By Susan M. Keenan © 2007
The Georgia Aquarium, located at 225 Baker Street in downtown Atlanta, is one of the leading attractions there as well as being the largest aquarium in the world. Thanks to the generosity of Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, the Georgia Aquarium opened its doors on November 23, 2005 for the very first time. It has continued to grow since that time.
The Atlanta aquarium sits across from the Georgia World Congress Center and the Centennial Olympic Park. Containing more than eight million gallons of both fresh and salt water, this aquarium showcases its animals and the world’s aquatic biodiversity in more than 60 exhibits that feature more than 500 species from around the world. More than 120,000 marine animals call the aquarium home.
The aquarium is divided into several viewing areas or galleries including Georgia Explorer, River Scout, Cold Water Quest, Ocean Voyager, and Tropical Diver.
The Georgia Explorer, an interactive gallery, includes a hands-on experience, a child’s area, large exhibits of sea turtles, and glass exhibits of whales, in particular, the official marine mammal of Georgia, the Northern right whale. Touch pools full of sea stars, stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and shrimp are featured.
River Scout features an overhead river with lots of freshwater fish and other species of animals that are found not only in Georgia, but also, in South America, Asia, and Africa. It also offers the ability to get up close enough to see amazing views of piranha and electric fish.
Cold Water Quest is one of the most popular exhibits with its display of beluga whales, California sea lions, black-footed penguins, and sea otters. As is that isn’t enough, the Cold Waters features sea dragons, spider crabs, and garibaldi damselfish.
Ocean Voyager features a unique experience where visitors can pretend to be scuba divers while watching endless schools of fish swim past. It also houses whale sharks, majestic in size, along with grouper, stingrays, trevally jacks, and hammerhead sharks.
Tropical Diver, replete with tropical coral reefs and colorful reef fishes, is like an art gallery- full of bright colors and interesting sights. It features jellyfish, seahorses, fairy basslets, and more.
The Learning Loop features the educational experiences that are provided for schools. Plus, a 4-D Theater offers exciting experiences with interactive seating and 3-D films.
The aquarium is an educational institution, a research facility, an animal conservation campus, as well as an entertaining and educational experience for more than four million visitors to date. In addition to a one-day admission fee, annual passes are available. A charge is assessed for the onsite parking garage as well.
This nonprofit organization promotes the conservation of aquatic life. It includes a world-class animal health facility/teaching hospital for veterinarians. Educational programs for school age children are held on a regular basis. Several times throughout the year, the aquarium hosts various events including golf tournaments, holiday buffets, lecture series, and balls.
An annual pass that offers special perks such as discounts on admission for guests, discounts on tours, and discounts on the shops and café. The aquarium is open daily from 10 to 5 with extended hours on the weekends and holidays as well as during the summer. Food concessions are also available up until one hour prior to closing. Additionally, the Georgia Aquarium participates in the City Pass Program.