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Diving into the Georgia Aquarium

By Steve Jones

A vast expanse of green lawn spans between Atlanta's World of Coke and our destination, the Georgia Aquarium. Across the avenue lies Centennial Olympic Park as people hurry to see all they can here in this popular tourist destination. There is even a group on Segways taking a tour.

As a learning experience, the Aquarium is fun and informative. As an eye popping thrill, the Aquarium is also a success. The 10 millionth visitor was celebrated in June after the facility being open less than four years.

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The Tunnel... photo by Shanny

The Aquarium is pretty full as we wind our way through the turnstiles and head for the main attraction: the Ocean Voyager exhibit. The exhibit is a clear tunnel that allows one to view from below the giant water tank. Overhead and to the sides swim hammerhead sharks, manta and smaller cownose rays, a whale shark and large tooth sawfish, as well as dozens of others. The crowd oohs and ahs as the underwater display continues non-stop. The swirling display of fish is at times overwhelming, yet the grace of these beautiful creatures is inescapable.

Upon exiting the tunnel, we head up the spiral walkway where a large room awaits presenting a theater view of the vast aquarium. The scenery is accompanied by symphony music that enhances the ballet ongoing behind the thick clear plastic wall. Families and friends relax on tiered seating as others hurry to have their picture taken in front of their vast tank.

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The Theatre View... photo by Shanny

Next up is the beluga whale tank. We arrive just in time for feeding. The belugas 'stand' like seahorses as the attendants drop fish down their gullets. They seem to be dancing and grinning in their Caspar the Ghost like appearance. Now that the feeding is done they float and glide as if in suspended animation, even rubbing their bellies from time to time against the side of the tank.

Upon exiting the building, one feels closer to the life that exists largely out of our view. There is no doubt that the "Magic of Water" motto of the Georgia Aquarium is true. You have to see it to believe it.

Learn more about the Georgia Aquarium here: