Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta
This newly opened aquarium boasts the world's largest salt water tank which hosts several whale sharks (also the only place in the world to see these fish in captivity) among some 50,000 other fish.
There are many exhibits, including a few hands-on areas to touch small rays, sand sharks, horseshoe crabs, etc.
You can plan on spending a good half day to see everything. There is also a snack bar/restaurant if you want to make a whole day of it.
For an extra charge there are several behind-the-scenes tours available as well.
It was recently created with the strong coordination of the chairman of Home Depot in 2005 (and with $320 million-most donated by him), to feature and present attractions to downtown Atlanta. The aquarium has 8 million gallons of water in various tanks and holds 100,000 aquatic fish and species. The white beluga whale is the largest of them. Cost is $39.50, children $27.00, and seniors, $34.50 premium pass that includes a 3D show. General admission is $3.00 less. Pick a time where not as many visitors are going. It can get crowded inside, and people milling round and confused where to go directional to see the sites. It also can obfuscate your view of the fish in the tank when others are face against the glass.
The Georgia Aquarium is advertised as the world's largest aquarium with a capacity of more than 8 million gallons of fresh and marina water. The Georgia Aquarium was a $250 million gift to the community from Home Depot co-founder, Bernie Marcus and is also the only facility outside of Asia to house whale sharks. The Aquarium also features a range of species from beluga whales, which are found in the Arctic region, to catfish native to Georgia.
Child (3-12): $19.50
Senior (65+): $21.50
Sunday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm
See My Travelogue for more photos.
A fairly new addition to Atlanta, right on Centennial Park and next to the World of Coke---parking available for all in the big deck. The aquarium has Beluga whales, sharks, dolphins and lots more---touching areas for kids of all ages where you can touch a small shark or other harmless fish---a great 4-d movie (extra $$), and a Wolfgang Puck food court area....
check out the webcams on their website!
At the Georgia Aquarium, plunge into a one-of-a-kind experience with the world's largest collection of aquatic animals and over 8 million gallons of water. Georgia Aquarium's five unique galleries house hundreds species including whale sharks, beluga whales, otters and much more. Together they present an endless display of the most exceptional animals on earth. Plus, experience the fourth dimension at Deepo's Undersea 3D Wondershow.
It was great. The kids enjoyed it.
Monterey Bay Aquarium is still better.
We purchased Senior tickets for $22.50 each for our visit. We only visited the aquarium and we used about 4 hours to see it all. It was quite fascinating to see these huge fish swim by us, so we could get a good look at things we've never seen before - in real life motion!
Right across the street is the Coca Cola Venue.
We paid $10 for parking.
I'd say that 3-4 hours for the aquarium is enough time to take it in in a leisurely fashion. Add another hour or so for the titanic exhibit and you should be fine. As Moira stated, strollers should not be a problem anywhere. Where they have stairs, they also have ramps or elevators. I know that they do have some interaction with scout organizations but I don't know the extent that they actively work with them on badges. They also have several behind the scenes types of tours available as well as overnight programs. Several of the overnight programs mention scouting badges. Here is an excerpt from their overnight descriptions:
This program is designed for grades 2-5. Let the Georgia Aquarium staff take your group on a cruise aboard the “SS Star” through the deep waters of the ocean and its coral reefs. The program focuses on the aquatic animals and habitats including sharks and whales and what you can do to help preserve these wonderful resources. Get ready to explore the Aquarium through a variety of special activities, tours, animal encounters and more!
Special programs for Brownies, Junior Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts are also available.
This interactive program designed for middle school students, grades 6-8, takes your students on a scientific journey exploring geological oceanography, which focuses on the topographic features and physical makeup of the ocean floor; meteorological oceanography, which pertains to the study of the ocean’s interaction with the atmosphere and the effect on weather and climate; and biological oceanography, which concentrates on deep ocean animal life. This program is also perfect for Boy Scouts earning their Oceanography badge.
The URL is: http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/visitUs/sleepover.aspx#adult
Here are a couple more links for city or multi-passes involving the aquarium:
Hope this helps you some. :-)
(as for world of Coke? That is about a 1-2 hour thing unless you want to explore every nook and cranny in the place. If you do that, then you will want to plan a full day between it and the Aquarium. They are literally right next to each other so if you're interested in it at all, I'd recommend planning on both at the same time. It is also very close to the CNN building so you could make a full day of the three locations.)
