Georgia Aquarium – tickets, prices, discounts, what to see

Image: Travelandleisure.com

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the largest aquarium in the world and is home to more than 100,000 sea creatures. 

It has seven permanent galleries exhibiting amazing aquatic animals, such as Beluga Whales, Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, Penguins, Sea Otters, Dolphins, Sea Lions, etc. 

Georgia Aquarium is the only institution outside Asia to house Whale Sharks and gets more than 2.5 million visitors annually.

In this article, we share everything you must know before buying Georgia Aquarium tickets. 

Where is Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium is at 225 Baker Street, across the street from the north end of Centennial Olympic Park.

It is in Downtown Atlanta, about 18 km (11 miles) from the Atlanta Airport (ATL). 

If you plan on walking from your hotel nearby or Downtown Atlanta, these walking directions can be handy.

Public transport

The Georgia Aquarium is 1 km (.7 miles) from GWCC/CNN Center Station, which services the Blue and Green line trains. 

You can walk the distance in around 15 minutes. 

If you are closer to the Red or Gold line trains, get down at either Civic Center station or Peachtree Center station

From both the stations, in 15 minutes, you can walk to Georgia Aquarium.

If you prefer a bus to get to Georgia Aquarium, board bus number 32 from either Civic Center MARTA bus station or Five Points MARTA station.

Car Parking

Georgia Aquarium’s parking has 1,600 parking slots, and they charge $17 per car. 

Visitors can use the following street address for a direct route to Georgia Aquarium parking: 357 Luckie Street, NW Atlanta, GA 30313.


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Georgia Aquarium hours

From Monday to Wednesday, Georgia Aquarium opens at 9 am, and from Thursday to Sunday, they open an hour early at 8 am. 

The aquarium closes at 8 pm, every day of the week. 

Georgia Aquarium is open all through the year.

Tip: For an updated daily events schedule, check with the Information Desk when you arrive.


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Best time to visit Georgia Aquarium

The best time to visit Georgia Aquarium is as soon as they open in the morning.

An early visit helps you avoid the long lines, which start around 11 am, especially in summer, during school holidays, and the weekends.

With fewer people, you get enough time to explore the exhibits on your own and take photographs without others in the frame.

Animals in the touch pools are also most active in the early part of the day. As more and more people dip their hands, the sea creatures get tired.

Tip: Buy your tickets online to avoid wasting time in long queues.

If you love wildlife, check out Atlanta Zoo & Aquarium Pass, which gives you access to both the kid-friendly attractions. You also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.


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How long does Georgia Aquarium take

If you are visiting with kids, who tend to spend more time with the exhibits, attend all feeding sessions, see all shows, etc., you will need four hours to explore Georgia Aquarium.

If you want, you can also turn it into a full-day outing because Georgia Aquarium entry tickets don’t have a time limit.

Visitors in a hurry can quickly browse through the aquarium’s exhibits and attend the must-sees in approximately two hours. 


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Georgia Aquarium prices

Georgia Aquarium ticket prices are the same for everyone. Irrespective of age, all visitors pay $39.15 for admission. 

Ticket discount

Unfortunately, Georgia Aquarium doesn’t give any discounts to kids, students, and elders. 

Everyone above three years must purchase their tickets at full price.

Military discount

Georgia Aquarium offers good military discount. At the ticket counters, military personnel with valid ID get a 10% discount on the full ticket price.

Free admission for those in active service is available through the aquarium’s Military Mondays program in November and December. 


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Georgia Aquarium tickets

Purchasing your tickets for Georgia Aquarium online is a better experience for three reasons:

  • Online tickets are $4 cheaper because there is no ‘ticketing window surcharge.’
  • You don’t wait in the ticket counter queue and waste your time and energy.
  • Tickets on-site are sold on a ‘first-come, first-served basis. Booking your tickets online (and in advance) ensures a guaranteed entry.

The tickets get emailed to you. On the day of the visit, you can Skip the line at admissions and proceed directly to the check-in booth to scan your smartphone ticket.

These tickets get you access to all the exhibits in Georgia Aquarium.

Kids under three years get in free and don’t need a ticket. 

Ticket price: $39.15 per person


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Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Zoo

Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Zoo are two of the most popular attractions in Atlanta, and they are only 7 kms (4.3 miles) apart.

Most importantly, both attractions are major hits with families with kids, making the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Zoo combo popular.

When you purchase both the tickets together, you also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.


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Georgia Aquarium entry with Atlanta CityPass

Atlanta CityPass is an excellent way to see more for less. 

With CityPASS, you will save up to 40% on Atlanta’s top five attractions, making it almost a free entry to Georgia Aquarium.

Admission to the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola is guaranteed with this discount card. 

