For his birthday present this year, Sweetie wanted to visit the Georgia Aquarium (in Atlanta) and do their Swim with the Gentle Giants program. People can suit up and get into the 12 million gallon tank with the whale sharks and manta rays (with an aquarium dive master leading them) for about 45 minutes. So that's what he did!
We stayed right across the street from the aquarium so walked over around 10 am Monday morning and spent the whole day there enjoying everything we saw. At 4 pm we separated and Jerry (along with 8 others) went with the dive master to suit up and get oriented and in the water. I (and 9 other family members of the other swimmers) got to go around to the viewing areas with a volunteer worker and take photos.
The whale shark is the largest shark in the world and the Georgia Aquarium is the only US aquarium that has these gentle behemoths of the sea on display.
When they swim by you at the viewing station, it is truly unbelievable!
They are lovely creatures, with spots all over them and huge heads. But don't worry, they only eat plankton!
They can grow up to 50 feet in length. You can gauge the size of this one by the swimmers next to it.
The aquarium has 3 of these beauties and wants them to have room to grow!
Yep, that's Sweetie waving to me through the acrylic :)
They had tons of fish in this tank with the whale sharks, including smaller sharks of all kinds and all species of rays but the devil ray. Here is the biggest ray = the manta ray.
And remember, it's all fun and games until someone gets eaten! ha ha
Later, I'll share my favorite photos of my all time favorite sea critter, the beluga whale (I was happily surprised to find they have them at the GA Aquarium - and they are very friendly).