By Antoinette Bierman
If you’re looking to combine a great family vacation with a top-notch educational experience, check out Atlanta hotels and plan a trip to the Georgia Aquarium. The largest aquarium in the world, the Georgia Aquarium offers truly amazing ocean views and opportunities to get up-close and personal with some of the most incredible marine life ever seen.
I was long overdue for an Atlanta visit and returned to the Aquarium last week. As with every visit, I was quickly reminded why it’s such an amazing place to see and experience, especially for families. The spring and early summer seasons here in Atlanta offer great weather and scenery, and on the day of my visit families were out in full force enjoying not only the Aquarium, but also the surrounding Centennial Park.
The Aquarium itself offers multiple exhibits that cater to everything from small river fish to deep sea mammals. There’s no way to describe everything — and I won’t spoil your visit by giving it all away — but I will point out a few favorite exhibits that you won’t want you to miss.
Who knew there were penguins in Africa? Enter the Aquarium and you’ll discover this is true at your first stop, the African Penguin exhibit. The fun begins here, too, as adorable little guys love to play and interact with the audience. The Asian Otters also know how to show-off, but are so focused on playing and swimming with each other that they seem to hardly notice the swarms of people watching their every move. Speaking of show-off’s, tucked away in the back corner of the aquarium is one of the largest exhibits. Here, resident Beluga Whales, Beethoven and Maris, captivate audiences with their size and personality.
The Georgia Aquarium is obviously built for family-fun, learning, and conservation education, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find several interactive exhibits and play areas. Kids seem to really enjoy the colorful Coral Reef Exhibit in the Tropical Diver room — a magnet for those searching for Nemo and Dory!
Have I mentioned how big the Georgia Aquarium is? As if the listing in the Guinness Book of World Records isn’t enough, the Ocean Voyager exhibit backs it up with 6.3 million gallons of water and six whale sharks! To see the largest fish in the sea up close and personal is an amazing experience. Trixie, the largest whale shark at the Georgia Aquarium is 23 feet long… and still growing. She shares her tank with her fellow whale sharks, giant grouper fish, and Tallulah the Manta Ray, the largest ray species in the Ocean.
Insider tip: To stay close to the downtown neighborhood and within reach of the Aquarium, book on of these favorite Atlanta hotels: The Ellis on Peachtree, the Westin Peachtree Plaza, and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Starting today, you can also find outstanding summer savings with free nights and up to 40% off at many hotels in Atlanta and across the country.
Antoinette Bierman is a Market Manager for Orbitz Worldwide. She is “Southerner” at heart and a “West Coaster” by birth who loves to travel, especially on road trips where she can be joined by her very active and very high-maintenance 4-legged friends.