Why You’ll Love Behind the Scenes Tours at the Georgia Aquarium | Mommy and Me Monday | 215th ed


Because we are headed to Disneyland next week, we decided to hang tight and stay put for Spring Break week. This weekend, we were invited back to the Georgia Aquarium to see what all was going on for Spring Break and for a little behind the scenes action known as their “behind the seas” tour. I don’t know why, but behind the scenes makes me feel like I know all of the secrets (even though, they aren’t hiding anything) and makes me appreciate everything going on even more.

Lest we forget, I had to get a mommy and me picture. The idea of a picture with four girls looking at the camera, or smiling, or looking happy all simultaneously? Left the building. So, now I look for the picture where I look the best. Let’s just be honest!

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

Of course, daddy gets all the good looks (I think it’s because I’m willing to go the extra mile while holding a camera!)

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

Behind the scenes we got to check out the giant tank with the reef and colorful fish (aka Tropical Diver). This giant wall of water goes every 2 minutes or so and generates a huge wave below. We didn’t expect it at all and everybody sort of jumped back as it happened.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

Off to the back there were other fish hanging out in the shallower water, just asking for their pictures to be taken. With three girls talking, our wonderful tour guide had her hands full with the questions. She answered every one of them with a smile!

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

We didn’t get to see the quarantine area (because of possible infections, bacteria and more), but we were able to take a peak into one of the many tanks where they were growing coral. It’s amazing how many different varieties there are.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

There were so many classrooms and educational rooms set up with different learning experiences. There were teeny-tiny shrimp, jellyfish, starfish and more. All for the learning labs.

Our next stop was Ocean Voyager where the amazing Whale Sharks and Manta Rays live. They seem huge looking through the glass of the aquarium, but oh goodness, when they get that close to you? They are amazing and breath-taking. We stood behind a glass barricade (thank goodness, or else I would have worried somebody might have decided to go for a swim. Not that this is a bad thing. People go diving into the Ocean Voyager. There were people going in while we were there).

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

That’s a whale shark (not really a whale, actually a shark) that eats plankton, not little people. They are so amazingly large and majestic. Just wow. The Manta Ray hung by close to the whale shark but kept eluding my camera. Something fascinating we learned? They have no idea how whale sharks reproduce. And, they have only recently ever seen a smaller (as in not full-size) whale shark. They are a bit of a puzzling creature for sure.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

Just in case you didn’t believe me. That outside painting? That’s the size of the manta ray, which was dwarfed in comparison by the whale shark.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

Every sort of water creature you can imagine lives at the aquarium. At least at some point. This tank was full of the most colorful and beautiful frogs. Which turns out, are only poisonous if they eat poisonous plants, which these didn’t have access to.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

They do so much rescue and rehab at the aquarium, too. And, learning. I loved seeing the bottom of this starfish with his little suckers all extended.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

And a place for the kids to learn about symbiosis. (That’s Roz on the right. She was our volunteer tour guide. So fabulous!)

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

These guys had to be in a picture. I put my hand there for scale. Giant starfish. See that mussel shell? Yep, they eat those. And, they appear to be quite lazy too. They just lay there. In a pile on top of each other. Lazy, lazy starfish. I guess when you project your stomach outside of your body to eat you need to take a long break?

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

My favorite part of the aquarium is visiting the beluga whales. So it was super cool to be able to see them behind the scenes. We weren’t able to go into the room with them, but were pretty close. And, they came up to the surface quite a bit.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

This is an aquarium operating room. It looks a lot like a human operating room. However, a lot of their equipment is on wheels so they can bring it to the animals.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

We also saw the laboratory facilities, and my heart jumped a little seeing the Analytical Chemistry section (that’s what my Master’s Degree is in!). They had spaces set up for water quality testing and so much more.

Our last stop was to check on the baby penguins. They weren’t as tiny as I was expecting, but still pretty cute. Turns out these little guys weren’t interested in swimming just yet. I guess they needed some swimming lessons.

