The Georgia Aquarium opened its doors in 2005 as the largest in the world, with most of the funding coming from a $250 million donation from businessman Bernard Marcus. The Georgia Aquarium’s tanks hold 8 million gallons of water, and more than 100,000 animals from 500 different species! The Georgia Aquarium is also the only aquarium outside of Asia to house Whale Sharks, the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate today! In fact, the entire aquarium was designed around the whale shark exhibit. Other noteworthy animals in the aquarium’s collection include beluga whales, 8 & 9 foot manta rays, and for a while, great hammerhead sharks.
The Aquarium is divided into six different exhibit, each focusing on a different environment or animal. The first is Georgia Explorer, which is aimed especially at children. The exhibit has several touch pools containing sea stars, horseshoe crabs, shrimp, stingrays, and sharks. Georgia Explorer also contains sea turtles, and a display of fish from Gray’s Reef, off of Georgia’s coast.
The second exhibit, River Scout, explores the lives of river animals. In this section of the aquarium a river flows overhead, allowing you a view of the fish from below. This exhibit contains fish from the rivers of Africa, Asia, South America, and Georgia, such as electric eel, piranha, and archerfish, as well as otters and albino alligators!
Dolphin Tales showcases the incredible dolphins, through a regular gallery, but also features special dolphin shows and even the opportunity to meet, touch, and feed the stars of this exhibit ($59.95 + General Admission).
The fourth exhibit at the aquarium, Cold Water Quest, features a wide variety of creatures from polar and other cold ocean regions, such as beluga whales, sea otters, African penguins, the mysterious weedy sea dragon, and frightening spider crab. Cold Water Quest, also has a touch pool.
The Ocean Voyager exhibit is the largest indoor aquatic habitat in the world, with a full 6.3 million gallons of water, and glass walls two feet thick! this exhibit houses several of the aquarium’s largest animals, including multiple whale sharks, the giant grouper, and spotted eagle ray (which can reach almost 11 feet wide, and 16 feet long)! The exhibit has one giant glass wall giving you an excellent view of the thousands of fish, and a glass tunnel through the middle, immersing you in the aquatic world.
Tropical Diver, the sixth and final exhibit, is a relaxing coral reef, with sea horses, clownfish, porkfish, several varieties of jellyfish, the giant Caribbean hermit crab, garden eel, and dozens of other species.
Besides their role as caretaker and presenter of these many fish, the Georgia Aquarium is also deeply involved in research and conservation efforts involving water life.
Admission & Location:
Admission prices vary by day. Click here to purchase tickets.
The aquarium is open every day of the year, but hours of operation vary with the seasons.
Georgia Aquarium can be found at 357 Luckie Street, NW Atlanta, GA 30313