Celebrating Birthdays at the Georgia Aquarium

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I received tickets to this attraction in exchange for an honest review.

When we made the decision to move to Gainesville, I realized that my children would be celebrating their birthdays in a new town just 3 months after moving. I figured they likely wouldn’t have a lot of friends yet since school would have just begun, so I planned an extra-special trip to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta with some of their best South Florida friends {check out the coordinating shirts}. That’s a fun way to celebrate, right? We visited the Georgia Aquarium when they were just babies {this Georgia Aquarium blog post from 2012 is awesome – Blogging has come a long way in 5+ years}, but it’s a completely different experience when they are old enough to really understand what they’re seeing.

The Georgia Aquarium is divided into several separate sections. We began by visiting the belugas. They are such beautiful creatures, and it is a rare treat to be able to see one in person! I think the belugas are my favorite animals at the aquarium. The kids enjoyed watching them, too. They have these floats with blankets attached that they toss around the water, hide, then find. They’re so playful!

Lydia was SO excited to see the whale sharks. We went to the huge tank filled with sharks, rays, and all different types of saltwater fish. We timed it so that we could watch them feed the whale shark {if you didn’t know they eat TONS of krill each day}. Whale sharks are such beautiful, gentle giants.

The Georgia Aquarium is very interactive. There are several touch tanks in different areas of the aquarium. The kids┬áreally liked touching the huge, colorful sea stars. The anemones are fun to touch, too. Staff members teach the children how to carefully touch the sea creatures with just two fingers — And my kids actually did a great job following directions!

In addition to touching the creatures above, the kids also had the opportunity to pet rays. This is similar to how they pet and fed rays at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the South Carolina Aquarium. This is always a fun experience because the rays have such a smooth yet slimy feel to their skin.

Here are a few of my other favorite sea creatures: the jellyfish and the sea dragons. Both are just beautiful to watch drift through the water. Fun fact: the sea dragons are the most expensive animals to care for at the aquarium because they only eat one type of food, and it has to be shipped from Australia.

Looking to see more mammals that live in and by the sea? Check out the penguin exhibit where you can go through a tube that allows you to be among the penguins. You can also see a dolphin show and sea lion show. We weren’t able to catch a dolphin show, but we loved the sea lion show. They looked like they were having so much fun engaging with their trainers!

And in addition to all of the amazing saltwater creatures, make sure you also spend some time enjoying the freshwater tanks. These cichlids are so colorful! And remember all of the times we have seen white alligators at other zoos and aquariums? There’s a white alligator at the Georgia Aquarium, too!

This may not have been a traditional birthday celebration for Lydia who turned 8 and Bryce who is turning 6 next week, but it was a fun trip that I hope the children remember forever! We got to spend time with friends and visit the awesome Georgia Aquarium.

What’s a fun way you’ve celebrated your children’s birthdays?

About Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Dr. Carrie Wells is a college instructor, blogger, wife, and work-at-home mother to two children, Lydia (age 7) and Bryce (age 5). Carrie earned her doctorate in Special Education in 2008. After becoming a mother in 2009, Carrie began blogging as Huppie Mama to share her passions for cooking, crafting, beautifying, and her family. In 2016, she rebranded as Our Potluck Family, and her husband Richard became a regular contributor.
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