Yesterday was a momentous day for my family. My oldest turned five. He was so excited all day. It was the kind of excitement that’s infectious. Everything was fun and amazing because it was his birthday.
Instead of a party this year, he wanted to go on a creature adventure for his birthday. What can I say? Wild Kratts and Planet Earth are his favorite shows. Anyway, since we live in the south and have family in Georgia, we negotiated a trip to The Georgia Aquarium. He’s been once before and still raves about it.
So perhaps while you’re reading this, I’ll be traipsing through the world’s second largest aquarium with a look of awe to match my son’s. It doesn’t matter whether you’re five or ninety-five, that place is cool.
Which is why today’s post is 10 Things About The Georgia Aquarium.
- When it opened in 2005 it was the largest aquarium in the world. It was surpassed in 2012 by one in Singapore, though after the expansion currently in progress I’m unsure if it will regain the lead.
- It sits on land donated by the Coca-Cola Company. And thanks to corporate and private donations, it opened debt free.
- It is the only institution outside of Asia to house whale sharks.
- More than 100,000 specimens representing over 700 species reside there. Including a manta ray rescued from a net in South Africa–it is one of only four sites worldwide to showcase such.
- Its biggest individual tank is 6.3 million gallons, and combined it has more 10 million gallons of marine and salt-water habitats.
- While the aquarium has served as an economic boost for Atlanta, the board also pushes education and conservation as prioritized goals. When the dolphin show fell under controversy, it was redesigned to focus more on education.
- The coral used in exhibits is man-made and part of a joint project between Georgia Tech and The University of the South Pacific.
- The aquarium partners with universities (eg Georgia Tech, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Florida Atlantic University) and the federal government to help save endangered species through research and education.
- It has a 4D simulator that can take you on a submarine tour of prehistoric seas.
- The aquarium is part of the Smithsonian Affiliations program, and although run as a non-profit, has some of the highest admission charges nationwide.
Well, that’s it for November. Maybe next year I’ll give you 10 Things About Veterans’ Day, but for now whale sharks and manta rays are dancing through my head. Just keep swimming!