you can’t be in atlanta and not go to the georgia aquarium. it is the largest aquarium in the world and “features more animals than any other aquarium in more than 10 million gallons of water.”
most important advice we can offer you: buy your ticket in advance! we bought ours from AAA, and even though the savings was small ($23.50 vs $24.95/adult, general admission), we got to bypass the long lines at the ticketing counter through the VIP lane. you will be thankful you’re not stuck waiting to get your ticket!
unless you’re keen to catch shows (like the dolphin show or any other special tour), and spend all day at the aquarium, the general admission ticket is more than enough. we got to see all of the exhibits and spent some extra time by our favorites. we watched 4 beluga whales swim round and round their tank, brushing against the massive glass window where onlookers stood mesmerized. we noticed they were always swimming towards the glass upside down, and learned that because the way their eyes are set, they are able to see better this way.
our next favorite was the football-field-sized tank that held manta rays, whale sharks (4 of them!), and thousands of other fishes. there are short, stadium-like seating for more comfortable viewing, but it’s more fun sitting on the floor right up against the glass. best seat in the house!
when the dolphin show isn’t on, their viewing tank is open to the public. we stopped by to take a look at these fast and smart creatures. before long they started interacting with the onlookers; they seem to especially like the kids. some were holding up their stuffed animals, and the dolphins were following their every move.
it’s amazing how calming it is watching sea creatures swim back and forth. it’s nothing exciting, but i guess that’s what it is. they’re just happily swimming in their own world without a care in the world (even though we know this “world” is not natural).
but as much as we enjoyed the experience, we couldn’t help but think of the documentary, The Cove, and hope that these creatures were acquired responsibly.