Wednesday, March 9, 2022

[ATLANTA] Something Fishy Downtown


As much as I would have loved to remember Atlanta by something more distinctive, which I believe The World of Coca Cola was despite being a tad too capitalist, there just wasn’t a lot of places of interest for me. The Georgia Aquarium is a rather general tourist attraction that has similar things to offer compared to other aquariums abroad. But hey, I enjoyed it to some extent, ok. After all, it was just within the vicinity and such a visit will always be a learning experience. Again, the place is literally across the Coke Museum and adjacent to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. You can visit all three in one morning or afternoon.


The admission fee to the aquarium is rather steep at around $40. The self-service ticket kiosks are right next to the toilet by the entrance. You get your ticket with a simple swipe of your credit card. Once done, head to the entrance and get your obligatory photo op by a member of the aquarium crew. You can pay for that photo right before you exit the souvenir shop later, as if people still pay for such overpriced souvenirs that you can get via your own phone camera anyway.


The aquarium has two floors, but many of the main attractions are on the ground level. The souvenir shop is immediately to your left. Next to it is the Shark Tank where I decided to go to first because, hey, SHARKS! I wouldn’t say that I love sharks, but I do find them fascinating. This is not my first meeting with those giant fish. I already did the shark dive thingy in a mall in Bangkok where they literally throw you in your diving suit and tank of oxygen into a huge tank aquarium full of sharks. I believe Georgia aquarium has similar programs for the adventurous, like a caged dive to get close and personal with their whale shark. Separate fee!


The thing about sharks is that they have been heavily maligned in pop culture, and so, a quick trip to aquariums like this helps correct the rather skewed notion. Georgia Aquarium’s shark tank is home to a hammerhead shark and two or three tiger sharks. The rest are of the common breed. There’s really nothing interesting in watching them make do of the small real estate they are given in captivity. It’s your imagination that will help you enjoy the experience better, along with some new trivia care of the info boards and friendly tour guides loitering around.


Georgia Aquarium’s shark tank also has areas extending above your head, which can be a thrilling sight once you see those sharks swimming ABOVE you. Should you be afraid that if the glasses break, you will drown and have to deal with the paranoia of getting eaten alive by those predators? I don’t think so. Georgia’s aquarium is just so huge. Worst case scenario, just climb to the upper level in the remote possibility that such an incident should occur.


The next halls were reserved for sea lions and dolphins, the show for which you have to reserve in advance, so I was no longer able to check them out. I ended up with the Beluga whales instead. It’s my first time to see them in action up close and man, are they not weird looking creatures? They look like swimming versions of that Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters to me. While watching them was fun, seeing them going around in endless circles in such a tiny enclosed space kind of made me feel bad.


The aquarium also features some penguins and otters. As a kid at heart, I can just look at them do their own thing the entire day because they are just adorable like that. But I didn’t have all day, and my phone’s camera was already acting up due to the cold weather. The nearby museum or center for civil and human rights, I no longer bothered to visit because I wasn’t in a political mood today. I’m already happy with the dose of capitalist and biological attractions I saw instead.

[ATLANTA] Something Fishy Downtown

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