The first day of my birthday trip we flew into Atlanta. Originally this was going to be a road trip–for the most part. But when I saw Frontier had $29 flights to Atlanta, I jumped at the chance to cut out 11 hours of driving.* We spent our first night in Atlanta by checking in, grabbing a quick bite and then going to sleep; then enjoyed the next morning there before heading to Savannah.
*I’ve realized as time goes on that I do not like driving for more than five hours in a day, nor do I enjoy drifting from hotel to hotel from night to night.
Of all the things to do in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium was the natural choice for us. You might recall that Hubby is an aquarium geek from this post where I compared the National Aquarium in Baltimore to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden.
Having two pretty fantastic aquariums so close to home made me a little hesitant about the Georgia Aquarium, especially after learning it has only been around since 2005. I couldn’t imagine it would have more to offer or even be able to contend with home.
I was pleasantly surprised from the moment we entered.
We were greeted with lively music–think Disney’s The Little Mermaid or Lilo and Stitch–that stayed with us until we started our first exhibit. Throughout many of the other sections the music being played gave me a Jurassic Park kind of feeling.
The first section we went into impressed me with not only its diverse selection of fish, but also it’s consideration for its guests.
This was the first time I have seen a section reserved for guests in wheelchairs at a museum. I immediately thought of all the times I have been at museums on busy days and the difficulty and patience that those in wheelchairs must go through to get the same view as others. Seeing that the Georgia Aquarium offers consideration for those in wheelchairs automatically gave them brownie points from me.
Almost every exhibit had a screen that rotates through descriptions of what is in the tank beside it.
Another thing I haven’t noticed in other aquariums is sponsored exhibits from popular companies (Home Depot, Southwest, Coca Cola,etc.).
*Isn’t Lance a doll for modeling for me?
In fact, Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium with whale sharks thanks to UPS. I attempted to catch a picture of one in the below tank, but sadly, it just didn’t happen.
The manta ray was the most intriguing and equally as disturbing sea creature we encountered. I guess I have never seen one as up close as I did at this aquarium because I was rather surprised to discover how deep that opening, on what I’m guessing is technically his head, goes into what I’m guessing is his body.
Similar to Adventure Aquarium’s shark tank, the Georgia Aquarium has several areas where guests are able to walk through a tunnel where sea creatures are swimming above their heads.
Though there weren’t any of my all time favorite, hippos, I fell in love with the penguins of Georgia. Not only can you look at them from a regular standing area, but there is also an underwater viewing area that you can crawl through.
Visitors can stand up and poke their heads out of an opening and be met face to face with penguins.
These two were getting a little frisky…and I caught them!
While watching a few little guys swimming underwater, I watched as this penguin played with this woman and her daughter. The mom would move her finger back and forth against the glass and the penguin would follow by moving his head back and forth.
I think my favorite thing about this aquarium was the organization of each exhibit. I often can feel overwhelmed at museums where the layout it hallway upon hallway upon hallway, where one jets out to the left and another the right. It is easy to miss something in such a place. At Georgia Aquarium each section is clearly marked and wraps around from a starting point to an exiting point.
Though it was smaller in size than the National Aquarium and the Adventure Aquarium, for the ease of the layout and the many varieties of sea creature that were available, I would certainly return again.
If we had a little more time in Georgia, we may have visited The World of Coca Cola museum which was only a short walk away from the aquarium.
I suppose that will just have to wait until next time.