Ralph and Norton are definitely the biggest stars of the new Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. At nearly 20 feet long and growing, these two enormous whale sharks are members of the largest fish species on Earth. They roam the waters of a six-million-gallon tank they share with thousands of other fish, including sawfish, red snappers, stingrays, and hammerhead sharks.
The aquarium features 100,000 animals representing more than 500 species in 60 separate habitats and has several major viewing galleries, each arranged around a theme. The Cold Water Quest exhibit is home to beluga whales Nico and Gasper, who were rescued from a Mexico City amusement park. They are being rehabilitated and will live with several other belugas to form a breeding program.
The Georgia Explorer section focuses on Georgia's coast, with touch tanks full of stingrays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and shrimp, as well as a children's playground.
In the River Scout Gallery, visitors are treated to a video of a river that appears to be running overhead. It teems with fish found in the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia, and the state of Georgia. Several Asian small-clawed otters play in an adjacent exhibit.
Georgia Aquarium Information
Address: 225 Baker St., Atlanta, GA
Hours of Operation:
- Mon.-Thurs.: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
- Fri.-Sun.: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $24; children, $18
To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
- Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
- Atlanta City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the Big Peach.
- Georgia State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Georgia, as well as other recreational activities.
- Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.