Mommy and Me Monday at the Aquarium

The cost:

The Georgia Aquarium has recently made “behind the seas” tours much more affordable. You will need to purchase your admission ticket, but once you do, the tour is an additional $15 per person (or $12.50 if you are an Aquarium pass holder)

The Aquarium is a great place to check out any time of year, including Spring Break. They’ve put together a great list of tips and resources to help you maximize your trip during Spring Break (or any other time of the year!)

  • Engage them with education before your trip….at home!
    • Get your family excited about a trip by visiting the attraction’s website to explore activities that you can print out and do together.
    • Everybody loves coming to the Aquarium, but there’s a way to wiggle in education. Harness that excitement and put it towards a learning experience before you arrive. Kids Corner is a different way to approach the trip and make it a learning experience.
  • Use tools to plan.
    • Build your experience beforehand to maximize your time at the attraction. Most attractions have an interactive webpage to help make planning your visit a seamless process. The Aquarium’s Plan Your Visit page helps youresearch the experiences the Aquarium has to offer and make ticket, parking and add-on program purchases.
  • Take tips from tourism experts
    • Pay for parking online ahead of time.
    • Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are the least crowded times.
    • Visit early or late in the day to avoid the busiest times.
    • Plan your visit around free activities offered throughout the day.
      • AT&T Dolphin Tales: choose your seats no later than 20 minutes before the show, the best seats in the house are at the top of the lower half section.
      • Interactive Dive Shows : Tropical Diver and Ocean Voyager galleries have divers  that answer visitors questions while underwater
      • Animal Feedings: Check out computer screens outside each gallery with daily feeding times for marquee animals.
  • Have a hands-free experience
    • Give your technology a break and live in the moment. You can still manage to capture the memories by taking fewer but more impactful photos.
    • Georgia Aquarium provides a beautiful backdrop for photos that are perfect to help your social network follow your trip
      • “One For the Grandparents”: the Pacific Barrier Reef Window inside the Tropical Diver gallery has great lighting and livens up your photo with colorful fish.
      • “Look Where I Am”: Off Baker Street Entrance, just near the newspaper stand, you can capture the full Georgia Aquarium façade.
      • “The Perfect Silhouette”: It is no surprise Ocean Voyager provides an artistic backdrop for a photo; many movies have chosen this gallery to feature in their films.
      • “Just Another Fish in the Sea”: Many of the exhibits feature windows where children can get up close and almost look as if they are inside with some of their favorite animals. Try making a scary face inside our Piranha exhibit in River Scout!
      • “Bird’s Eye View”: Make a pit stop after you exit Cold Water Quest, to capture the World’s Most Magical Aquarium from a second floor vantage point.
  • Make the most of family time.
    • Break out the map – make the most of your visit by researching which “must-see” locations are close. Planning ahead will help minimize parking fees and reduce travel time.
    • Conveniently located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium is the perfect starting point for a day filled with family fun. There are 6 hotels, 5 (soon to be 7!) attractions and 17 restaurants all within a 12-minute walk from the front door of Georgia Aquarium.

It’s time again for Mommy and Me Monday. Pop out from behind that camera and capture yourself in action with your kids.  Check out the inaugural Mommy and Me Monday for more information. Need another reason to participate in Mommy and Me Monday? Read my post about why I blog with words from a friends’ husband. We were provided tickets to the behind the scenes and the Aquarium. All thoughts are my own.

I try to make sure and visit all of you and leave some comment love.  Please spread the love!  And, I never mind the comments, either:)

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  1. Lura Staffanson says:

    Your darling family go on so many fun adventures together. I think that is great. Are you really coming to Disneyland? CA Disneyland? I hope so because it is only 30 min from my house. I would love to be able to meet you…. in fact you would be more than welcome to stay at our house. I have plenty of beds and 2 cribs.Of course I realize you probably want to stay right by the park but I am excited just thinking about having you here. Please let me know if getting together will fit into your plans. Hugs, Lura

  2. grandma pat says:

    looks like behind the scenes was a lot of fun

  3. Looks like a super fun time behind the scenes! We love the GA aquarium. So much to see there!

  4. I can’t even get my TWO boys to smile at the same time most days, so kudos to you if you can make it happen. That sounds like you had an amazing day at the aquarium!!

  5. I have never been to the Aquarium here one time for an event but never inside. I think we will save our pennies and go this summer.

