several species to see here in Tropical Diver, from the miniature to the massive.  The glass goes from floor to ceiling so you really become immersed in the underwater sights.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

One of my favorite places in the Georgia Aquarium is the Tropical Diver big aquarium.  You'll spot lots of Nemo's and Dory's, as well as a multitude of tropical fish in a rainbow of colors.  The glass goes above your head, and the waves crash at the surface of the coral.  It's a very relaxing spot to sit and enjoy the beauty of the tropics.

River Scout features freshwater animals in very natural habitats.  You'll walk through rain forests and come face-to-face with pirahnas, see the shocking power of the electric eels, and walk directly under catfish swimming around tree trunks.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

Visit with the albino alligators in River Scout as they bask on warm rocks or swim in their habitat.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

The cutest animals in River Scout are the Asian small-clawed otters.  They play and swim and chase their toys, and they are just a joy to watch interact.  They are very high energy, or completely passed out - there is no in-between.

For a local flare, the Georgia Explorer area offers hands-on encounters with Georgia native creatures, like shrimp, sea stars, and stingrays!  There are multiple touch pools throughout Georgia Explorer with an array of sea life.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

The touch pools are so cool and the kids love putting their hands in the water and interacting with animals in their habitats.  Watch out, though - the shrimp like to hop!

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

I remember as a little girl, walking the beaches here in Georgia, and finding empty horseshoe crab shells along the beach.  The horseshoe crab is a really weird but interesting creature, and you can meet one and touch it right here in Georgia Explorer!

One of the larger exhibits is Coldwater Quest, home to the penguins, seals, beluga whales, and so much more.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

The beluga whales love to interact with people along the window.  They swim straight up from the bottom and rub their big bellies on the glass.  They look like they are smiling at you, too!

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

I'm rather partial to Gracie and Oz, the sea otters who live in Coldwater Quest.  They are so sweet together. Gracie likes to float on her back and suck her paw.  And did you know that otters hold hands when they float so they don't lose one another?  Love them!

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

Here's another awesome sight in Coldwater Quest - the giant octopus!  He has a PVC pipe that he can squeeze through to go from tank to tank.  Absolutely gorgeous!

Finally, you'll visit the largest exhibit at Georgia Aquarium, Ocean Voyager.  You enter this exhibit by riding on a moving sidewalk through an acrylic tunnel with fish swimming overhead.  If you see a giant shadow, it's only a whale shark!

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

I can't even begin to describe the size of the main aquarium in this exhibit, and honestly, I wouldn't want to spoil it.  I've been so many times, but it still takes my breath away.  And I love watching the faces of people who are seeing it for the first time.  It's so amazing.

This is only a very small piece of the huge tank that contains...are you ready for this?...6.3 MILLION GALLONS of water!  There are 4 giant manta rays, one of which has a wingspan of nine feet across!  And they just glide so effortlessly.  You'll also see various species of sharks, other types of rays, giant grouper, sawfish, jack and hundreds more.

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

This is one of four whale sharks that live at Georgia Aquarium.  They are the largest of all fishes, and we have FOUR!  Be sure to plan to spend the majority of your time sitting in front of the main viewing window in Ocean Voyager.  And don't worry about finding a good seat.  With a window that is 23 feet tall and 61 feet wide, there isn't a bad seat in the house!

Georgia Aquarium - www.sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

A new additon to the Georgia Aquarium is the dolphin exhibit and AT&T Dolphin Tales show.  This show rivals anything you'd see at Sea World, with an all-star cast of dolphins and human actors, guests of any age are going to love it!  (And, it's included in the regular admission cost!)

What To Know Before You Go:
  • Appropriate for all ages.
  • Plan to spend 3-5 hours touring the aquarium and enjoying the shows.
  • Ticket prices:  $29.95 for children, $35.95 for adults
  • Food is available in the dining room.
  • Behind the Scenes Tours, Animal Encounters, Beluga & Friends Interactive Program, and Dive and Swim Programs are available for an additional cost.
  • Visit Georgia Aquarium online for more information and to purchase tickets.

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*I am not affiliated with or paid by Georgia Aquarium.  This review is simply my own opinion of the Georgia Aquarium and all information reflects my own experiences.  I simply love where I live and wish for others to enjoy their visit to Georgia!

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