And you can choose any three attractions from:

  1. Atlanta Zoo
  2. National Center for Civil and Human Rights
  3. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
  4. College Football Hall of Fame

Once you visit the first attraction, you get nine days to see the other four.


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What to see in Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium’s animals and experiences are distributed in various galleries, which we explain below.  

SHARKS! Predators of the Deep

Image: Tiqets.com

Predators of the Deep is Georgia Aquarium’s newest gallery.

With its state-of-the-art, floor-to-ceiling acrylic viewing windows, this gallery offers excellent visual access to the mysterious underwater world of sharks. 

It is one of the largest shark exhibits in North America, and here, visitors get to see Great Hammerhead Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, Silvertip Shark, and Tiger Shark. 

Shark Cage Dive

Shark Cage Dive is the most fearsome and yet the most fascinating experience at Georgia Aquarium Atlanta. 

During the Shark Cage Dive, visitors wear a wetsuit and get into the deep with some of the most fearsome sharks.

The program is two and a half hours long, out of which the dive lasts 30 minutes. 

Each dive is limited to eight guests, and at the end of the session, everyone gets a commemorative photo.

Restrictions: Only visitors aged 12+ years can participate, and a participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 18.

Cost: $234 per person

Since this is an in-demand activity, it is better to book in advance. 

Shark and Ray interaction

This activity is a milder version of the Shark Cage dive because you don’t go down the water in a cage. 

In the Shark and Ray interaction at Georgia Aquarium, participants do not swim freely with the sharks but enter the water with the animals. 

The program lasts for approximately two hours and includes:

  • An orientation about different shark and ray species.
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the shark habitat.
  • An immersive encounter with the animals.

At the end of the session, everybody gets a souvenir photograph.

Restrictions: Participants must be at least 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall and weigh less than 136 kg (300 pounds). A participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 15.

Cost: $100 per person

Visitors can purchase walk-up tickets from the Animal Interactions kiosk at The Georgia Aquarium.

Aquanaut Adventure

Aquanaut Adventure helps kids (and parents!) learn about aquatic life by converting the learning into an exciting adventure. 

The gallery offers seven different routes, each an adventure of its own. 

Visitors who complete at least five of the seven routes receive the Georgia Aquarium Aquanaut certification. 

As Aquanauts-in-training, visitors explore fresh water and marine habitats, learn about related scientific research, marvel at animal survival in extreme environments, and even discover careers in aquatic and marine sciences. 

Behind the Seas highlight tour

The Behind the Seas Highlight Tour offers a backstage look at Georgia Aquarium’s most popular exhibits. 

Visitors come closer to the animal inhabitants by visiting the areas to which only the aquarium staff has access.

Behind the Seas highlight tour lasts 45 minutes and runs every half hour from 10.30 am to 4 pm and every hour from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Visitors can’t wear high heels or take along food, drinks, and strollers on this tour.

Restrictions: An adult must accompany all guests under 18 years.

Cost: $15 per person

You can reserve your spot for this tour at the Animal Interactions kiosk.

Cold Water Quest

As the name suggests, the Cold Water Quest has the iciest waters in the whole of Georgia Aquarium. 

This gallery is home to some of the world’s coldest ocean animals, including sea otters, penguins, and more.

A few of this gallery’s highlights are the Southern Sea Otter exhibit, the African Penguin exhibit, and the Beluga Whale exhibit.

Waddle Walk

Waddle Walk is the perfect opportunity to see Georgia Aquarium penguins at their best behavior. 

During the Waddle Walk, penguin trainers lead three African penguins on a stroll across the aquarium’s central Atrium, and visitors stand on the side and watch the spectacle. 

The 10-minute Waddle Walk happens approximately at 10:40 am, although it can occur any time between 10 am to 11 am.

The Waddle Walk experience is part of the regular Georgia Aquarium entry ticket.

Beluga Interaction

During the Beluga Interaction in Georgia Aquarium, you will get into a wet suit and stand waist-deep in the Beluga habitat alongside the whale trainers. 

First, you get orientated on the biology, conservation, training, and care of the animals, and then get to interact with Georgia Aquarium’s Beluga Whales.

At the end of the session, you get a souvenir towel and a photo.

Restrictions: Participants must be at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall and weigh less than 136 kg (300 pounds). Guest 15 years and under must come with a participating adult.

Cost: $155 plus tax per person

Visitors can purchase walk-up tickets at the Animal Interactions desk.

Seal Encounter

As part of the Seal Encounter at Georgia Aquarium, visitors get behind-the-scenes access to the Cold Water Quest gallery.

During the 30 minutes of learning and interacting with seals, you may even pet one of the seals. 

At the end of your interaction with Harbor Seals, you will get a souvenir photo. 

