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Georgia Aquarium Blog

Georgia Aquarium provides an entertaining, engaging and educational experience inspiring stewardship in conservation, research and the appreciation for the animal world. Visit us at

Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, GA

Marineland Dolphin Adventure
St. Augustine, FL

Conservation Field Station
St. Augustine, FL

Contact Questions or comments? Send us an email, and let us know about it. Click here to contact us.


5 Ways to Splash into Summer at Georgia Aquarium

June 11, 2015

5 Ways to Splash into Summer at Georgia Aquarium

The fun is endless this summer at Georgia Aquarium! With programs ranging from animal interactions and encounters to educational camps to exclusive summer events and discounts, you and your family are sure to have a FINtasic time! Here are five things you don’t want to miss this summer:

1. Deals on Deals on Deals – throughout the summer, Georgia Aquarium is offering a variety of discounted ticket options:

  • Early Bird Online Discount– beat the crowds and avoid the ticket counter lines by purchasing an early bird discount ticket. Get access to all of the Aquarium galleries and exhibits, Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow, and the new Aquanaut Adventure all while saving $7 on your tickets! To receive the discount, just purchase your tickets online and arrive at the Aquarium between 9 and 10a.m.
  • Imagination Nights – Imagine shorter lines, upfront views of galleries and exhibits and extended evening hours—yep, you’re thinking of our Imagination Nights! Imagination Nights gives you the opportunity to experience the Aquarium after 5p.m. with Total Ticket admission and special evening performances of our AT&T Dolphin Tales show.
  • Happy Birthday Georgia Residents! – Live in Georgia and have a birthday coming up? Spend your day at the Aquarium for FREE and celebrate your special day with us. Just bring a valid form of identification to the ticket window to get your free Total Ticket to get access to all shows and galleries. Happy Birthday to you!

2. 4th of July Festivities

  • Celebrate with Georgia Aquarium Red, White and Brew style from 7 to 10p.m. with unlimited beer, food, live music and the best view of the Centennial Olympic Park fireworks show! Held in our Oceans Ballroom, you’ll have views of whale sharks, manta rays, beluga whales and more while you enjoy your evening.
  • Bring the whole family to Red, White and View from 7:30 to 10p.m. for the best seats in Atlanta for fireworks! Also enjoy carnival games, arts & crafts, a live DJ, summertime deserts and beverages and more!
  • Proceeds from Red, White and Brew benefit Georgia Aquarium’s Sponsored Education Admission (SEA) program, teacher development and H2O summer camps!

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How You Can Celebrate World Oceans Day by Protecting Marine Life 

June 8, 2015

How You Can Celebrate World Oceans Day by Protecting Marine Life

Today, Georgia Aquarium is joining thousands of organizations and individuals around the world for the celebration of World Oceans Day. Celebrated every year on June 8 since 1992, this internationally recognized day helps generate awareness for the devastating issues facing our oceans, which provide a home for some of the world's most incredible animals, not to mention oxygen for our planet!

This year's World Oceans Days theme, "Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet," focuses on making an active effort to prevent marine debris, such as plastic, from entering our oceans. Read more below on the importance of this day:

Why World Oceans Day is so important::

  • Our oceans make up about 71 percent of our planet and generate most of the oxygen we breathe.
  • Our oceans are a huge source of economic development for countries across the globe, acting as a global waterway for transport and fishing. Unfortunately, overfishing is exhausting this critical source of livelihood.
  • According to the NOAA, 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from land-based activities, with between 10.5 and 28 billion pounds of trash entering the ocean every year. Marine life has no way to escape this pollution, and it is up to humans to fix it by cleaning up and spreading awareness.
  • Approximately 60 to 80 percent of all marine debris and 90 percent of floating debris is plastic.

The threat of marine debris:

  • Plastic does not biodegrade; instead, it breaks down into small pieces called microplastics, which are often mistaken for food by marine animals and birds. Plastic can block these animals’ digestive systems and poison them with toxic chemicals present in the plastic.
  • Trash and other marine debris is pulled into massive rotating whirlpools called gyres. There are five major subtropical gyres around the world that collect millions of tons of debris in our oceans. One of these, the North Pacific Gyre, is twice the size of the United States.
  • In the Ocean Conservancy’s 2012 International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers discovered 2,117,931 cigarettes and cigarette filters, 1,065,171 plastic beverage bottles, 1,140,222 food wrappers and containers and 1,019,902 plastic bags, just to name a few of the items.

