Updated: Sep 6, 2022
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Many aquariums are fun to visit, but not many aquariums are considered one of the best in the United States. The experience you have at Georgia Aquarium is rare; there are animals you likely haven't seen at your hometown aquarium. Animal interactions allow you to get up close with your favorite sea creature, and two entertaining shows are included with the price of your ticket. I don't want to give it all away before I start, so here are the reasons Georgia Aquarium is my personal favorite.
Penguins are Loose
Well, not all day, but at least once a day between 10-11 a.m. local time penguins can be found waddling about the lobby. Trainers accompany the penguins to give visitors a quick lesson about the species and hold them for photo ops and a closer view. You better make sure you're present on time, because these walks only last about 10 minutes daily.
The Animals are Unique
Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium outside of Asia to keep a whale shark in captivity. It's the largest fish in the sea, and it looks even bigger in person. It takes as long as 36 hours to transport a whale shark to an aquarium, which is likely why you can't find one anywhere else in America. It also houses several beluga whales, which are only found in six zoos and aquariums in the United States. I learned that these creatures are also called sea canaries due to the sounds and whistles they make.
The cost of your ticket includes two great shows. During the dolphin show, you'll watch as trainers demonstrate the dolphins' intelligence and tricks. You might even get wet if you sit within the marked "splash zone" in the stands. The sea lion show offers you the unique chance to hear their famous roaring sounds and be awestruck by their personalities. In a world where everything costs extra, this is a very enjoyable experience.
Georgia Aquarium offers the chance for you to cage dive with the sharks! Though you won't physically touch a shark, you'll be submerged in a stainless steel cage and guided through the "Sharks! Predators of the Deep," exhibit. Though shark diving in general is safer than you may think, this interaction is even safer as the sharks are familiar with people. You can check out the aquarium's website to check prices and book tickets.
For an extra cost, you'll get the opportunity to participate in a harbor seal training session, interact poolside with beluga whales, or touch and feed dolphins. You can also learn more about penguins, tour the sea lion facility, and swim with sharks and stingrays. Even if you don't opt for an encounter, you'll still be able to enjoy five galleries and 179 different animals. Sounds like a good time to me.
There are tons of places to stay in Atlanta, and I definitely didn't research all of them. I did find one to match every level of traveler, though. If you're an economy traveler, this Motel 6 is updated and straightforward. If you like to travel in luxury, check out The Omni Hotel, which has two restaurants and an outdoor pool. If you're somewhere in between, Hyatt Place has everything you need.
Along with the Georgia Aquarium, there are several other attractions in the city. If you have extra time, check out our top things to do in Atlanta.