The day after the expedition to Trader Vic's was a free day before theDragonCon started. I had thoughts of going to Little Five Points, or any number of the sights in Atlanta.
It was suggested that we hit the Georgia Aquarium. Cool, I thought. We can look at some fish for an hour, then head out and see something else.
A trip to the Georgia Aquarium is a full day event. I knew that the place was huge when I saw the crowd control barriers were set up to handle hundreds of attendees. The group got there early enough not to wait in line, but I'm sure that once school groups and bus tours start showing up the place gets full fast.
First stop was the "Georgia Explorer" area with touch pools filled with rays and small sharks. We laughed, we cried, we touched with two fingers. Did I think to take a picture? No. So here is one snagged from Flickr by Dave and Kara
We touched Horseshoe Crabs, which as it turns out are not crabs at all but are more closely related to spiders and scorpions. We poked at some shrimp, which did not like being touched, even with only two fingers.
A nice sea turtle did laps past the glass for us, and we all looked longingly at the "children only" tube-based playground that used a fibreglass whale as an exit.
We moved on to the "River Scout" exhibit where the small clawed otters stole the show. We could have sat there for the rest of the day and watched them swim around and play and fight and eat.
Onward to the "Coldwater Quest" exhibit we went. Past large Sea Otters and Sea Lions. Past playful African penguins. We stood in awe of the Beluga Whales for a long time. We got roused with the promise of lunch at the cafeteria with gourmet quality lunch and desert items.
Off to the "Tropical Diver" exhibit where the blue light on the Lagoon jellies made for spectacular photos and an eerie calm. We watched the Yellow-Headed Jawfish make tunnels by scooping rocks with its mouth.
Saving the biggest for last we moved on to the "Ocean Voyager" portion of the aquarium where the Whale Sharks were kept. As you travel around the tank you catch glimpses of the big sharks. Standing in the tunnel you watch as the stingrays pass over and the huge whale sharks cut the light.
Finally you come to the theatre at the end of the exhibit gaze on the and 23 foot tall, 61 foot wide acrylic viewing window. The flocks of rays fly past and then turn suddenly up, grazing the window surface, feeding. The Whale Sharks float by with a set of smaller fish safely riding the wake in front of the shark's snout.
My jaw was sore from holding it agape.
Georgia Aquarium, DragonCon2006