Georgia Aquarium: Whale Shark of a Good Time

The Georgia Aquarium is one of the biggest and best aquariums in the world. It was easy to put it high on our bucket list of “Must Go” places. We would like to start by saying a big “Thank You” to Jessica for being so cool with us. We always appreciate it when people open their doors and show us everything we wanna see. Now the highlights and details of the Georgia Aquarium.

Parking: Use the parking garage connected to the aquarium. It’s $10 for all day parking pass. We initially had some confusion on where and when to pay the parking fee. Here is the scoop on that subject: Pay when returning to your car at the kiosk near the elevators. Make sure to grab the receipt which you will use to raise the gates at the exit. Do not be cheap and use nearby parking lots offering $5, your car is much safer in the garage.

Hours: Sunday through Friday: 10am-5pm Saturday 9am-6pm Allow for 2-3 hrs to explore all that Georgia Aquarium has to offer.

Cost: General Admission Adult $29.95 Child $23.95. The experience for the child is “off the charts”, leaving long-lasting memories and making the admission price well worth it overall.

Our pictures and videos from the Georgia Aquarium centered around four permanent exhibits. We will give an overview of each exhibit. We decided to skip the Dolphin Tales because we heard it was geared more toward children. We also decided to pass on Georgia Explorer, we had been to a few aquariums in the prior months that feature local habitat similar to Georgia Explorer exhibit.

The Ocean Voyager Exhibit has to be the pride and joy of the Georgia Aquarium. It was a jaw dropper for us when we entered the exhibit and stood in front of the enormous viewing window for a long time just gazing into the blue hue. It is easily the largest tank in North America holding 6.3 million gallons of salt water, with four whale sharks and four manta rays . They are the only manta rays in an aquarium in the United States. An added bonus is the 100 foot underwater tunnel through the massive tank bringing you up and close to the giant groupers.

Nick standing in front of Ocean Voyager. Nick stands 5’11” The Ocean Voyager viewing window measure 23 feet high by 61 feet wide

Here is a tip: Have your camera ready when entering with a child, the expression on their face is priceless and needs to be captured.

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The River Scout was pretty interesting to walk through compared to the other exhibits. The exhibit carries an outdoor theme throughout the entire exhibit. River Scout features animals that can be found across the world. Some of our favorite animals in the exhibit: Asian small-clawed otters (sleeping) and red piranhas.

White American alligator in River Scout Exhibit

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The Cold Water Quest has a lot of stars in the exhibit The beluga whales (4 of them) are constantly swimming by the viewing window entertaining the crowd. They definitely acknowledge and know when people are watching them. The southern sea otters are huge compare to some other otters I have seen in the past from other aquariums. The otters were play wrestle with each other like siblings in their childhood years. In the penguin area, I convinced Nick to crawl through a tunnel to reach an up-close viewing area. The penguins were very active, swimming and waddling around their surrounding.

Nick trying to get a close up of the penguins in the Cold Water Quest exhibit

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We have to agree with Georgia Aquarium’s statement “Tropical Diver is a living art exhibit”. The Pacific Barrier Reef filled with so many moving colors making it rough on the eyes to select just one fish. We never saw a garden eel before and it was helpful that one of the volunteers was present to tell us more info about the eel.

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Our Closing Thoughts

Shawn: Great aquarium, really appreciate the high theme level for each exhibit. It works well in setting the overall mood for the exhibit. I could easily sit for more than a half hour in the Ocean Voyager and watch the whale sharks.

Georgia aquarium is a “Must Visit” if you have children. The kids in the area are lucky to be able to go on field trips to the aquarium and see the behind the scene workings. My childhood field trip consisted of trips to Johnstown Flood Museum which barely reached exciting on fun score.

Nick: The aquarium was amazing. If you have not been to Georgia Aquarium, you need to plan a trip ASAP. Going behind the scenes with Jessica was awesome. She was very hospitable, and knowledgeable about everything going on at the aquarium. She showed us some great stuff behind the scenes. I loved the penguins and the otters. I have always wanted to own a little penguin. I have to agree with Shawn that the Ocean Voyager was my favorite part. Sitting there looking at Voyager tank is like having a seat down on the bottom of the ocean looking out. Awesome view. Next time I wanna get in the tank! This place is definitely on my top 10 places. Can’t wait to go back. I give this place 10/10

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Ria’s Bluebird, Done Right Their Way

Ria’s Bluebird, a breakfast institution in the heart of Atlanta known for world-famous pancakes. Only a few miles away from the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca Cola. We read in countless articles that many writers put Ria’s Bluebird on top ten list of best breakfast joints across the United States. It was our time to decide the validity of these claims.

We arrived on an early Monday morning in September, much to our delight the place was not hopping yet. We were able to walk in and stake our claim to some good day starters. Before we jump in about the food, I have to make note of some observations I made while waiting for breakfast. Ria’s Bluebird is kinda on the small size on the inside, a very limited amount of seats. I can easily see how a line of people outside the door waiting to hear “Next” on busier days of the week. In our readings of Ria’s Bluebird, we came across a comment that stated “Hipsters frequent this establishment often” . No bother to us, we did see one patron that fit the hipster bill. A very interesting gentleman with very short cut off blue jean shorts and classy handle bar mustache. He helped himself to some coffee with a cup he brought in himself, walked around for a few minutes talking with the locals, and constantly grooming his fine tuned mustache. This only added to the very interesting atmosphere of Ria’s Bluebird. Now lets get to the food.

Looking at half the seating available at Ria’s Bluebird. Get there early.

Shawn: I was originally going to order the famous pancakes with pecans/bananas but I saw an old friend on the menu that I had not seen in a while. Mr. French Toast, my favorite breakfast buddy, who I had not sat down with for some time. The plate was piping hot and loaded with maple syrup. They did not cheap on the syrup, it was actually overflowing the plate. The bananas and maple syrup was the best part of the dish. The best maple syrup I have ever had, granted that I never had maple syrup from local Vermont maple farm. The bananas melt in your mouth with goodness. All bananas should be served this way. I’m not a breakfast person in general, but this dish could make me do it on the daily. I’ll give this dish 9/10 losing a point for just average french toast slices.

French Toast ~ Myer rum dipped brioche with caramelized bananas

Nick: He had the special omelette of the day which was bacon cheddar with mandatory sides. Ria’s Bluebird has strict rules against substitution of sides. The Ria’s standard with special: 1 meat, 1 starch, and 1 bread. Nick’s standard with special: 2 starch and 1 bread. Denied because the chef feels the dish has been perfected the original way and should not be altered for integrity of guest experience. We always give respect and it prove to be a non issue.

Nick’s Feedback “As soon as the waitress told me the special was a bacon cheddar omelet I was sold. It was the best omelet I have ever had in my life. However, I am deducting two points from my rating because I was unable to substitute a side. I simply wanted extra potatoes instead of a meat. I don’t like sausage and there was already bacon in my omelet. My rating is 8/10. Amazing food and definitely a fan of everyone sleeved with tattoos!”

Special omelette of the day: Cheddar Bacon with skillet potatoes, bacon, & warm biscuit

Overall:

A great experience with the added luck of being seated promptly. A lot of good menu items, some people could view the pricing on the high side. But I always felt, the price you pay always matches the quality when it comes to food. So for us the pricing is justified. It’s too early for us in our adventure to call this place “Top Ten” but it definitely left a long-lasting memory.

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