The Georgia Aquarium, A Weekend Opportunity For Anybody

The Georgia Aquarium, A Weekend Opportunity For Anybody

Anna Poznyak

Overwhelmed with daily routine? In search of harmony and peace? Looking for an interesting way to spend a weekend?

Harmony and piece look like this
Harmony and piece look like this

If you answered yes to any of these, a trip to downtown Atlanta may be answered. The Georgia Aquarium is a great weekend opportunity for the whole family or a group of any age and interest. The second largest aquarium in the world, (China’s Ocean Kingdom is now the largets as of Jan 2014) the aquariun boasts more than 500 species of marine animals. Here is a place you feel the stress going away, giving place to the ranquility of marine life.

Surprisingly, many Atlantans have never been to the aquarium, one of the city’s top attractions. Perhaps this is because the price. A family of five may have to pay up to $200 to get to the aquarium. On the website, however, there are a couple of opportunities to save some money. One of these options, for example, is free admission on your birthday. Purchasing tickets online and choosing the day of your visit can save anywhere between $3 and $7. The official Georgia Aquarium website provides broad information on all the options, including pre-paid parking tickets, group sales, hotel packages, and more.

The main atrium impresses with its size and design
The main atrium impresses with its design

As soon as I arrived inside the immense building, I realized  that the spectacle was worth the money. I entered into the darkness, lighted by blue gleams of water. I was led to the main hall by marvelous, peculiar “life wall” of fish, swimming in one direction, guiding me through the black hole of a passage. Already excited, I gasped when saw the next step of the adventure: an enormous atruim, branching out to five main galleries. The atrium also featured an upper level and two-story cafeteria.

The Georgia Aquarium features five different parts of the world in its galleries. As I entered the main hall, my eyes at once

Pudgy star fish barely seem to be alive
Pudgy star fish barely seem to be alive

bumped into three of the five galleries: Cold Water Quest, River Scout and Georgia Explorer. In the first, visitors meet animals that live in cold ocean waters, such as cute African penguins, sea otters and Beluga whales. The second gallery, River Scout gallery, presents the fauna of the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia and even Georgia. Bright combinations of colorful, nimble fish and bizarre water plants highlight the room with their inspiring beauty. Among pretty fish, it was exciting to see a frightening albino aligator,  merciless piranhas, pudgy starfish and charming Asian small-clawed otters. Georgia Explorer, is currently under renovation and will be opened next year.

On the same side of the hall, an elevator leads upstairs to Dolphin Tales, a live dolphin show. Gorgeous, smart dolphins and their tricks are only a part of a performance. Attending the Dolphin Tales show is like going to the musical, as it has its own plot and actors.

These mysterious but fascinating jellyfish
These mysterious but fascinating jellyfish

On the opposite side of the hall, the Tropical Diver section contains many fascinating exhibitions. Probably the most impressive are aquariums with jellyfish, slowly swimming through brightly colored water. At the end, visitors see a transparent acrylic wall with living corals and thousands of colorful reef fish. In the Ocean Voyager there is a moving track which moves visitors along long under an acrylic tunel. Nimble small fish, flexible manta rays with long tails and gargantuan, terrifying whale sharks, the pride of Georgia Aquiarium, swim right above your head. While moving along the tunnel, visitors can see both the beauty of the aquarium as well its size. The path leads its riders to the gigantic acrylic viewing window the size of two cinema screens. In total darkness, visitors can observe hundreds in fish of different sizes and shapes, swimming in front of them, separated only by the glass.

I would be surprised if anyone could thoroughly explore the aquarium in less than five hours. Observing hundreds of fanciful animals and learning about them from informational screens, signs, and explanations of staff members can take a good deal of time. Feeling tired, but exhilarated and filled with emotions,visitors will have feeling like this was a day well spent. The gift shop is a place to buy something memorable from the visit, from  common T-shirts and key chains to ladies’ jewellery and fluffy headphones.

The Georgia Aquarium is a perfect place for a family weekend, and it also can serve as a place of inspiration and education. If you live in Atlanta or nearby, but have never been to the Georgia Aquarium, you should definitely take this trip. The cost is well worth the visit.