In Atlanta, Georgia, students can dive into 10 million gallons of marine biology, oceanography and just plain fun at the Georgia Aquarium.

Underwater tunnel at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia
[/media-credit] Underwater tunnel, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Ga.

Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the entire world, housing over 100,000 animals representing thousands of different species.

“We want students to become good stewards of our oceans and the animals that live in them,” said Melanie Louder, manager of school, youth, and community engagement at the aquarium. “This can be made possible by exposure and providing reasons behind the value of these resources. Exposure is key because it’s very difficult to care about an animal or its habitat if the student has never seen it in real life.”

Tours of the aquarium are self-guided, and admission includes access to all of the main galleries, dolphin and sea lion presentations, and 4-D theater shows.

One of the aquarium’s biggest draws is the famous, jaw-dropping whale sharks. 

Whale shark at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia
[/media-credit] Whale shark, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Ga.

“We are the only aquarium in the Western Hemisphere that has whale sharks in human care,” Louder said. “Whale sharks are incredibly popular because of their size, which makes it challenging to have them in human care. Another must-see is our dolphin presentation. The dolphin show allows students to see animal training up close and how positive reinforcement is key for successful training.”

Galleries cover a variety of habitats, from cold water to tropical and river environments, where students can encounter sea lions, penguins, otters, beluga whales and more.

Instructor-led programs are offered for middle- and high-school students, allowing them to explore the world of sharks and rays, and learn about collecting research data, training animals and oceanic occupations.

For more information, call 404-581-4000 or visit georgiaaquarium.org.