Over 500 Species and 60 Exhibits
Billed as the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium is home to more animals than any other aquarium in existence. 60 exhibits and 500 species make up this spectacular aquarium, which is designed to educate and entertain audiences of all ages.
It is located in downtown Atlanta’s Pemberton Place, near the World of Coca Cola museum.
The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is “to be an entertaining, educational, and scientific institution featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging guest experiences, and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world.”
Gifted by The Home Depot's Co-Founder Bernie Marcus
At a cost of $290 million to build, the Georgia Aquarium opened its doors in November 23, 2005, and was funded primarily by Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of The Home Depot.
Marcus gifted the aquarium in 2003 as a way of thanking the community of Atlanta and giving back to the people that made his company the success that it was. Marcus also desired to promote economic vitality for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia by adding more jobs and growth.
Marcus’ gift enabled the aquarium to open its doors debt-free. Since 2005, the Georgia Aquarium has hosted over six million visitors. It also employs more than 220 employees and boasts more than 1,000 volunteers.
Devoted to Education
In addition to entertaining the public, the Aquarium is devoted to educating and inspiring its guests and students about the world’s aquatic biodiversity.
In fact, the Aquarium has dedicated more than 25 percent of its public floor space for areas of education, which includes utilizing innovative techniques and interactive displays.
Another goal of the Georgia Aquarium is to be a leader in animal conservation and research, which is accomplished through its state-of-the-art animal health facility, the Correll Center for Aquatic Animal Health.
A Center Atrium and Five Galleries
The Aquarium is separated into five, separate galleries which are situated around a center atrium. The five galleries include the Georgia Explorer, the Tropical Diver, the Ocean Voyager, the Cold-Water Quest and the River Scout.
Just some of the exhibits found within the Georgia Aquarium include whale sharks (the only exhibit outside of Asia to house whale sharks) and exotic fish species.
As a conservation house, the Aquarium is also home to many endangered species, including the beluga whale, the Atlantic tarpon and the cuttle fish.
It also includes a 1,100-seat, four-dimensional theater, petting tanks, a gift shop, a parking lot, a restaurant and a ballroom.