Aquarium, located in Atlanta
, Georgia, United States, at Pemberton Place, is the world's largest aquarium with more than 8.5 million US gallons (32,000 m3) of marine and fresh water housing more than 120,000 animals of 500 different species. The aquarium's notable specimens include four young whale sharks, four beluga whales, eleven Bottlenose dolphins, three Great hammerhead sharks, and four manta rays.
Funded mostly by a US$250 million donation from Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, the aquarium was built on a 20-acre (8.1 ha) site north of Centennial Olympic Park
in downtown Atlanta. Marcus credited his 60th birthday dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 1990 among the inspirations behind his desire to build an aquarium in Atlanta.
The Georgia Aquarium contains between 100,000 and 120,000 fish and other sea creatures, representing more than five hundred species. On June 14, 2005, the total number of specimens was unveiled after having previously being reported as "over 55,000". Marcus was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying: "I have been saying that we would have more than 55,000 fish; I just never said how many more." The fish were transported from Taiwan to the aquarium by UPS in 42 tanks aboard an MD-11 airplane. UPS donated the cost of the shipping, estimated at over $200,000.
The aquarium's animals are displayed in six different galleries: Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales. Each corresponds to a specific environment. To the left as one enters the aquarium is the Georgia Explorer exhibit, geared especially towards children. It features a number of touch tanks with rays and sharks as well as exhibits featuring sea turtles and the wildlife of Gray's Reef – a National Marine Sanctuary off the Georgia Coast.
Research And Conservation
According to aquarium founder Bernard Marcus, the aquarium's conservation and environmental mission is just as important as its status as an attraction. Long before opening, the aquarium was already working with Georgia Tech and Georgia State University
in Atlanta and the University of Georgia in Athens to help save endangered species through education and research programs.
The Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest since the time of its opening in November 2005, encompasses 550,000 square feet (5.1 ha; 13 acres) of covered space and includes 328 tons of acrylic windows, 290 plumbing fixtures, 200 floor drains, 53 roof tops, 61 miles (98 km) of wires and pipes and 100,000 yards (91,000 m) of concrete in the structure. It holds 8,000,000 US gallons (30,000 m3) of fresh and salt water (conditioned with 1,500,000 pounds (680 t) of "Instant Ocean" sea salt mix) and houses more than 100,000 fish and animals. The blue metal and glass exterior of the aquarium was designed to resemble a giant ark breaking through a wave. The ship’s hull appears to emerge from two large buildings that feature curved, flowing roofs that were designed to represent ocean swells.