I’m sure many of you have heard about the catastrophic flooding that is occurring in South Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Thankfully we have not been affected but I have been trying to do my part in helping others so I’ve been pretty busy.
If you read Part 1 you know that we evacuated due to the possibility of Hurricane Florence hitting Myrtle Beach as a Cat 4 hurricane, so we packed up and headed to Georgia. I finally got a moment to to sit down and finish the second part.
Although the evacuation wasn’t a typical vacation we still wanted to try to do something fun with the girls. I felt it was important to keep them busy and keep our minds off of what was happening back home.
I’m sure you have figured out that we LOVE aquariums. And when you are in the same city as the #1 aquarium in the United States (#2 in the world) we knew we had to make a visit! We were so excited to be welcomed into the Georgia Aquarium while we were in town, it was enormous and spectacular!
Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, and his wife Billi, donated $250 million through the Marcus Foundation to fund the construction of the aquarium! And if that weren’t enough, The Home Depot also built its premier exhibit, Ocean Voyager, the 6.3 million gallon habitat that is home to whale sharks, manta rays, and thousands of other fish!
Behind the Seas
Our day at the aquarium started off with a behind the scenes tour. I encourage you to sign up for this tour if you ever have the chance. I don’t know why, but behind the scenes always makes me feel like I know all of the secrets (even though, they really aren’t hiding anything) and makes me in awe of everything that is going on!
In addition to getting up close and personal with penguins our tour also included a glimpse into the massive veterinary and conservation medicine practice that keeps the animals in good health.
This is truly behind the scenes. These pumps aren’t quiet and are running non-stop all the time and there are so many of them! There are bags and bags of sand for filtering the water and keeping everything as fresh as possible for the different exhibits.
The most impressive and amazing experience on the Behind the Scenes tour was the Whale Shark tank. It’s massive at 63 million gallons and as expansive as a football field. This was definitely the highlight for us. Hands down. The Georgia Aquarium is the only institution outside of Asia to house whale sharks.
We got to check out the giant tank with the reef and colorful fish…well the backstage area of it. This gallery is home to tropical coral reefs, seahorses, jellyfish and thousands of colorful fish. We were up above this exhibit on our tour and could see many fish and how the wave is made.
In this exhibit, there is an overhead crashing wave to recreate the tropical Pacific coral reef. We were literally right beside thousands of gallons of water as it poured into the exhibit. Not only does this make a big splash, but it helps move oxygen around in the tank. It was really cool to see it from this angle instead of down below in the gallery, and it made me realize how much water the aquarium uses. 10 million gallons!
When you go behind the scenes at Tropical Diver, you see more information and an easy to understand diagram of how all of that filtration goes into play with the exhibit.
Two words…penguins, otters! Need I say more?!
The Coldwater Quest exhibit included African penguins, Southern sea otters, and beluga whales in addition to other fish and sea creatures. The girls were so excited about the penguins and sea otters (and I was too!)
The penguins were so adorable! There is an even a little area where you can stand up with your head inside this clear bubble so your basically right there with them. The girls took advantage of this, it was so cute!
Otters! Y’all I could have stood there all day and watched the otters swim. They are the cutest animals ever!
There was so much more that we didn’t get to explore because we were only in Atlanta because of the Hurricane and we had two pups back at the hotel waiting on us.
But, The Georgia Aquarium was such an amazing experience and we hope to come back one day and visit again! This was such a great way for families to spend a day in Atlanta. It definitely kept our minds off of the Hurricane that was coming through our city.
The sea is as near as we come to another world
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Thank you, Georgia Aquarium, for hosting our visit. As always, all opinions are our own.