Georgia Aquarium on my mind

After a marvelous experience at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, I didn’t think any other aquarium could live up to it, but a visit to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta was surprisingly good.

Where the emphasis in Monterey is on its bayside location, kelp forest and otter exhibit, the land-locked Georgia Aquarium has as its centrepiece a massive tank (holding 6.3 million gallons of water) to show off whale sharks, manta rays, and other ocean fish. You can view the tank from several different locations, including an immense acrylic window (61 feet long and 2 feet thick) and a 100-foot underwater tunnel where you can look up into the water. It’s quite something to see a 15-foot whale shark swim by right in front of you!

The aquarium also illustrates river life in Georgia, featuring river otters and albino alligators. A special extravaganza-type show celebrates the acrobatics of dolphins, and a temporary exhibit called “Sea Monsters Revealed” tantalizes one’s perceptions about the inside of sea creatures through plastination.

So it’s not that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is better than the Georgia Aquarium; in many ways, they show the same kind of animals, but each does it in its own unique way.