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Legacy Post – Come to Atlanta and see our wonderful fish! 28 June 2009

Posted by splait in The Georgia Aquarium.
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(Originally published – 06.29.2008)

I worked at the Georgia Aquarium (GeAq) last Friday night. It is “the world’s most engaging aquarium exhibit”! In the summer, Friday nights are live Jazz Journeys nights, and the music is great. Also, you can buy wine and beer and carry it around with you (I bet that got some people’s attention!)
So, that’s a reason to come on Friday nights. What about the other 48 hours a week the GeAq is open in the summer?
The Georgia Aquarium is the LARGEST AQUARIUM IN THE WORLD!! (I know – I’m shouting! But I get that way whenever I go there or even think about it!) We have four of the largest fish in the ocean living in our 6.3 million gallon Ocean Voyager tank, living with several thousand other fish. AND YOU CAN DIVE OR SWIM WITH THEM for a nominal fee. (Sorry. I told you I get excited!) In that tank are grouper (an endangered species – I’ll talk about that another time), several other types of sharks, humphead wrasses (you gotta see ’em to believe them, and, if you get right up to the acrylic walls, you can see that they have beautiful coloring), saw fish, bat fish, salt water angels, and many others. When you enter that gallery, you actually WALK UNDER THE WATER! How cool is THAT??!!
We have the Cold Water Quest gallery, where my wife prefers to work. That one has three beluga whales (you have to see Nikko. He’s a real ham. He coulda done Vaudeville.); a giant pacific octopus; Gracie and Oz, the sea otters; the pregnant male weedy sea dragon (carries the eggs on his tail!); penguins; and many other exotic animals. You can even touch sea anemones at the touch pool.
There are three other galleries and a very entertaining 3D movie for the kids (of all ages), but my favorite gallery, and the one I work in the most, is Tropical Diver. In that exhibit, there are garden eels (appropriately named, as you’ll see when you visit), schooling pygmy sweepers, graceful zebra sharks (born at GeAq!), jellies (they ain’t fish – they are related to coral, which is an animal!), Nemo (clown anemone fish), Dori (the palette surgeonfish), sea horses, and the great living Reef Wall, my favorite spot in the entire building. It has 165,000 gallons of water, about 80 species of fish, over 2,000 total fish, live coral, and more color than you will see anywhere else in Nature except the oceans themselves! They add new fish and coral all the time, so there’s always something new to see.
Best of all are the guests (YOU!) I get to interact with kids of all sizes and teach them what I’ve learned and observed about the habitats and animals. I love watching people’s faces when they round the corners of either the Ocean Voyager or Tropical Diver exhibits and come to the large windows for the first time. And the littlest kids – the looks of wonder on their faces and the questions they ask (Can I take a whale shark home? Who do I go see about that? – I told him to talk to his mother, and to tell her to get a really big ZipLoc bag and a truck.)
If you don’t live in Atlanta, GeAq has become a destination spot for people all over the world. So come on down! We have lots of other things for you to see and do, too. If you live in Atlanta and haven’t come yet (you’ve had three years, almost – WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM??), get your butt downtown! Check it all out at http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/. You’ll be amazed at how that neighborhood is changing. There are plenty of restaurants (and more coming), Centennial Olympic Park and it’s fountain, the Coke Museum, our sports teams, and so much more.
Shoot! I just realized. I forgot to mention the FOOD! (How could I forget THAT??) Cafe Aquaria’s food is all prepared by Chef Wolfgang Puck’s wonderful organization. Even though it’s a cafeteria, the food is not what you’d expect from one.
I work at GeAq about three shifts a month, and the dates and times vary, so you may not see me, but I’m not the attraction anyway. Come see one of the world’s greatest places to spend a few hours!
I’ll have more to say about GeAq as time goes on. There are the missions of the place and the wonderful people who work there, staff and volunteers, and the other animals I haven’t mentioned. And stories. Lot’s of stories.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Bernie and Billi Marcus, who gave their vision, time, money, ideas, and passions for the purpose of educating and entertaining us all!