Family attractions in Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium with kids

We visit a lot of aquariums, so I say this on pretty good authority: the Georgia Aquarium is one of the best we’ve experienced in the country. What makes it so great? Fully immersive exhibits and an easy-to-navigate layout.

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is designed in a way to resemble a hub and spokes. Instead of cavernous rooms that link together, making it hard for families to make sure they tour everything, each of the Georgia Aquarium exhibits take you in a generalized loop, bringing you back every time to the hub. The main atrium is spacious and light, which helps with the ‘I’m trapped underground for hours’ feeling of some aquariums, and the cafe seating and dolphin show are upstairs (along with the turtle exhibit), allowing kids to look down on all the possibilities while taking a break for lunch or a snack.

Georgia Aquarium

But that’s just the practical stuff. On the fun side, the exhibits are unique compared to the usual aquarium fodder. I loved the River Scout section with its setting that transports you to a river bayou/swamp environment with clear tubes for kids to climb through to see sea life better, overhead tanks, and peep holes of fish.

Georgia Aquarium

The Tropical Diver section is similar in that the tanks and their inhabitants surround you on three sides: left, right, and above. Glance up at any given moment, and you might see a giant string ray gliding gracefully past, or a shark crossing overhead. Most interesting for small children are the divers in the exhibit (be sure to catch the many shows where they talk to visitors from underwater, educating on the sea life.

There’s an Ocean Voyager gallery and a Cold Water Quest, where you can watch beluga whales swim playfully. I could have sat and watched them all day. Nearby are the California sea otters and other kelp forest dwellers. When young kids get restless (or you simply tire of keeping them on task as they tour, visitors can step into a large play space with a boat to climb, tube and ball pits, and the like. My only complaint is that this play area is located right near the entrance, enticing kids then they first arrive. I imagine many parents must talk their kids into continuing into the rest of the aquarium. Better if it were located near the back of the hub.

There are animal interactions and shows throughout each day, and scheduled Dolphin Tale shows will wow…and be a great way to restore some energy after walking through the galleries for some time.

Date last visited:

February 9, 2013

Distance from the interstate:

Several minutes off of I-75/85.


$23.95 for kids ($29.95 weekends). $28.95 for adults ($34.95 weekends). This attraction is included in Atlanta CityPASS and you’ll get the best value this way or in a Smart Destinations Atlanta card (see below).

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10 am- 5 pm Sunday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm Saturdays.


There’s a decent cafeteria on site, though be advised that it’s as costly as all museum and aquarium cafes. The line moves fast, however, and there’s plenty of seating.


From I-75/85, take Exit 249C Williams Street. Turn right onto Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd, to 121 Baker Street NW. A parking garage is located nearby at 178 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. Park there in the morning and stay in the park area all day, visiting other Centennial Olympic Park attractions.

Find other things to do around Centennial Olympic Park with kids!

As I disclose whenever applicable, we experienced Georgia Aquarium as guests, for the purpose of review. While appreciated, this hospitality did not come with expectation of a positive review.