Visit the Georgia Aquarium in the Heart of Atlanta

The public aquarium, known to be the world’s second largest, boasts 60 animal habitats and 10 million gallons of water filled with 1,000 species of marine life.


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Gaze upon a whale shark at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Adrian H. Wood

The Georgia Aquarium, located in downtown Atlanta across from Centennial Olympic Park, covers 550,000 square feet in an expanse of sea wonders. The public aquarium, known to be the world’s second largest, boasts 60 animal habitats and 10 million gallons of water filled with 1,000 species of marine life. Here, your family can experience a rare view into the hidden treasures of the sea.

Tunnel Through the Ocean

The Ocean Voyager gallery contains 6.3 million gallons of saltwater and accommodates four whale sharks, four manta rays and many other varieties of fish. Make your way through the exhibit’s 100-foot tunnel, complete with a moving walkway, where you can gaze upon fascinating sea life through 4,754 square feet of acrylic viewing windows.

There are also four touch tanks located throughout the aquarium where you can push up your sleeves and slip your hands into fresh and saltwater habitats to touch stingrays, sand sharks, starfish and hermit crabs.

Watch the ‘Waddle Walk’

Not only can you climb into tunnels that run beneath the penguin habitat, located in the aquarium’s Cold Water Quest gallery, but you also can delight in the “Waddle Walk,” which happens every day at 11 a.m. That’s when trainers lead the penguins through the main atrium and visitors learn about preservation of these amazing creatures.

Swim With Whales, Dolphins and Sharks

Take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with the aquarium’s beluga whales as part of the Beluga Interaction Program. Though there is no set age restriction, participants must be at least 60 inches tall, and anyone under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Be sure to take a bathing suit to wear under a provided wetsuit so you can brave the chilly waters. There is a $154.95 per-person fee (plus tax) for this activity.

Ages 7 and older can enjoy a Dolphin Encounter for $69.95 per person, which allows participants to go backstage to meet, touch and feed one of the aquarium’s dolphins.

For a true aquarium quest, ages 12 and older can go on a Journey With Gentle Giants, which allows participants to swim with whale sharks in the aquarium’s 10-million-gallon tank and is the only place in the world where this can be done. The cost is $235.95 per person (a scuba option is also available).

Reservations for all of these encounters are limited. Call 404-581-4000 to reserve a spot, or purchase tickets at georgiaaquarium.org.

Be Dazzled During a Show

Learn about dolphin behavior as trainers incorporate educational messages during the new “AT&T Dolphin Celebration,” included with general admission. Sit in one of the higher rows to avoid getting wet, and be prepared for loud music and a dazzling light show, as dolphins show off for the crowd.

California sea lions put on a show in SunTrust Pier 225’s live presentation, “Under the Boardwalk,” also included with general admission. You won’t be disappointed in the sea lions’ antics and trainers’ creative educational lessons. Make sure you arrive early as seats fill up quickly.

Round out your Georgia Aquarium experience by taking in a few movies in The 4D Funbelievable Theater — included with general admission — and by going on a scavenger hunt using your mobile app.

Family-Friendly Perks

Members of the North Carolina Aquarium or Zoological Society receive a discount on admission to the Georgia Aquarium. Order tickets online ahead of time to avoid waiting in line. Strollers are allowed and there is a room for breast-feeding moms to pump or nurse if they desire.

Families can bring in their own snacks, but the aquarium’s Café Aquaria and Seaside Delights restaurants offer lunch and dinner options as well. Download the free Georgia Aquarium app, available via the App Store and Google Play, so you’ll know where to go first and when the aquarium’s many shows begin. Learn more about the Georgia Aquarium at georgiaaquarium.org.


Adrian H. Wood, Ph.D., is a North Carolina writer who lives in Edenton with her husband and four children, the youngest of whom has extra-special needs. Read more of her writing at talesofaneducateddebutante.com.

 

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June 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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Cost: $7.99/person

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Adventure Landing
3311 Capital Blvd.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Adventure Landing
Telephone: 191-987-21688
Contact Name: Mike Collins
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Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Cost: Free. Food available for purchase.

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Durham Central Park
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Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

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4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Carrboro, NC  27510
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Whole Foods Market (North Raleigh)
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Raleigh, NC  27615
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Compass Center for Women and Families
210 Henderson Street
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Barnes & Noble
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
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Cost: $2/person

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Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Cost: Free

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Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
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Cost: Free

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Raleigh National Cemetery
501 Rock Quarry Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 1-530-515-3825

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Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
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Center for Excellence
3803B Computer Drive, Suite 106B
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Cost: Free

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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Chatham Marketplace
480 Hillsboro St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Sponsor: Chatham Marketplace
Telephone: 919-542-2643
Contact Name: Craig Kolman
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Cost: Free

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Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Telephone: 919-996-2760
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5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: Free

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Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 2 and younger

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The Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
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Cost: Free

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4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Cost: Free with admission

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10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Cost: Free

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Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Cost: $18

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Cost: Free

Where:
Open Table United Methodist Church
824 N. Bloodworth Street
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Open Table UMC
Telephone: 919-561-2637
Contact Name: Andrea Chapman
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Cost: $15/person

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The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main Street
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 191-992-92787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown
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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
2116-D New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Get the real scoop on turtles, how they “earn a living," and hear a story. Ages 5 and older. Register online.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
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Cost: $45/family for City of Raleigh residents; $60 for non-residents

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2761
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
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After a shaded walk out to the creek entrance, take nets into the water to see some of these creek critters up close. Discuss some of the reasons it’s so important to keep these aquatic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
6001 Turkey Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Triangle Land Conservancy
Telephone: 191-990-80054
Contact Name: Molly Richard
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Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: $5

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Read With Me
111 E. Hargett St., #110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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2105 Umstead Dr.
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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Age 6 & under free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Durham Performing Arts Center
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Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: American Dance Festival
Telephone: 919-684-6402
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Cost: $17.25/person

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123 Vivian Dr.
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677 NC Hwy 98 East
Bunn, NC  27508
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Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

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220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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