Have you ever wished you could wade with the whale sharks or be up close and personal with a manta ray? Not only can you see more than 25 types of animals including blacktip reef sharks, giant groupers and largetooth sawfishes in the Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager exhibit you can SWIM with them. The world’s largest aquarium is home to four whale sharks and the only four manta rays in a U.S. aquarium. Their Journey with the Gentle Giants Immersion Program allows you to suit up and SCUBA dive or snorkel with the sharks, rays and thousands of other animals.
Recently my family and I enjoyed a staycation at the Omni Hotel CNN Center Atlanta and took a private behind the scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium. I had run 19 miles the day before (I’m training for the Chicago Marathon) and was happy to have the morning off to experience this home-town attraction. While I’d love to include a picture of me smiling in the water with a whale shark, truthfully, I’m not that brave; my husband, however, has already hinted that he’d get in the tank in a heartbeat and that Christmas is coming soon. Ahem. We did have the opportunity as a part of the tour to get a view from the top of the tank and watch the staff feed the whale sharks their breakfast. It was fascinating. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or the kids!
We also spent some time visiting my son, Miles’, favorite attraction – the belugas. We had perfect timing during our tour and got to see firsthand two guest taking part in the new launched Beluga & Friends Interactive program. The program provides up to 2-hours of educational facts about beluga whales and participation in an intimate, interactive training session alongside Aquarium trainers in the water with the belugas. It was neat to have an inside peek at their training techniques and have our guide explain in detail what was happening.
We ended our time with the fish at the new The AT&T Dolphin Tales show. The first-of-its-kind production was like a Sea World meets Broadway theatrical show complete with a dramatic storyline, music, singing and, of course, dolphins. Oddly entertaining the combination works and provided lots of oohs and ahhs as the dolphins wowed the crowd with their high-flying tricks.
While this wasn’t my first time to the Georgia Aquarium it was definitely my most thrilling. Whether walking through via general admission or diving in deep with an interactive program the Georgia Aquarium is an Atlanta must do.
Until next time, I’m off and running …
Disclosure: My family’s admission was provided by the Omni Hotel CNN Atlanta; as always my thoughts and opinions are all my own.