Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's visually stimulating Groupon: for $21, you get a general-admission ticket (up to a $26 value) and a Quick Dip Behind the Scenes Tour ticket (a $15 value) at the Georgia Aquarium. Ever since Urban Dictionary ascribed a new meaning to "clicking the buy button," we've been forced to change our purchase procedure and redirect our "Buy" button to Georgia Aquarium's site.
As the world's largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium boasts more than 60 diverse exhibits enriched by more than 8 million gallons of water. Curious schools of family and friends can shake fins with aquatic companions at the interactive, touch-friendly Georgia Explorer gallery, peer into the eyes of warm, cuddly beluga whales at Georgia-Pacific's Cold Water Quest gallery, and defy logic at the on-site 4D Theater, which combines brilliant sound, 3-D film, and various sensory stimuli such as the touch of faux tentacles and the attentiveness of whale shark ushers.
The 30-minute Quick Dip tour provides both over- and underwater views of the River Scout exhibit, a rich freshwater environment housing aquatic flora and fauna from Africa, South America, and Asia, along with local critters from Georgia. After high-fiving the Asian small-clawed otters through the glass, Quick Dippers then advance to perch above the Ocean Voyager exhibit. There, wide-eyed land walkers enjoy one-of-a-kind views of the tank below, which teems with three massive manta rays, goliath grouper, hammerhead sharks, VHS copies of Maverick sealed in Ziploc bags, and four of the world's largest fish, the mighty whale shark.
As the world's largest aquarium that houses the world's largest aquarium habitat containing the world's largest living fish species, which owns the world's largest beanie-baby collection, the Georgia Aquarium is an immersive destination for both the aimless explorer and the aqua-fanatic.
This deal is not valid September 3–6. The Quick Dip Behind the Scenes Tour is subject to availability. High heels are not allowed on the tour.
- If you can afford it, the behind the scenes tour was really interesting and informative. The group was under 15 people and it went to all the uncrowded locations behind the scenes. – Marsha Macko, Yahoo! Travel
- We were blown away by the whale shark tank! That's worth seeing all by itself. – Scattt, TripAdvisor
More than 10 million gallons of water fill the gigantic exhibits inside Georgia Aquarium, making it the largest in the world when it opened in 2005. Most visitors, of course, will be far more interested in what's gliding and diving inside all those exhibits. Their journey through the world's diverse oceans begins just inside the entrance at The SunTrust Georgia Explorer, where visitors touch rays and marvel at the sea turtle's ability to keep from sliding out of its shell. To the right lies the Southwest Tropical Diver exhibit, a mesmerizing display of coral reefs and the creatures that wind among them.
Other areas of the aquarium blend education with entertainment. Dolphins leap, swim, and dance in time to music at the AT&T Dolphin Tales show, while Journey with Gentle Giants Immersion Programs let visitors dive with massive whale sharks. There's even a movie theater, although it blows most multiplexes out of the water by adding 3-D imagery and 4-D effects. Special effects built into the seats and the theater's surroundings mean that audiences don't just see ultra-real animals and rippling waters pass before them—they feel them, too.
That's just a sampling of the more than 60 exhibits and activities that fill Georgia Aquarium. But its staff do manage to make it outside of the massive facility. In addition to their exhibits and education initiatives, the aquarium houses the Correll Center for Aquatic Animal Health: a 10,000 square-foot facility dedicated to aquatic animal conservation. Its research stretches from the whale sharks of Mexico to the penguins of South Africa to the belugas of Alaska.