As part of our Homeschool Road Trips series, we are sharing some amazing places to visit in each state! In the Georgia post, I mentioned some amazing places to visit in Atlanta–including the Georgia Aquarium!
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss the Georgia Aquarium:
1. It’s the largest (and most inhabited) aquarium in the United States!
Actually, it’s the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere. You’d have to travel to Asia to find another aquarium to compare with the Georgia Aquarium. In fact, until Chimelong’s Ocean Theme was opened in China in 2014, it was the largest aquarium in the world. The significance of that fact alone is worth the visit.
2. It is the only place outside of Asia to see a Whale Shark up close.
The Whale Shark (pictured below) is endangered, and it is considered to be the world’s largest living fish (It is not a mammal.). The GA Aquarium is the only place in the western hemisphere where you can view a whale shark, and you can do so though the up-close view offered in the clear walking tunnel of the “Ocean Voyager!”
3. It houses different habitat-based exhibits.
The layout of the Georgia Aquarium makes it almost like visiting several different aquatic exhibits. In each one, you can learn about water-loving animals and what makes their environments unique. This is obviously super friendly to homeschool families, who love to learn and have fun at the same time! At the Georgia Aquarium, you can visit the following galleries :
This amazing construction was built specifically for the whale sharks who live at the GA Aquarium. It features a clear, acrylic tunnel that visitors can walk through and view the exhibit as if they are underwater: truly a unique experience!
Cold Water Quest:
This exhibit features aquatic creatures who thrive in the coldest waters. It houses penguins, otters, seals, and Beluga whales!
Southern Company River Scout:
As you may have guessed, this exhibit features animals that thrive in fresh water. Visitors can see some dangerous animals (like alligators) close up, as well as more tame creatures (like the tortoise). In addition, this exhibit is a great contrast to the many salt-water habitats at the aquarium. Therefore, it provides some good talking points for children who are learning about habitats.
Everyone loves dolphins! The Dolphin Coast exhibit is an amazing show where you can watch dolphins train and put on a performance.
Under the Boardwalk:
If sea lions make you laugh, you’ll love this exhibit. At “Under the Boardwalk,” visitors learn more about these social creatures and their natural habitat.
This is a beautiful and peaceful exhibit, full of colorful reefs and the animals who thrive in them.
4. It offers fun activities designed for all ages. This aquarium is really well-designed for family fun. There are so many interactive exhibits for children and adults to enjoy, from dolphin and sea lion encounters (and shows), to the the caves and tunnels built around the penguin exhibit, to the aquanaut adventure section (interactive play/learning area). Everyone in your crew will love it!
5. It’s extremely educational and homeschool friendly. While aquariums are always educational, this one really goes above and beyond to engage every visitor in learning more about the world’s oceans (and rivers) and the creatures that live in them! They provide free lesson plans that you can download to study before your visit. They even have a special special program for homeschooled students on Tuesdays !
Tickets are typically $39.95 per person, but there are discounts available for early birds (before 11 a.m.), GA residents, and those with a yearly membership. There are also various other discounts throughout the year, so be sure to check their site before you plan your trip.
9:00 a.m. – 5:oo p.m. daily
To find out more details about the wonderful things to do and see at the Georgia Aquarium, visit their website.