Best Aquariums In America in 2022
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Aquarium (Live in Paris / 2012)
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Americas Best Aquariums in 3D
- Plays in both 2D and 3D
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- Collectible 3D / Lenticular Cover
The Toy Fish: A History of the Aquarium Hobby in America: The First One-Hundred Years
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The Georgia Aquarium
The facility opened in November 2005 and is one of the largest aquariums in the world, with five exhibits, just over 8 million gallons of water and more than 100,000 fish from 500 species, a 4-D theatre, a food court and of course, the gift shops.
It usually takes about two to four hours to tour the entire aquarium. Along your trek you will get to visit and experience five different exhibits:
In the Cold Water Quest exhibit, presented by Georgia-Pacific, you will see Beluga whales (two males named Nico and Gasper from the La Feria de Chapultepec amusement park in Mexico City, and three females named Marina, Natasha and Maris from the New York Aquarium), California sea lions, sea otters, African black-footed penguins, Australian leafy sea dragons, giant Pacific octopus, garibaldi damselfish and Japanese spider crabs.
The Georgia Explorer - Discover Our Coast exhibit is presented by SunTrust Bank, and is an interactive gallery with petting tanks full of horseshoe crabs, sea stars, stingrays and shrimp. There are also Georgia sea turtles and the fishes of Gray's Reef (an area of the Georgia coast designated a National Marine Sanctuary) and Right Whales (which live off the Georgia coast and are one of the most endangered mammals on the planet). There's also featured video about these whales and a large model of a whale that kids can actually crawl inside.
In the Ocean Voyager - Journey with Giants exhibit built by The Home Depot, you can walk through the 100 ft. long underwater tunnel or watch 100,000 fish through second largest viewing window in the world at 23 ft. tall by 61 ft. wide and 2 ft. thick. This exhibit was designed to house the whale sharks (the largest fish species in the world). You'll also see the toothy cubarra snappers, the predatory trevally jacks, stingrays, a goliath grouper and some hammerhead sharks.
The fourth exhibit is the River Scout - Freshwater Mysteries presented by Southern Company. There are creatures from the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia and Georgia in this exhibit - the world's largest freshwater fish, the arapaima, also arawana, electric fishes of Africa and South America, piranha, and the Asian small-clawed otter.
Lastly is the Tropical Diver - The Coral Kingdom presented by AirTran Airways. Garden eels, thousands of tiny glassy sweepers, reef squid, clown fish (Nemo), seahorses, fairy basslets, yellow-head jawfish, jellyfish, and living corals are featured in this exhibit. This exhibit is really peaceful, so you might want to make this the last one you see.
While you're there, you can even take in a movie in the 4-D theater. It features a 3-D film, a live actor and interactive seats, using special effects that are built into the theatre. The "4-D" effects are synchronized so "you not only see a jelly as they move by in 3-D, you also feel the tingling tentacles as they brush by your face."
Hungry? You can visit the Café Aquaria Food Court which features: The Grill, Naples Pizza and Pasta, Buckhead Bread, and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.
And don't forget to pick up a souvenir or two at either the Beyond the Reef or the Sand Dollars gift shops.
Bernie also gave the general public a chance to be part of the action, offering the "FishScales" donor wall. I actually purchased the $55 scale and can walk up to one of two interactive kiosks on site, look up my name and see a shooting star launch across the wall and landing on my name. How cool is that?
The admission is a little pricey, $24.00 for adults, $18.00 for kids (ages 3-12) and $20.00 for seniors (age 55 and up). You can get an annual passes for 2020: adults $62.50, seniors (age 55 and up) $51.50 and kids (ages 3-12) $45.50, which give you discounts for the guided tours, parking garage, food court and gift shops. And the 4-D Theatre isn't included in your admission price, but costs an additional $5.50 for adults/seniors and $4.00 for children.
The Georgia Aquarium is located at 225 Baker Street, just across from the north end of Centennial Olympic Park. You can take MARTA for $1.75 to either the CNN/Georgia World Congress Center station or Peachtree Center station, or drive and park to the tune of $10 in one of the 1600 spaces at Aquarium's parking deck.
The Aquarium is open seven days a week, Monday - Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Saturday - Sunday 8:00 am to 6pm, so you can plan a trip any day of the week that best suites you schedule. One thing that you may want to do, because the Aquarium is still fairly new and always crowded, is to book your tickets online at www.georgiaaquarium.org. If you visit on a whim, it may be full and you may not get in.