Our Ultimate Mom’s Guide to making the most of your Georgia Aquarium visit.
As a homeschool family we are always looking for opportunities to expand our children’s experiences. While you can probably visit the Aquarium in about 3 hours, we spent almost 6 hours checking out the over 10 million gallons of water that makes up most of the exhibits. All of the employees and volunteers are very helpful and informative. They were willing to answer many of our questions. Here’s our Georgia Aquarium review of our favorite exhibits.
Our favorite exhibits: Dolphin Coast show, Sharks, Ocean Voyager (Whale Shark) and the Sea Lions up close.
Check out our video review including some of our video highlights from our experience. Unfortunately video and photography is not allowed during the Dolphin Show. It was hands down the coolest and helped our children realize they were seeing live animals, not just TV screens.
As of our visit Easter weekend 2021 the Georgia Aquarium was doing timed tickets. When we reserved our tickets the only times available were at 8:30 am or 4:00 pm. Even though it meant for an early morning, we chose the 8:30 am option and were glad we did! Traffic getting into downtown Atlanta at 7:30 am on a Saturday wasn’t bad. We actually arrived before 8:30 am and they let us in early. There were of course few guests at that time. As the morning and afternoon continued the facility started to fill up more when there was more crossover between those who had come early and those who were staying after lunch. In total we were there almost 6 hours because it was the main attraction our family wanted to visit in Atlanta that weekend.
We were impressed with how clean the huge facility was. Everyone was wearing masks covering both nose and mouth. Georgia Aquarium guides frequently reminded everyone of the mask requirements and social distancing suggestions. Even when the Aquarium was busier in the afternoon everyone was respectful and took turns for smaller viewing windows. Many exhibits had larger viewing windows all along the path to see the same tanks. So if the earlier viewing windows are busy it’s easy to walk farther into the exhibit for an even better, less crowded view.
The bathrooms were being cleaned all day long too. I saw a worker cleaning them almost every time we used one. After each special show, the seats were sprayed with disinfectant and social distancing was enforced during the show.
Touch Tank/ Interactive Exhibits at the Georgia Aquarium Review
The touch tank was closed at the time of our visit due to COVID-19 restrictions. Still, there was so much to see our children didn’t seem to miss it. The interactive screens in the exhibits are working and provide lots of interesting information about the different fish and animals.
Must See: Dolphin Coast Show
The Dolphin Coast show is awesome to see. They don’t allow photos or videos during the show unfortunately. The first ten rows are deemed “splash rows” which you can reserve for a premium of $5 a seat. The rest of the seats are first come, first serve. We arrived about 20-30 minutes before the show and watched the dolphins swim and do tricks through the window. When they allowed us to enter the theater we parked our stroller in the secure parking then chose our seats. We chose seats directly above the splash seats so we ended up getting just the right amount of sprinkles so say the dolphins had got us wet, but we didn’t have to change clothes! Before the show starts they play some trivia questions on the screen.
I think it started to make more sense to them when they could see the water moving then later the dolphins swimming right in front of them.
The trainers show off the dolphins unique skills of jumping, diving in the 29 foot deep pool, their speed and agility. One trainer even trick rode straddling two dolphins while standing and the dolphins swam side by side at full speed. We were all impressed. Definitely be sure to reserve a spot in one of the shows.
There were several other experiences we didn’t take advantage of (such as the 4D theater or the shark tank dive), but I’m sure they were also wonderful.
Breastfeeding and Nursing Mothers
As a breastfeeding mother I’m always on the lookout for what types of facilities are offered for mama of littles. It’s not designated on their main map, but the Georgia Aquarium does have a mama’s room. On the second level where the seating is for eating your cafeteria purchases there are two family bathrooms with a changing table (no toddler toilets). There is also a nursing mom’s room. It has a bench with a cushion, a changing table and a sink. Unfortunately there aren’t any fishbowls to enjoy if you use the room.
I ended up just feeding my baby towards the middle of the shark exhibit where there were huge viewing windows and some benches. The lights are dark in the exhibit and they play ocean themed music so it was quite relaxing feeding my baby under the sharks.
Food at the Georgia Aquarium Review
If you will be staying at the Aquarium through a meal time be prepared to spend almost the same amount you did for your admission for the concessions. Outside food is not allowed inside. There is a filtered water fountain available near the Shark exhibit. The concessions are pricey and nothing to write home about. A mini cheese pizza with thick crust is $9.25. 4 chicken tenders and fries are $12.95. An uncrustable kids meal is $9.95. Drinks are $3.00 or more. It is nice that something is offered though and many take advantage of it because once you leave, I’m not sure if you can reenter the same day with a general admission ticket.
Parking at the Georgia Aquarium Review
Reserve and print your parking pass prior to your visit to receive a $5 discount. Directions and parking info on the Georgia Aquarium website. Once you are parked at the Aquarium, there are several attractions all in walking distance including the Coco-Cola Museum and the Yard Milkshake Bar.