Aquarium Atlanta

The Largest Aquarium in the U.S.

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has recently revealed their plans for expansion to make the largest aquarium in the country even bigger. The expansion will include a new gallery for viewing sharks, one of the most captivating animals in the ocean. The gallery will also act as an extension of the aquarium’s education efforts, with the aim to help guests understand role that sharks serve in the oceans.

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is highly invested in ocean conservation and hopes that education will inspire greater efforts to protect the ocean. The edition is expected to open in late fall 2020.

The gallery will feature stunning floor to ceiling windows to give guests a view of the sharks swimming directly overhead in close proximity. Potential shark species under consideration include hammerheads, sand tiger sharks, and sandbar sharks.

Additionally, the are plans for a new exhibit for animal interactions, which will give guests the opportunity to get even closer to some of the animals. In the meantime, there already a wide range of animal interactions that guest can enjoy.

Sea Lions

You can go behind the scenes and interact with these charismatic animals. You’ll enjoy an exclusive tour of the California sea lion facility and a special educational presentation on the sea lions, then participate in an exciting sea lion training session alongside Georgia Aquarium’s own animal trainers. Learn from trainers who spend countless hours with these animals and can teach you about their habitats, conservation, feeding and more.

The Sea Lion Encounter offers exclusive, up close and personal animal encounters with California sea lions while learning more about the Aquarium’s rescue, research and conservation initiatives. Interact with a sea lion getting closer than you ever have before, close enough to even pet one and take home with a photo so you can share the memory of this moment with friends and family.

Like with the sea lions, you will have more exciting encounters with these other animals.


The dolphin theater is where you’ll to get to meet dolphins face to face. You’ll be able to touch and feed these friendly creatures while you participate first-hand in a training session that shows how the staff care for their dolphins, and keep them healthy and happy. Prepare to get a little wet as you play with these beautiful marine mammals.


At the Cold Water Gallery you will get to play with African penguins that will waddle about the room and might hold still long enough for you to pet them.

Sea Otters

The otters are another member of the Cold Water Quest gallery. Enjoy the exclusive tour of the sea otter facility and play with the otters while helping prepare their meals.


Come Face-to-face with these arctic beauties by suiting up and standing in a waist-deep beluga habitat. You’ll participate in an educational orientation on the biology, conservation, training. You also care of beluga whales, as well as get tips for a safe and fun experience during the interaction. There is no need to worry about the wet suit; equipment, towels, lockers and showers are all provided. This program has a very limited schedule and capacity for reservations.

Whale Sharks, Rays & More

The Journey with Gentle Giants Swim is the only opportunity in the world where you are guaranteed to swim with whale sharks, manta rays and other rarely viewed ocean life. You’ll get to swim with a snorkel in the Ocean Voyager exhibit with thousands of animals for the experience of a lifetime. Specifically, you swim using some of the newest and most innovative rebreather equipment available.

Rebreather tanks function differently than traditional gear. They give you extended breathing endurance and a lack of bubbles that normally get in the way. Dive time for this experience is over an hour, giving you unprecedented tank time with whale sharks, rays and more. Afterwards take home a souvenir photo and an exclusive t-shirt will remind of this rare experience for years to come.

Georgia Aquarium History

In the past 10 years, Georgia Aquarium has established itself as a leader in not-for-profit research, education, and conservation. As a premier aquatic science education institution, they have attracted over 28 million visitors since our opening, including over 1.3 million students and educators.

Alongside accredited facilities, the aquarium’s teams of professionals conduct research by working with animals both in human care and in their natural habitats to improve methods, develop innovative and new exhibits, contribute to the understanding of the underwater world and apply new discoveries to the conservation of aquatic life. Every day, researchers in the aquarium exhibits and labs are learning more about marine life in order to develop new methods of animal care and veterinary medicine.

Additionally, by combining field research with the study of on-site animals in a controlled environment, the aquarium is contributing to the advancement of human knowledge in the area of animal science and has been throughout their relatively short history.


May 2003

To begin with, Bernie Marcus, Mayor Shirley Franklin and the team broke ground north of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. The Coca-Cola Company donated the site, a nine-acre plot of land. The donated land was valued at $24 million.

June 2005

Straightaway, Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta’s first two whale sharks made a historic flight from Taiwan to Atlanta, Georgia.

November 23, 2005

In fact, only 30 months after groundbreaking, Georgia Aquarium opened to the general public.

January 2006

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta’s Learning Loop opened to school groups for a unique educational experience. Surprisingly, the one-millionth guest walked through the doors just 98 days after opening. By the end of the first year attendance totaled 3.6 million.

July 24, 2008

At last, the first manta ray exhibited in the US was introduced in Ocean Voyager built by Home Depot.

January 2011

Georgia Aquarium in AtlantaGeorgia Aquarium in Atlanta expanded with the acquisition of Marineland near St. Augustine, Florida. Hence, after extensive capital improvements, the modernized facility renamed to Marineland Dolphin Adventure.

The Georgia Aquarium’s Conservation Field Station is an adjunct facility and a member of the southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

April 2011

Major expansion project completed in the form of the AT&T Dolphin Coast gallery, at the time known as AT&T Dolphin Tales. This 1.8-million-gallon gallery continues the Aquarium’s mission to provide educational and entertaining programs and inspire the public to understand and care about dolphins. The Aquarium has also become a primary leader in the internationally recognized Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Health and Risk Assessment Project (HERA).

January 2014

Additionally, Georgia Aquarium expands again with the development of the Penguin Nursery. This new addition is aids in enhancing the Aquarium’s already successful African penguin breeding program.

January 2015

Georgia Aquarium open a new interactive, educational gallery for children and families – Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone. Aquanaut Adventure is a space built on hands-on exploration.

March 2016

Georgia Aquarium opens SunTrust Pier 225, a new exhibit highlighting California sea lions. This exhibit focuses on emphasizing the many interesting features and abilities of these animals. It also draws attention to the dangers California sea lions face today.

March 2016

At last, Georgia Aquarium opens its new dolphin presentation, AT&T Dolphin Celebration, which replaces the original presentation in the AT&T Dolphin Coast Theater. The newAT&T Dolphin Celebration showcases the grace, power, and beauty of this magnificent species. The unique, trusting relationships between trainer and animal.

January 2018

Georgia Aquarium unveils Puffins, a new North Pacific diving birds habitat. Featuring horned and tufted puffins, pigeon guillemots and common murres.

Spring 2018

Finally, plans for a major expansion expected to be completed in 2020.

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