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Georgia Aquarium Mourns Loss of Beluga Whale 2015

June 5, 2015

Georgia Aquarium Mourns Loss of Beluga Whale Calf

Georgia Aquarium is deeply saddened to announce the loss of its female beluga whale calf born Sunday, May 10 to 20-year-old Maris.

“Over the past several weeks, our veterinary and animal care team, have provided around-the-clock care to Maris and her calf,” said Dr. Gregory Bossart V.M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and chief veterinary officer. “Because of the statistical probability of survival of beluga whale calves, we’ve always been guardedly optimistic. Early on, we were pleased to see the calf complete several key milestones, including a successful birth and bonding with her mother. There were still some critical milestones to overcome, however, and we became concerned when we were not seeing the desired weight gain in the calf. Preliminary diagnostics, including consultation from veterinary specialists, indicated that the calf had gastrointestinal issues that were preventing her from properly absorbing and assimilating nutrients that she needed to grow and thrive.”

The Aquarium’s veterinary and animal care experts continued monitoring the calf’s body condition, her behavior and activity. They also attempted to help the calf gain weight by supplementing her caloric needs with formula. The veterinary and animal care teams consulted with experts in the field of veterinary medicine from across the country. However, in the early morning hours of June 5, the calf began showing signs of lethargy and needed assistance to swim. While next to her mother and in the arms of her dedicated caregivers, the calf took her last breath, and her heart stopped just after 7:00 a.m.

“Our experienced veterinary and animal care team is among the best in the world. They dedicate their lives to these extraordinary animals,” said Mike Leven, CEO and chairman, Georgia Aquarium. “While we recognize death is part of the natural cycle of life, this remains a difficult loss for the entire Aquarium team. Our devoted team of staff and trained volunteers brought an extraordinary level of work and dedication to ensure a smooth pregnancy, labor, delivery and ongoing care for Maris and her calf through thousands of hours of service over 16 months. I’m extremely proud of the passionate, dedicated and loving care our experts gave this calf.”

Odds for calf survival increase with each of the mother’s consecutive pregnancies, both in human care and in the wild. Maris was closely monitored by veterinary and animal care staff throughout her pregnancy. The calf was carried to full-term.

“Our work studying and observing belugas in human care contributes to the scientific community’s body of knowledge, so accredited zoos and aquariums that care for belugas have the most updated science-based information,” said Eric Gaglione, director of zoological operations, mammals and birds. “Even though this calf had a short life, Georgia Aquarium had the rare opportunity to advance our knowledge about the reproductive health of beluga whales. We can share this with other accredited aquariums that care for belugas. By continuing to share and collaborate, we can collectively continue to advance and improve the care we provide to belugas.

“Our primary concern now is the well-being of Maris,” added Gaglione. “Our team will focus to meet all of her needs, which includes a regular schedule of sessions with her trainers and socializing with our other beluga whales, Qinu and Grayson. The beluga whale exhibit will be reopened when it is deemed in the best interest of the animals. Maris will continue to remain under close observation by the veterinary and animal care team.”

The necropsy (animal autopsy) is being conducted by Aquarium veterinarians and other outside animal health specialists. All tests and evaluations will be finalized within the next few weeks, however an exact cause of death may never be known.

20-year old Maris came to Georgia Aquarium in 2005 from the New York Aquarium, where she was born. This is Maris’ second pregnancy and birth.

The father of the calf, 19-year old Beethoven, came to Georgia Aquarium in February 2010 from the Point Defiance Zoo. Beethoven was the first successful beluga whale calf born at SeaWorld San Antonio. He now resides at John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

For more information on beluga whales, please click here.

This is a difficult time for the entire Aquarium and greatly appreciate any positive support and kind words from our fans. If you wish to share your condolences, you can do so through the Georgia Aquarium Facebook and Twitter pages.