Before our journey inside the aquarium, Amelia insisted on a photo shoot with the dolphins:
We had some time prior to meeting our tour guide, so we took advantage of the thinner morning crowds to gaze into some of our favorite windows:
We also enjoyed a couple of the interactive exhibits - did you know there are blue, purple, and pink sea stars? "My favorite colors!", shouted Amelia. She giggled as she got really close to a penguin:
The aquarium behind-the-scenes is fascinating. Did you know that the huge window you look into when viewing the rays, giant grouper, and whale sharks goes back around 100 yards deep? The window is but a fraction of the real tank size. Here we are above the Ocean Voyager tank:
Two of four Georgia Aquarium whale sharks - right at our feet! Amelia was excited to hear that whale sharks can grow up to the size of school buses!
We also saw above the other huge window in the Georgia Aquarium, located within the Tropical Diver gallery. When we were down below, Amelia looked up and pointed out a wave of water. These "dump buckets" create that wave every 2 minutes - they also help oxidize the water with all those air bubbles:
This area of the behind-the-scenes Georgia Aquarium tour was really warm - that's because Tropical Diver features animals from warm water locations of our world's oceans. These bright lamps provide light for the exhibit and keep the water tropically warm:
Some of the coral in the aquarium exhibits is not real, but they are working on growing as much new coral as possible so that one day, it can all be real living coral. This is what I call a coral nursery - they are sprouting new coral pieces - look how colorful!
We also enjoyed seeing the penguin nursery with a couple juvenile penguins, the animal food prep area and giant freezer, and watching a group of tourists do the Beluga and Friends Interactive Encounter. They were able to touch and feel a beluga whale up close, in the water with them!
I think that is next on my Georgia Aquarium to-do list!
One last set of photos... baby Andrew enjoyed his very first visit as well. So much that he refused to fall asleep! Too much to enjoy.
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I received complimentary tickets and the tour from the Georgia Aquarium so we could learn about how it all works. However, all opinions are 100% mine.