Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The World's Largest

I didn't think it was possible. But somehow, someone did it.

There is now an ocean in the middle of downtown Atlanta, GA. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but I had the chance to see it with my own eyes during a break from this weekend's MACNA show
.

The Georgia Aquarium, opened in November 2005, is home to over 100,000 fish. The most amazing exhibit, Ocean Voyager, houses 3 whale sharks, a Manta Ray, and hundreds of other fish. The acrylic of the Ocean Voyager's main viewing window, measuring 2 feet thick, holds back over 6 million gallons of water. At its greatest dimensions, this exhibit is 284 feet long, 126 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. This tank is so immense that one cannot see any of the opposing walls; it really feels like being in the middle of the ocean.

Another exhibit that might interest our audience is the Pacific Barrier Reef Exhibit in the Tropical Diver Gallery. This is the largest coral reef tank in the country, holding 164,000 gallons of water. It houses an army of Tangs, Angels and Anthias, totaling 87 different species and 1,474 individuals. The live coral grows on 5 tons of live rock and gets natural sunlight through a 55’ x 65’ skylight fitted with Starphire™ glass.

During the winter, light is supplemented with 60,000 watts of metal halide lighting. Even more impressive is the tank's stunning population of corals, showcasing 69 species and 753 individual colonies, most of which were donated from hobbyists and other public aquariums.


This trip to the Georgia Aquarium really is one of the most breathtaking experiences in my life. The sheer size can only be compared to the open ocean. My words can not do it justice. You definitely need to plan a trip to Atlanta to experience it from yourself.