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Day 5: Georgia Aquarium

Our last day of our Atlanta attractions week for summer fun features one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, the Georgia Aquarium. Even though Atlanta only recently opened their aquarium, it ranks among the best in the country. Unfortunately, it also has prices to match its high ranking status, but there are some ways you can find discounted tickets. One of the deals the aquarium offers is free admission on your birthday, so we went on Micah’s birthday and paid for only one ticket (you can also save time and money by buying your ticket online). We went in the late morning on a week day, and the crowds were manageable until mid-afternoon, which was, fortunately, the time at which we were finishing our visit.

As you walk into the aquarium, you walk into a large, central area with kiosks and entrances to other branches of the aquarium. There are bright lights, music, and quite a few advertisements scattered around the room, making for a Times Square-esque experience. We decided to make our way to each of the sections of the aquarium, stopping at several areas for the different shows and feeding times offered throughout the day. We made our way through the river section of the aquarium, which had quite a few tanks, most of which featured tunnels for additional viewing places and a little adventure. The highlight of this section were the small Asian river otters, where we spent 15 minutes.

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We made our way to the coldwater section, which only featured a few animals, but large exhibits. We saw the beluga whales, crawled through the penguin exhibit, and then spent 15 minutes looking at the sea otters. We watched the new sea lion show, which was fun, although shorter than expected. Another highlight was the large ocean tank with whale sharks, manta rays, and even a sea turtle. We also walked through the tropical fish section, an interactive children section (which adults can enjoy too!), and watched a short film based on Happy Feet. The aquarium features a full service cafeteria, where we ate a Caesar salad for a nice snack.

Overall, we enjoyed our visit to the aquarium, and especially enjoyed the otters, beluga whales, sea turtle, and ocean tank. We were a bit surprised at how few animals were in the aquarium-the emphasis seemed to be more on large exhibits and flashy shows as opposed to tanks of fish, which we prefer. In addition, it seemed as though you couldn’t walk more than a few feet without seeing a large advertisement, which, of course, is helpful for the aquarium, but takes away from the actual attractions. We enjoyed our time at the Georgia Aquarium, and it is worth a visit, but make sure to try to find deals before you go to help mitigate the cost.

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