While in town recently, a group of us decided to visit the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere – the Georgia Aquarium. With 13 acres and 10 million gallons of fresh & marine water, they house tens of thousands of animals! Unless there is a special offer, be sure to buy your tickets in advance on their website and save 20% on weekdays & 10% on weekends. With these pre-purchased tickets you’ll be able to enter via a separate line, but you still may need to wait anyway because you’re not the only one buying tickets online!
The exterior of the aquarium is fairly large but it may feel underwhelming when you first enter. You’re greeted by a room with a very underwater feeling only to be led into a giant hall, similar to many large museums. From here, you can branch out into several corridors which lead you to the 5 main exhibits of the aquarium: Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales.
For the casual to avid fan of aquariums, a full walk-through of the aquarium will only take a couple hours. Some exhibits will take longer than others and will depend on how often you stop to read the signs. We only attended the Dolphin Tales show but if you check out every show/feeding available, I’m sure it will be an even longer trip. Hardcore fans will also want to give the touch tank (Touchwall) a chance but beware of the long line.
If you can spare a moment, take your time with the Ocean Voyager conveyor belt! The automated walkway will have you go through a tunnel – you’ll get to experience what it will be like inside the tank filled with tons of animals like the famous whale shark!
Some of the other animals I enjoyed were the manta rays, penguins (poke your head into their home!), eels, sea otters (watch them swim!), and whales!
The aquarium gift shop is filled with something for people of all ages. There’s apparel, toys, plushies, snacks, jewelry, and more! You could potentially spend a lot of time in here as well. But back to the aquarium…
To be honest, I’ve been to a few other aquariums which aren’t as large but took just as much time and were just as enjoyable! I think the Georgia Aquarium is considered very large mostly due to the dolphin tank, the tunnel tank, and the open space for the crowds to hang out, eat, or to watch the penguins walk on the ramp (which may or may not be worth the wait, depending on your visit). Nevertheless, I’m glad I got to check it out! And now you get to check out some of the highlights from my visit in the following video: