Going to tourist-based attractions isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind in a COVID rampant world.
However, with family in town, we've tried to make the most of every weekend and thought to give the aquarium a try. Neither I nor my family had ever been to the Georgia Aquarium, but after doing research and making calls on how the visit would work out...the choice to buy tickets was well worth the money.
First things first...
The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the WORLD. With that statement alone, you know that tons of people would flock to this attraction. However, due to COVID regulations in place, the aquarium allows only a certain amount of tickets to be sold for various time slots during the day.
In addition to limiting the max amount of tickets sold, add-on experiences must be purchased online prior to entering the aquarium or via QR codes once on-site.
Now that housekeeping is out of the way -- Here's what to expect when you visit the Georgia Aquarium during COVID-19.
Parking & Entry
After parking, you and your party must enter through the Oceans Ballroom entrance. Prior to getting into the ballroom, there is a sectioned-off line at the bottom of the parking garage where an attendant will ask to see your pre-purchased tickets and take your temperature.
You will then be directed to another attendant where you'll pass through a metal detector and if nothing goes off, you'll head on over to a greeter who will then scan your tickets.
Here comes the fun.
When entering through the ballroom, the first preview of the Aquarium is a large tank separated by Plexi-glass for families to view wondrous sea creatures.
As a person with COVID anxiety while indoors, the aquariums' emphasis on social distancing is incredibly comforting.
Hand sanitizer stations can also be found at every exhibit along with markers for people to stay 6ft apart.
The Main Event
The Georgia Aquarium has a total of 6 exhibits that can be entered through a common area aka the sitting/cafe area. Each exhibit highlights different animals while the setup makes it super easy for guests with disabilities to enjoy the views.
While learning about different species, you will also learn that the aquarium is home to a whale shark...an incredible sight to see.
Additionally, each exhibit is complemented by theme music which enhances the total experience by 20%.
While moving through exhibits, it is apparent that the aquarium focuses on research and bettering the world around us (it is a not-for-profit organization). If you make it to the Dolphin show, you will hear about the commitment to learning more about the animals housed in the facility. You will also find out that each ticket represents so much more than something to enter the aquarium with. In actuality, all ticket money is in support of sustainability and conservation- which is pretty cool.
**NOTE: The Dolphin Show is educational and comes free as part of the general admission ticket. When entering the show, know that the first 10 seats are in the SPLASH ZONE so you will get wet. There is also select seating where groups must be at least 4 seats apart from each other and every other seat row should be left empty. This is enforced by aquarium attendants.
Similar enforcement is also in place for the 4-D Theatre.
Our suggestion is to get tickets for the theatre showings as soon as you enter the aquarium because once the daily showings are sold out, there's no way to find other tickets (especially with social distancing in place).
All in all, The Georgia Aquarium is like the Disney Land of aquariums. It's magical from the first moment you encounter an animal ...even during COVID.
The Ocean Voyager is by far my favorite exhibit, but you'll have to make a visit to see it for your yourself.
***General admission pricing is roughly $33.00 per person (pre-paid parking is an additional $12).
For more info visit www.georgiaaquarium.org