Where the Whale Sharks Swim

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

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The jaw-dropping "big window" into the 6-million gallon whale shark exhibit. Georgia Aquarium

Visiting the Georgia Aquarium

Located in sunny downtown Atlanta, this is the world’s largest aquarium. It houses three specimens of the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, which is harmless to humans and can grow to lengths of 65 feet and weigh 35 tons. The aquarium has more than eight million gallons of fresh and marine water, which hold up to 120,000 fish and sea creatures.

Five Habitat Displays

These are divided into five different displays representing a wide range of habitats, including Ocean Voyageur (whale sharks, stingrays, and hammerhead sharks), Coldwater Quest (beluga whales, sea lions, giant octopus, and Japanese spider crabs), Georgia Explorer (local sea life such as horseshoe crabs in kid-friendly touch pools), River Scout (Amazon fish such as arapaima and arawana, as well as Asian small-clawed otters), and Tropical Diver (tropical coral reefs and a children’s area where kids can “find Nemo”).

The reef aquarium was set up by Dr. Bruce Carlson, formerly the director of the Waikiki Aquarium and a frequent speaker at conferences of amateur marine aquarists.

Whale Shark Research & Conservation

But the aquarium is not merely a diverting day trip; it is also an opportunity to learn about sustainability in diverse ecosystems. The exhibits stress conservation and environmentalism in all habitats, and the aquarium is an active supporter of whale shark research and conservation.

Their Seafood Savvy program educates visitors on how to choose seafood for conscientious consumption.


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Visit the Aquarium and pre-purchase tickets online at http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/. The website features aquarium webcams of beluga whales and zebra shark pups.

-Bayley Lawrence