  6. This makes me jealous. I love aquariums. I’m particularly fond of the ray- and skate-petting tanks. At one, Portland maybe, the rays and skates were really into the attention and would skim out of the water in front of people to get pet. Super cute and a lot of tun. Thanks!

  7. Oh wow! What a fun adventure! I would love to visit this place! Maybe there is an aquarium by us, I will have to look!

  8. i LOVE aquariums. always fun to visit and never the same twice!

  9. Looks like such a nice aquarium to visit! We have one by our house that my daughter really loves to visit.

  10. We are hoping to plan a Georgia Aquarium trip soon. These tips will come in handy, like I didn’t realize we could pay for parking in advance!

  11. I love how the staff at the aquarium are so eager to share facts with everyone. When we were there one of the volunteers told us all about seals.

  12. Thanks for this sneak peek! I love all of the pictures….I so wish we had an aquarium.

  13. Spring Break FLEW by for us. I almost didn’t even realize it was here. We didn’t vacation this year and we treated it like a normal week. The aquarium looks beautiful! This is the type of thing we enjoy doing on the weekend as a family.

  14. It looks like everyone had a blast. I wish I could’ve made Disneyland happen. Just too far!

  15. What an amazing opportunity! I bet your girls will remember that for a long time!

  16. It looks like you all had an amazing time at the aquarium, and staycations are seriously the best. I know you will all have SO much fun next week in Disney!

  17. Whoa, that starfish picture is gorgeous! We love hitting up local aquariums. Our kiddo is fascinated with the fishies!

  18. Holy cow, the starfish are as big as a face! That’s fascinating about the whales and their reproduction habits being a mystery.

  19. We love going to aquariums. My kids will want to go here this summer.

  20. You guys are lucky to get behind the scenes look at the Aquarium! I wish I was able to do that! You guys have fun at Disneyland!

  21. we are going to the aquarium tomorrow but in Cincy. Your aquarium looks awesome!! When we visit Georgia we will have to stop by!

  22. What a fun place to visit. I would love to go see all the different fish!

  23. Love the pictures of you with your beautiful family. I never heard of a whale shark; what an interesting exhibit and education for the whole family.

  24. Looks like you all had a fantastic experience. This is one of my great nephew’s favorite places.

  25. Oh wow! I would love to visit this aquarium. It looks like you had a ton of fun.

  26. I have to remind myself to ask whoever is with me to get a picture of me w/the kids. Far too often I forget or overlook it. You’re right though, it’s important and this looks fun!

  27. Wow! You have totally sold me on the Georgia Aquarium. Your pics are beautiful! I love the giant wall of water – you can tell your kids were having such a great time! Thanks for sharing your visit!

  28. It looks like you had a great visit! We really want to get there one day – my hubby has mentioned it several times!

  29. What a great idea! Get from behind the camera and be a part of the action. This looks like such a great time. I love your tips and will have top look through my city’s visitor’s site for some.

  30. love the behind the scenes peek friend! seriously looks amazing!!

    ps – waaaay excited for round two at disney!!

  31. I would love to visit there with my kids one day. I bet they would have a blast.

  32. That looks like so much fun. We will be driving through Georgia next week so maybe I can work out some time to stop by.

  33. Looks like a great family adventure. I’m envious!

  34. I love aquariums. We have a week and a half until our Spring Break.

  35. So jealous you got to go behind the scenes. My daughter would have LOVED it! BTW I tried to get a picture of me, my daughter, son, & dog and it was a disaster.

  36. We have the best aquarium, don’t we? It’s amazing to see all of the hard work and detailed planning that go into making sure everything runs smoothly.

  37. I love aquariums. They were my favorite when I was a little girl and I want to pass that love to my own children now.

  38. Looks like you had a great time! And I love the idea for this link-up! I’ll be coming back!

  39. I will be visiting Atlanta in June and the Georgia Aquarium. I haven’t been there before, so the tips are highly appreciated.

  40. I would have been in awe with the frogs and the starfish.
    so cool that you got to go 🙂

  41. A very nice place from what I see in the photos, and much to learn about the animals of the sea.

  42. Thomas Murphy says:

    I love the Aquarium!

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