Last week I shared my visit with the Georgia Aquarium whale sharks and today I’m back to give a quick tour of other aquarium favorites ~ and a few tips for your own visit. 🙂
The building seen from overhead looks like the prow of a ship ~ which is really pretty cool. From the street it looks like a lot of glass and cement, which could use some directional signage from the parking to the entrance. Keep walking, you’ll get there!
A bit of current construction doesn’t help to find the entrance. I shared my comments about the need for signage in the survey the aquarium kindly sent to me after my visit. 🙂
A rainy weekday made for a quick entrance. I’ve been here on other visits where the que line filled the courtyard. All the tickets are timed entry which helps to manage the crowd.
All the exhibits and concessions open off the atrium, including the escalator to the dolphin theater. You can see the Ocean Voyager exhibit sign in the lower right quadrant of the photo. You can visit any exhibit at any time during your visit, except for the dolphin theater with its timed shows. Check the show times when you first arrive and then you can look and wander as you choose.
The Tropical Diver exhibit is another favorite ~ shocker, I know! One of the largest living coral reef exhibits in the world, recreating a Pacific reef with crashing waves timed to the background music. This is a great place to sit and watch the fish!
Kids and adults both love this huge window. There are interactive kiosks in the exhibit to help you identify the fish and reef critters. I saw a few fish that were brand new to me!
It’s hard to get good fish photos. They’re fast, they don’t pose and you’re shooting through thick acrylic. And that’s while standing still in a well-lit, climate-controlled room. Imagine how much more difficult it is as a diver in the water, when you’re wearing life support equipment and while BOTH you and the fish are moving. I am always in awe of an amazing underwater photo!
Divers tend to describe fish like this Tang and this Raccoon Butterfly as “yum yum yellow” because their color stands out on the reef and they seem to get eaten a lot by other big fish. I have no idea if fish see color or not, but the yellow ones do seem to get snapped up by other bigger fish like the groupers.
This Unicorn fish is new to me. This is one of those fish that Disney animators would be hard pressed to dream up!
Love this little puffer fish giving me the side-eye.
And here’s something you don’t often see ~ garden eels! I’ve seen these a couple of times diving, but you have to be very patient as they disappear into the sand as soon as you get near. You have to hang out on the sand and wait for them to reappear. Here you just stand and watch!
I did a quick visit to the Cold Water Quest to see the beluga whales. They are so serene and have the sweetest faces! There are lots of other things to see in this exhibit, but I was headed to the dolphins next. There are also other exhibits in the aquarium that are great for kids!
Oh if only I was half this graceful in the water ~~~
I caught the last dolphin show of the day. They don’t allow photography in the show, as any flash would be a dangerous distraction to the animals and people performing. There is a large viewing window in the theater lobby where you can see the dolphins. Even when they seem to be cruising by at slower speeds they are in fact super quick. I snagged a couple of photos ~ love this expression! Looks like, “yeah, I’m cool and I know it”!
Tips if you plan to visit ~~~
- If you drive, it’s a pretty good walk from parking to entrance ~ and there’s little helpful directional signage. If walking distance is a consideration, do a drop off at the entrance and then circle the block to park. The driver gets the longer walk. 🙂
- You can visit any exhibit at any time during your visit, except for the dolphin theater with its timed shows. Check the show times when you first arrive and then you can look and wander as you choose.
- Avoid the café at peak times! There are lots of food choices, and it’s good but expensive. During peak lunch time it is a madhouse. Outside food and drink is not allowed ~ and there is a bag search before aquarium entrance, so you don’t have other options. Go later in the afternoon, choose your items carefully and you’ll enjoy the break.
- The Behind the Seas tours are interesting and a good value for adults, not so much for kids. Try the Deepo Theater for the littles.
- AtlantaCityPass is a good deal with some admission perks too if you want to see a few different attractions in Atlanta and save on ticket prices. Good for visitors, or even for in-town folks who do multiple things over spring break or vacation weeks.
That’s a quick tour of the Georgia Aquarium. I think we’ll be visiting again soon with some out-of-town friends and family ~ at least that is my plan to get to see the whale sharks again!