The Georgia Aquarium was named one of the Top 5 Animal Attractions by Family Fun Magazine for their third annual Travel Awards. With over 10 million gallons of water and the largest collection of aquatic life in North America, it is easy to see why.
The aquarium features six galleries: Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales.
Ocean Voyager is the world’s largest indoor aquatic exhibit with its 6.3 million gallons of water. It contains four whale sharks - the largest fish in the world, and four manta rays - the only manta rays in a U.S. aquarium, in addition to hundreds of other animals.
In Tropical Diver presented by Southwest Airlines, visitors can explore a 164,000-gallon reef habitat, the second largest in the United States. Approximately 25 percent of the reef wall is live coral and there are more than 90 species of fish.
In River Scout, guests will discover a wide diversity of animals found in the lakes and rivers of Africa, South America, Asia and let's not forget those found in the home state of Georgia.
This Red Piranha, native to the Amazon River, is also at home in River Scout. The adults of this species can grow to as large as 20 inches and 8.5 pounds. His (or her) teeth are razor-sharp - thank goodness for the thick glass between us.
Cold Water Quest features animals from the icy waters of the polar regions to the temperate seas of California, South Africa, and Southern Australia, including beluga whales, southern sea otters, African penguins, and harbor seals. The gallery is also home to Georgia Aquarium’s mascot, Deepo the Garibaldi damselfish.
With up to a million hairs per square inch, southern sea otters have the densest hair in the animal kingdom.
Included with your admission is Dolphin Tales, a live dolphin show incorporating the beauty and agility of dolphins, live human actors, dramatic costuming and amazing effects. If you don't want to get wet, you better watch where you sit! The views are great higher up in the middle section. After the show, be sure to have your camera ready to get a snapshot of some of the performers.
The Georgia Explorer has three touch pools where visitors can learn about native sharks, rays, and invertebrates. (According to Georgia Aquarium's website at the time of this writing, the gallery is currently undergoing renovations and should re-open later this year.)
Hungry after all of your exploring? Cafe Aquaria is on-site and you can grab a quick bite to eat.
You can purchase tickets at the aquarium, but why not skip the line and purchase them online? A variety of special ticket options are available, including Imagination Nights, Early Bird Discounts, Me & Mommy, and Group Tickets.
Are you a Georgia resident? Visit the aquarium on your birthday and your admission is free.
The aquarium is located in the heart of Atlanta, just across from the World of Coca-Cola. Parking is available for $10, or you can pre-pay online and save a dollar - just don't forget to bring your ticket with you!