1. Travel

Visit the World's Largest Aquarium

Go on an Underwater Adventure in Atlanta



Save at the Georgia Aquarium

Wikimedia Commons
Located in downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium opened its doors in 2005 housing more animals than any other aquarium in the world with over ten million gallons of water.

There's plenty to see and do at the Aquarium to keep you busy for the day, or bring you back for a second and third visit. Sixty exhibits span across the aquarium ranging from a choreographed dolphin show to an up-close look at gentle beluga whales.

Guests step onto a moving walkway, or step to the side to linger alongside Ocean Voyager built by The Home Depot. Surrounded in glass walls and ceiling, the Ocean Voyager holds 6.3 million gallons of water home to four whale sharks and manta rays. You'll feel like you're part of the exhibit.

Spend an hour or two wandering through the exhibits and learning more about penguins, sea otters, beluga whales, giant groupers and a vast ocean habitat. For a more hands-on experience, the Georgia Aquarium also hosts a Gentle Giants Immersion Program with a combination swimming with whale sharks and behind-the-scenes tour.

To date, it is the only opportunity in the world where you are guaranteed to swim and dive with whale sharks and manta rays. For more hands on fun, join beluga whale trainers and get a hands-on look with a unique swim/dive interactive program.

Budding acquatic experts and ocean enthusiasts can take a Behind the Scenes Tour and discover the unseen day to day operations at the Aquarium. Visitors will stop by the live coral reef exhibit, see where animals are cared for and food is prepared, stop by the veterinary clinic and observe whale sharks and other creatures from the top of the Ocean Voyager.

Stop at the interactive dive show to meet some of the Aquarium's divers. Divers swim through giant groupers, manta rays and their neighbors and land right inside the tank. The audience stands on the other side of the glass and watches diver and fish inside the tank.

An educator mingles with the audience and speaks directly to the diver through a microphone. Afterwards, the divers press their hands on the glass to show just how thick the tank really is and interacts with the crowd. Little kids and babies should get up close to the glass for this special experience.

The on-site divers vary per day, but you might hear them say the oversized groups make them the most nervous with their aggressive nudges and fearless attitude. Of course, the real stars of the exhibits and shows are a variety of fish and mammals calling the Georgia Aquarium home. Its esteemed residents include:

  • Black blotched fantail ray
  • Blacktip reef shark
  • Blue tang surgeonfish
  • Bluestriped grunt
  • Bowmouth guitarfish
  • Crevalle jack
  • Crimson snapper
  • Giant grouper
  • Giant guitarfish
  • Golden trevally
  • Green sawfish
  • Grey snapper
  • Humphead wrasse
  • Largetooth sawfish
  • Leopard whipray
  • Largetooth sawfish
  • Leopard whipray
  • Lesser devil ray
  • Longfin batfish
  • Porkfish
  • Potato grouper
  • Sandbar shark
  • Spotted eagle ray
  • Spotted wobbegong
  • Tasseled wobbegong
  • Whale shark
  • Zebra shark

Despite the wide variety of fish, mammals and underwater entertainment on display, the Aquarium strives to be a leader of aquatic animal conservation and research. The Georgia Aquarium also boasts an animal health facility called the Correll Center for Aquatic Health at 10,000 square feet.

Guests opting for a behind the scenes tour can get a peak at the vets and animal trainers working one-on-one with the aquarium's animals.

Consider a sleepover for a unique experience at the Aquarium lasting into the wee hours and beyond. Groups, families, kids and adult sleepovers come complete with full admission, sleep mat, light supper and breakfast, Deepo's Undersea 3D Wondershow, Behind the Scenes Tours and a guided tour through the underwater galleries.

If waking up alongside beluga whales is a little too cozy, try one of these area hotels for proximity to the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park and Imagine It! Children's Museum.

  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Embassy Suites Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park
  • Omni Hotel

Georgia Aquarium Essentials
Address: 225 Baker St. NW
Phone: 404-581-4000
Admission: $29.95 on up for adults, $25.95 seniors and $23.95 children. Rates may be higher on weekends and holidays.

Atlanta travelers looking for a discount to the Georgia Aquarium should consider an Atlanta City Pass. Guests save up to 45% off on admission to the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour, High Museum of Art or Fernbank Museum of National History, and Zoo Atlanta or the Atlanta History Center.

If you want to skip the Atlanta City Pass, take advantage of the Pemberton Place Promo Instead. Present your Georgia Aquarium stub at the World of Coca-Cola and get $1 off the admission price. This promo also works in reverse if you visit the World of Coca-Cola first. This promo is valid for seven days within your admission price.

After your underwater voyage through the Georgia Aquarium, stop by these nearby attractions:

  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Atlanta Travel
  4. Family & Group Travel
  5. The Georgia Aquarium

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.