Restrictions: Only visitors aged 7+ years can participate, and a participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 15.

Cost: $64.95 plus tax per person

You can book this experience at the venue. 

Dolphin Coast

Dolphin Coast features the aquarium’s own pod of Common Bottlenose Dolphins. 

Guests can admire Georgia Aquarium’s dolphins both in the Dolphin Coast lobby, as well as in the dolphin theater.

The Dolphin show happens in the Dolphin Theatre, which can seat 1800 visitors.

Dolphin show

The 15-minute Georgia Aquarium’s dolphin show is called Dolphins in Depth.

During this show, visitors see dolphins’ natural behavior and witness their beauty, athleticism, and intelligence.

The show time varies each day, though it is typically held around 11.30 am, 3 pm, and 5 pm. 

Once in a while, times can vary, which is why it is better to confirm once you reach the aquarium.

Since this is a sought-after show, it is better to reach the Dolphin Theater 15 to 30 minutes in advance. 

Restrictions: Everybody is welcome to attend

Cost: The show is included in the general Georgia Aquarium ticket

Once at the theatre, you can reserve special seats (closer to the front) for $5 per seat. 

Dolphin Encounter

During the Dolphin Encounter, visitors go behind the scenes of the Dolphin Theater and meet the dolphins face to face. 

You will touch and feed the friendly creatures while participating first-hand in a training session on how to handle dolphins. 

All visitors spend eight minutes next to the water interacting with a dolphin in fun ways. At the end of the session, you get a souvenir photo. 

Restrictions: Only visitors aged 7+ years can participate, and a participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 15.

Cost: $70 plus tax per person

When you arrive at the venue, visit the Animal Interactions desk to book Georgia Aquarium’s encounter with Dolphins.

Sea Otter Encounter

During the Sea Otter Encounter, guests enjoy an exclusive tour of the Sea Otter habitat, help prepare a sea otter meal and participate in an exciting sea otter training session.

After the Sea Otter interaction, participants take home a souvenir photo. 

Restrictions: Only visitors aged 7+ years are allowed, and a participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 15.

Cost: $65 plus tax per person

You can book this experience at the venue.

Penguin Encounter

During Georgia Aquarium’s up-close-and-personal Penguin encounter, visitors learn about the animal and then get to pet them as well. 

After the 30-minute session, you’ll get a professional photo with a penguin.

Restrictions: Only visitors aged 7+ years are allowed, and a participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 15.

Cost: $65 plus tax per person

Guests can reserve their slot at the Animal Interactions desk.

Ocean Voyager

Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager gallery is home to Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, and thousands of other fascinating fish. 

Ocean Voyager is one of the most extensive single aquatic exhibits globally. It features an acrylic tunnel and a giant acrylic viewing window for visitors to explore marine life. 

The underwater tunnel is 30.5 meters (100 feet) long, while the viewing window is 7 meters (23 feet) tall by 18.6 meters (61 feet) wide.

To ensure the safety of the marine life and the visitors, the walls of the window are .6 meters (2 feet) thick. 

Journey with gentle giants – Swim

This Georgia Aquarium experience is the only opportunity in the world where you are guaranteed to swim with Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, etc.

It happens daily at 4.30 pm, and the aquarium provides all the equipment.

The whole session lasts 2.5 hours, out of which, visitors swim with a snorkel in the Ocean Voyager exhibit for half-hour. 

After the session, every participant gets a souvenir photo and an exclusive t-shirt.

Restrictions: Only visitors aged 12+ years are allowed, and a participating adult must accompany guests under the age of 18.

Cost: $235 plus taxes per person

Since this is a unique experience, it is better to book in advance.

Journey with gentle giants – Dive

Georgia Aquarium diving is the only opportunity in the world where you’re guaranteed to dive with Whale Sharks, Manta Rays, and thousands of other sea creatures. 

Journey with Gentle Giants (Dive) lasts 2.5 hours, out of which you spend 30 minutes SCUBA diving in the lively waters of the Ocean Voyager exhibit.

On weekdays the diving session happens at 3 pm, and on weekends you can choose from two slots – 11 am and 3 pm. 

After the encounter is over, you get a certificate of participation, shirt, and photo. 

Restrictions

– Visitors must be 12+ years to attend

– They must have nationally recognized proof of Open Water SCUBA certification and photo ID

– A participating adult must accompany participants under the age of 18

Cost: $280 plus taxes per person

Since only a limited attendance is allowed for this diving session, we recommend booking in advance. 

Rebreather Dive Program

Rebreather diving is underwater diving using “closed-circuit” rebreathers. 

Rebreathers recycle and recirculate air rather than expelling it into the environment. The main advantages are extended gas endurance and lack of bubbles. 

