Our family, myself and my husband included love animals. We love fish. We love ocean mammals, we are just animal lovers. Hubby and I spent our honeymoon on the beach. So when our family vacation had a kink thrown into it and we needed to head to Atlanta for a convention for a couple of days, I decided to search for something we could do as a family that we would all enjoy. Once I discovered the Georgia Aquarium we knew hands down that is what we would do.
The kids and I would lay in bed and watch the clip they have online of their Dolphin Tales show. They talked about it each and every day; Addie would beg to see her dolphins. They were beyond excited and truthfully, so was I. The day had finally arrived and the kids were beside themselves with excitement! We needed the family time and there was nothing more perfect to start it off than a day at the Georgia Aquarium.
Once we walked into the doors the children stood staring for a moment trying to decide where they wanted to go first. The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world. It houses 10 million gallons of water, it’s huge! Austin decided he wanted to get his hands into one of the touch pools. Although Addie didn’t really enjoy feeling the under water animals, Austin wanted to get in, literally! He not only got to touch the sharks and cownose rays! He was one happy little man!
The Tropical Diver exhibit is nothing short of amazing! It is one of the largest living reef exhibits of any aquarium in the world! It was created to reflect the reefs found in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Equipped with living coral and thousands of tropical fish we could have watched for hours.
Next we met up with our wonderful tour guide Bailey to get up close and personal with some of the animals as well as find out more about the core conservation beliefs that the aquarium supports. Once we were behind the scenes we learned so much more goes into the exhibit than what you actually see. There is a wave machine above the Tropical Diver exhibit that simulates the actual ocean waves that releases 6,400 gallons of water per cycle. It really was amazing to watch it release and yes, it comes with great force just like the ocean waves!
In 2010 the Georgia Aquarium started working in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation in the Upper Florida Keys to help to restore Staghorn and Elkhorn corals using ocean-based aquaculture nurseries and transplantation. The CRF is a non-profit conservation organization that was created to develop off-shore coral nurseries and reef restoration programs for critically endangered coral reefs. The goal of each restoration project is to re-establish genetically diverse thickets of coral and nurture them to maturity so they can spawn and repopulate downstream reef areas. The goal is to restore the reefs as close to their original biodiversity and stability as possible.
In 2011, two teams from Georgia Aquarium spent a week working side-by-side with CRF to complete both maintenance at the coral nurseries and plantings on Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. The Georgia Aquarium’s team was able to plant 60 new Staghorn corals back onto a section of Molasses Reef that Georgia Aquarium is sponsoring.
Sorry this photo is not great quality! Grayson and Beethoven were getting excited as they were being fed and we had front row seats (through the glass) to watch. The children loved seeing how playful these beautiful whales were. Austin insisted he was big enough to go in and feed them; maybe some day! The Georgia Aquarium has helped pioneer health assessments for Beluga whales in Alaska since 2008, using methods developed in the aquarium setting. This year, they will concentrate their focus on studying the Beluga whales in Cook Inlet, which was recently listed as endangered.
That is a glimpse into the first part of our day at the Georgia Aquarium. We truly loved every moment of it and hope to return in the near future! Although I could post for days on the conservation efforts of the aquarium, I was drawn to the fact that the aquarium’s conservation and environmental mission is not second to the enjoyment you can receive by visiting them as an attraction. It is something near and dear to their hearts.
The Georgia Aquarium is fully committed to the education of the underwater world while conducting extensive research and focusing on animal conservation.
Be sure to come back next Tuesday to see part two of our visit to the Georgia Aquarium.
While I received media tickets for my family to the Georgia Aquarium, all opinions expressed as always, are 100% my own. I would highly recommend visiting the aquarium if you live close to Atlanta or will be passing through. It is an amazing treasure to see!