The Georgia Aquarium is not just about the huge tanks and monster reefs.... They also have some critters from freshwater systems that aren't all fish. :-) They are also building a new Dolphin exhibit that should be open in late 2010 (so I don't have any pictures of it yet. I'm good, but not THAT good! *LOL*)
also, for those who wish to come back more than once, it is cheaper to buy an annual membership than to pay full price two times. And then you get a discount on parking, the gift shop and purchasing passes for other people. :-)
The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium in the US to have whale shark. Unfortunately, they only have 3 of them right now as one just died on 11JAN2007. :-(
Update: 3 of the 4 have died, but we ordered a few more so we're back up to 3. :-) (and yes, it was special delivery as whale sharks are bigger than the UPS trucks.... )
Updated update: We're back up to 4 of the giant rascals! We also have a manta ray which is the only one in an aquarium in North America! I shall have to see about getting pictures of her to upload for ya!
Claimed to be the world's largest aquarium...With more than eight million gallons of fresh and marine water and more aquatic life than found in any other aquarium. Georgia Aquarium has 5 different sections (including its famous Beluga whale tank) , plus stunning lights & sounds common area...Check out their website for complete details.
The Georgia Aquarium is one of the top aquariums in the world. In fact, they say it's the world's largest aquarium. And yes, its a great one. So many kinds of beautiful, colorful fish and other sea life, on display for you to enjoy. From almost microscopic little fish from the Amazon, to giant gentle beluga whales and whale sharks, you'll have a ball at the Georgia Aquarium. And the kids will really love it. They'll be fascinated by all the sea life, displays, and special events for children too. They'll even help you plan a corporate event or kids party.
The Aquarium is a must-see while in Atlanta. General Admission tickets for adults are $26, $19.50 for kids aged 3-12. Other ticket plans are available too.
An afternoon in the Georgia Aquarium is one of the better ways to spend time in Atlanta. The design of the Georgia Aquarium is very interesting and helps to create a very active environment instead of the quiet, dark hallway look many aquariums possess. In one exhibit everyone can grab a large diagram with pictures of the fish of the exhibit; you can then spend some time trying to make sure you spot them all and that you didn't miss anything in your rush through the crowded tunnel.
Georgia Aquarium is also one of the only places in the Unites States where you can see living whale sharks, which were purchased from Taiwan before the grand opening in the early 2000's. You get to see the whale sharks while inside a large tunnel with a domed glass roof along with many different kinds of fish and a hammerhead shark.
The aquarium was a big hit with me and all the ooo's and ahhh's gave me the impression it was a big hit with everyone else who was there as well!
They bill this as the largest aquarium in the world. They have divided it into 5 sections and to be honest, it was all very nice and well done, but not exactly ground breaking: basically the stuff you see in your average aquarium.
Then we got to the Ocean Voyager section and....well, it is incredible. The 6 million gallon tank contains four whale sharks and thousands of other fish. One room has an enormous viewing window and another section is a walk through tunnel where you can look up and see the whale sharks swim over. It is spectacular and well worth the admission by itself.
They have a "4D" movie that I would describe as adequate. The kids might like it (although the ones near us were terrified). I'd recommend the far superior 3D movie at the World of Coke next door.
The aquarium is fairly new and very well done, with different sections for different ecosystems, like the deep sea, rivers, the reef, etc.
The biggest attraction is a gigantic tank in front of which you can sit for ages and still see something new all the time, with its largest inhabitant being a whale shark. It is just absolutely amazing if you are standing close to the tank and see this large animal glide past right in front of you. There is also tunnel through the tank where it feels a bit like you're in the middle of the ocean, with fish all around you.
For me, the two other main attractions were the loggerhead turtle and the beluga whales, which are the aquarium clowns. They never seem to be just swimming straight, but either on their back, or "standing" on their head. They were very playful and they were fun to watch.
There are more photos from the aquarium in a travelogue.
I have been to Aquariums in quite a few US cities, and the Georgia Aquarium makes all of them look like a pet shop.
From the massive amount of walking space to the huge tanks and great lighting, it's truly the best of the best.