If you are a good diver, you can opt for Georgia Aquarium’s Rebreather Dive Program.

The program lasts approximately 4 hours and includes a 60-minute dive in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. 

The experience runs for three and a half hours from 10:15 am on Saturday or Sunday. 

Restrictions: All Rebreather dive participants must be 18 and older and provide proof of independent Open Water SCUBA certification from a nationally or internationally recognized organization.

Cost: $469.95 plus taxes

Since the Rebreather Dive Program requires you to take some precautions, it is better to book in advance.

River Scout

River Scout gallery visitors explore the diversity of animals found in the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia, and Georgia. 

River Scout at Georgia Aquarium is a themed environment full of waterfalls, logjams, and a simulated meandering North American river that flows over your head.

The gallery features river creatures such as Alligator Snapping Turtles, Archerfish, and Asian Small Clawed Otters. 

In here, kids love to watch piranha from up close and see their razor-sharp teeth.

4D Theatre

Using the highest quality 3D high definition projection with special effects, Georgia Aquarium’s 4D Theater helps guests experience the underwater world from an animal’s perspective. 

It is one of the most advanced theaters globally, with interactive seats and unique special effects built into the theater itself. 

Showtimes vary and are subject to change, so check on the day’s timings when you reach the aquarium, and reserve your seat as well. 

Entrance is first-come, first-served.

Restrictions: None. 

Cost: It is included with the regular Georgia Aquarium ticket

Virtual Reality Simulator

Virtual Reality Simulator is in the Atrium next to the Southern Company River Scout Gallery.

During the state-of-the-art motion-based virtual reality ride, visitors get “transported” back in time to see wonderful, prehistoric marine life.

With the simulator’s electronic VR goggles and a motion-rocking VR Transporter, guests swim along with a massive Archelon Sea Turtle, marvel at a graceful long-necked Styxosaurus, and come face-to-face with a mighty Ginsu Shark.

*During the simulator ride, guests can’t wear eyeglasses.

Restrictions: Some height restrictions apply

Cost: $11 per person per ride

You can reach the Atrium and purchase a ticket for a simulator ride.

Pier 225

Pier 225 is all about the charismatic California sea lion.

This part of the aquarium transports you to the coast of California for an up-close look at this incredible species. 

Under The Boardwalk

‘Under the Boardwalk’ show features Georgia Aquarium’s incredible California Sea Lions. 

During the 25-minute show, the sea lions and the trainers display their teamwork in a live training session.

Seating is first-come, first-served. It is better to arrive 30 minutes early to ensure your seat.

Once you are at the aquarium, you can also reserve seats for the Sea Lion presentation.

Restrictions: None

Cost: The Sea Lions show is included with the Georgia Aquarium Admission ticket

Tropical Diver

Image: Georgiaaquarium.org

At Tropical Diver, visitors see living corals and thousands of colorful reef fish presented in an exact recreation of a tropical Pacific coral reef.

Don’t miss the overhead crashing wave.

Kids get excited ‘finding Nemo,’ Seahorses, Fairy Basslets, Yellow-Head Jawfish, and other sea jewels. 

Don’t miss out on the three impressive jelly exhibits, which are sure to mesmerize you.


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Georgia Aquarium map

Georgia Aquarium is enormous, and it makes sense to be aware of all the exhibits’ locations.

If you are visiting with kids, it is essential to be aware of the aquarium’s layout to plan and allocate time to the most preferred exhibits.

A Georgia Aquarium map can also help you find visitor services like restrooms, restaurants, gift shops, etc.

The aquarium no longer prints maps to conserve paper, which means you can’t pick them up at the entrance. 

It makes sense to download the map or bookmark this page.

The map is also available on the aquarium’s app for Android phones and iPhones.


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Food at Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium’s restaurant Cafe Aquaria is open daily. 

It starts serving 30 minutes after the aquarium welcomes its first visitor and closes one hour before the aquarium closes. 

The Rotunda Bar opens daily at noon and closes 30 minutes before the aquarium closes for the day.

At Cafe Aquaria, visitors can choose combinations – 

  • Chicken tenders with fries
  • Philly cheesesteak with fries
  • Pizza with fries

Or they can opt for – 

  • Freshly prepared and packaged wraps, sandwiches, and salads
  • All-beef hot dogs and cheese pizza
  • Snacks, beverages, and desserts

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Era Kaundal: Era Kaundal is a writing enthusiast and a Korean language lover. In love with the beauty around her, she dreams of exploring the beautiful sights all around the world. While planning her holidays, she prefers destinations where one can relax and rejuvenate. Favorite Cities: Seoul, Tokyo, Florence, Vienna

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