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The Georgia Aquarium entrance, daytime.
The Georgia Aquarium is a half-million square foot facility housing over 100,000 animals in 8 million gallons of fresh and salt water. From the groundbreaking to the opening, the construction process took only 27 months. The Georgia Aquarium sits on 9½ acres of land adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.
The exterior of the building was designed to look like a giant ship breaking through a wave. As guests enter the huge atrium inside the building, they will be led into the facility by “a wall of fish” guiding them inside. They then have the choice of entering five galleries. Each gallery is easily identified by an icon and signage at the entrance: Georgia Explorer has a light house; River Scout displays a cascading waterfall; Cold Water Quest has an ice covered cliff; Ocean Voyager offers a peek window into the huge habitat; and Tropical Diver has two video screens displaying the perspective of a fish on a reef. Guests will enter each gallery and then return to the main atrium before entering the next gallery.
There are 60 habitats at the Georgia Aquarium with 12,000 square feet of viewing windows. The acrylic used in the windows weighs a total of 328 tons. The largest habitat holds 6.2 million gallons of water and measures 263’ long x 126’ wide x 33’ deep, at its largest points. It was specially designed to house whale sharks along side ten of thousands of other animals that typically live along a coral reef and out to the open ocean. The Georgia Aquarium boasts a 100 foot long tunnel and one of the largest aquarium windows in the world with views into whale shark habitat. The second largest habitat, 800,000 gallons, was specially designed to simulate the natural habitat of beluga whales.
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