A Georgia Aquarium review that will benefit families with small children.
The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta is a great indoor place to take the kids. The whole family can experience a great day of learning and fun. There is enough variety to keep the little ones entertained. For Georgia residents who live in the metro Atlanta area, it might be worth purchasing the annual pass. From one family to another family, there are a few recommendations to help make a trip to the Georgia Aquarium a little less stressful.
Georgia Aquarium Activities
There is a lot to do at the Georgia Aquarium. There are so many exhibits to see that a family might not know where to start. The Georgia Aquarium houses the beluga whales and whale sharks. I would suggest families with small children visit the Ocean Voyager exhibit first to see the whale shark and the beautiful large glass display of sea creatures. I recommend going here first because small children may get cranky as the day passes and this exhibit tends to be the busiest. The exhibit I recommend going to next is Cold Water Quest. The beluga whales and penguins are housed here.
Manta rays, sharks, and more exciting underwater creatures can be found in the Ocean Voyager and Cold Water Quest exhibit. Other exhibits are called River Scout, Tropical Diver, and Georgia Explorer. Kids can slide down a large whale slide and see sea turtles at the Georgia Explorer exhibit. At a premium, guests can visit the Planet Shark exhibit for an extra fee.
If you are strapped for cash, avoid mentioning Deepo’s Undersea 3-D Wondershow to the little kids. Although it is a good show, little ones will soon forget it. If you have the cash to spend, go see the show and enjoy the special effects. The Georgia Aquarium also offers Behind the Scenes Tours and Journey with the Gentle Giants both for a fee. It will cost $225 to swim with the whale sharks, and annual pass members get 10% off that price.
Georgia Aquarium Cafe and Parking
The cafe has a good selection of food, although a bit pricey. I bought my son a hot dog for about $4.00 (no sides came with the hot dog). There are plenty of kid-friendly foods and desserts to choose from. The sweet tea is good and will quench your thirst. There is a nice variety of toddler-friendly drinks that are 100% juice for $3.40. Milk is also available for under $2.00. The cafe has booths and tables with chairs. Restrooms can be found in the cafe as well with a bathroom that offers a diaper changer area with seats. I could not find a family restroom.
Parking is also available at the aquarium. Paying online in advance can save $1.00 off the parking fee. Annual pass members receive a 10% discount on parking if a member parks in the lot owned by the Georgia Aquarium. There is also additional parking owned by private lots across the street (not owned by the aquarium). Visitors can also park in the Coca-Cola Museum that is next door for a charge.
Georgia Aquarium Tickets
Taking a family to any activity can be expensive in today’s economy, and unfortunately, the Georgia Aquarium is no exception. An adult ticket costs $26.00 and children ages 3-12 costs $19.50. Senior citizens can enter for $21.50. These prices are for general admission and do not include any extras like Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow.
It is recommended that families purchase an annual pass if family outings to the Georgia Aquarium are a regular occurrence. The annual pass will be paid for in less than three visits, and a small discount is offered at the gift shop, cafe, and for parking. Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow is free for annual pass members. However, the downside is paying a lot of money upfront. The Georgia Aquarium does offer a neat annual pass called the guest pass. The guest pass is not assigned a name and can be used just like an annual pass. However, the annual pass member holder must be present for someone to use the guest pass.
After visiting the aquarium a few times, I believe an annual pass is worth the money. I am a little disappointed about the cost to feed a family at the cafe and the high cost to swim with the sea creatures. The weekends are still slammed with business, so go to the Georgia Aquarium during the week if at all possible. The best time to go is as soon as the aquarium opens if you want to avoid crowds.