The 2 Best Aquariums in Georgia (One has Whale Sharks)

Written by Jude Speegle
Published: April 29, 2022
Image Credit Jakgapong Pengjank/Shutterstock.com
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When in Georgia, you might be tempted to sink your teeth into a juicy peach or take a riverboat cruise. Georgia is more than just home to peaches or boat rides, though, it is home to a few different aquariums and its variety of marine life.

This state is the largest state east of the Mississippi River and is the only place Vidalia onions can be grown. In addition to the country’s only Prohibition museum a promenade along a river, there are also world-class aquariums to explore!

They include:

  • Flint RiverQuarium 
  • Georgia Aquarium

For both freshwater and saltwater aficionados, there is more than enough to explore within these aquariums.

Flint RiverQuarium

White Animals - Albino Alligator
The Flint RiverQuarium houses Moonshine, an albino alligator.

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Flint RiverQuarium
Address 117 Pine Ave, Albany, GA 31701
Animal to SeeMoonshine, Albino Alligator
Known ForBeing focused on the Flint River

The Flint RiverQuarium opened in 2004 and has been servicing the Albany, Georgia area for more than fifteen years. 

When visiting the Flint RiverQuarium, set aside three to four hours for a complete walkthrough of the fantastic accommodations. Holding habitats for both freshwater and saltwater, this aquarium has ample material to keep you occupied for a whole day.

Follow along the journey of local rivers and learn about the life that makes its home in the waters and the history within. 

There are quite a few galleries throughout the aquarium.

Blue Hole Spring

175,000 gallons of water fill this humongous tank, coming straight from a spring below. It showcases all the life to be found in the Flint River for visitors to educate themselves.

This is specifically a grand entry into learning about the life teeming at the gills within Southwest Georgia. More than 120 species are available to be witnessed in their natural habitat.

A few of these animals include:

Follow along the Flint River from its origins all the way to where it connects with the Chattahoochee, then flows into Lake Seminole. Continue along its path to Apalachicola Bay and out into the Gulf of Mexico. 

The river flows from freshwater to saltwater, so there are both types of animals and plants to learn about within this gallery. A few are the river frog, copperhead, easter mud turtle, and more.

A live hatchery is also available to visit, where you can see fish grow from eggs to about the size of a finger before they are released into other areas of the Flint RiverQuarium.

World of Water

Following along the path of the Flint River and its sister, the Chattahoochee, can showcase many issues about other rivers around the world. Most of our planet is made up of water, so it’s essential to understand our effect on water and vice versa.

Spring Run Creek

Get to know the local alligators when visiting Spring Run Creek. The star of the show is an albino alligator named Moonshine. There are less than 100 known albino alligators in the world, so she is truly something special.

Albino alligators can’t survive in the wild because they can be sunburned, so they all have to live and thrive in captivity.

Cypress Pond Aviary

The aviary is a 35-foot high enclosure that houses birds native to the area. This includes birds who often migrate and pass through the Flint River area. It’s great to see and learn about the birds of Georgia.

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States.

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Georgia Aquarium
Address 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Animal to SeeBeluga Whale and Whale Sharks!
Known ForLargest Aquarium in the U.S

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States and the third-largest to be found globally. It has seven galleries and more than 2,000 animals to peruse and educate yourselves on at your leisure. It was meant to both educate the public and promote community growth.

All sorts of webcams are available on their website to watch different animals in their natural habitats, including sharks, otters, and alligators. Sit back, relax, and observe the animals in their day-to-day lives.

Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone 

Get ready for an expedition when entering this discovery zone. Set up with adventures and even a rope bridge, there is much to learn within this gallery. 

Understand current research and explore marine life in extreme conditions all over the world, going in-depth from the ecosystems down to the animals, marine life, and biology of it all. The world is so much more than what we see at first glance.

A few of the animals making their home in the Discovery Zone are:

  • Chocolate Chip Sea Star
  • Baja Blue Lizard
  • African Pancake Tortoise
  • American Alligator
  • Collared Lizard
  • Emerald Tree Boa
  • Fish-Eating Anemones
  • Leaf Insect
  • Motoro Ray

Cold Water Quest

Descend into the arctic and explore a kelp tunnel found in the coldest waters of the aquarium. There is one touch pool for eager little fingers to explore, but be careful, the water is chilly. Three crawling viewing windows are available as well to immerse yourself fully in the aquarium.

Just because the ocean’s darkest depths can boast freezing temperatures doesn’t mean it isn’t still teeming with life. Sea otters, penguins, and special surprises await the most intrepid of adventurers.

Dolphin Coast

Bottlenosed dolphins are known for being both extremely intelligent and friendly, so don’t be afraid to get to know the ones who make their home at the Georgia Aquarium. 

There is a dolphin theater with more than 1.8 million gallons of water for them to have a refreshing dip and live stimulating and fulfilling lives. Sit in the splash zone if you want to have the whole experience, or sit somewhere drier.

Dolphins are captivating creatures, so get ready to learn more about them and the conservation efforts to keep dolphins safe in the wild. They deserve the same love and care as any other animal.

Ocean Voyager Built by The Home Depot

Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium holds over 11 million gallons of water

Connor.carey / Creative Commons / Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License. – License

Dive deep with the manta rays and whale sharks within the Ocean Voyager Gallery, the largest exhibit in the world meant to house aquatic animals. 

It has a tunnel for you to walk through and immerse yourself in the deep, along with a huge window that is 23 feet tall, making it the largest window of its kind. It is two feet thick because a lot of pressure is pushed against it from the weight of the water, which is why large windows are harder to build.

This tank holds more than 6.3 million gallons of water and houses more than 50 species so there is always something new to look at while visiting.

SHARKS! Predators of the Deep

Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium has massive tanks with a variety of species.

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The Georgia Aquarium boasts one of the largest shark exhibits in North America, holding 1.2 million gallons of water and many different species of shark.

Sharks are more than just what the movies make them out to be, as hunters seeking out humans to consume. Sharks provide a pivotal role to the ocean and the marine life within, along with being fascinating creatures themselves.

Explore a dynamic viewpoint in this gallery, and look at sharks in a way you never have before.

Southern Company River Scout

This is the only freshwater gallery at the Georgia Aquarium. A glass bottom alligator exhibit lets you hover below the master predators and observe them as they go about their day. 

The area is fully themed for the animals that live within the exhibit, including animals from across South America and Africa. This includes piranhas and alligators and many others that live in freshwater. There is plenty to learn within this gallery.

Tropical Diver

More than 200 species of coral make their home here in this Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef themed exhibit. The windows into this world resemble an art gallery, so you can see framed pieces of “art” as you walk through it. 

Coral reefs are integral to the survival of ocean habitats, but pollution and other issues threaten them regularly. Learn about why this is the case and see all the beautiful array of fish that live among the coral.

A series of jellyfish exhibits also make their home here in this gallery, along with a plethora of other fish. The coral reef exhibit is one of the largest of its kind globally and takes up the center of this gallery.

Truist Pier 225

Get to know the aquarium’s sea lions “under the boardwalk” and watch a live presentation on them and see them perform tricks and represent their intelligence  There are trainers who are experienced with these California sea lions who are ready to educate visitors about their lives.

Sea lions face a lot of danger in the wild due to predators and the human population. Understanding this will help people make the right choices continuing forward.

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats. The birds are named Scoresby, George Michael, and Ketchup Packet. The cats are named Theo, Oatmeal, and Polly.

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