By Ryan Vickers
Ryan’s Rainy-Day Dreaming Chapter Two
In last month’s article, I took some time to highlight some aquariums that allow visitors to explore the watery world that covers approximately two-thirds of our planet.
But what might happen if you could enrich your aquarium visit with some (controlled) interactions with the wildlife?
Let’s take some time to see how that would look!
THE GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA – steps from also must-visit Coca-Cola Museum – is the Georgia Aquarium. With over eleven million (!) gallons of water, it is the largest aquarium in the USA and in the top five biggest in the world.
Let’s start off with something: in my honest opinion you can’t see everything in the aquarium in a day, especially if you’re enriching it with the program I’ll get to in a matter of sentences. Some exhibits feature everything from penguins to sea lions to sharks along with so many more experiences.
However, if you want a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience – although I know some people that have done it twice – you might want to look into the aquarium’s “Dive with Gentle Giants” program. It is one of the coolest things I have ever had the pleasure of getting to do over the course of my dive career. Before and after the dive we were taken care of in true VIP service – for example, I was thrilled to walk into the changing room and not only to see my name on a locker but also to see a perfectly sized wetsuit waiting for me along with a towel to dry off with after the dive.
The thirty-minute dive does not leave you disappointed! I had the chance to see numerous creatures up close (but not too personal) during my guided dive. One of the things I especially appreciated was the opportunity for the “dryland” version members of our road-tripping group were led around by an aquarium volunteer so that they could see us at various points of our dive. Not to mention the fact that the “turn around point” was a plexiglass wall that was about thirty feet high where we could definitely sense that more than our group was looking at us!
At the conclusion of the tour, we experienced a wonderful thing – someone else broke down and rinsed our gear! What a treat that was! In addition, we were supplied with a souvenir t-shirt (which it was emphasized could not be bought or acquired any other way) and a photo for the experience. We also acquired the video of our experience, which you can watch at the following link to get a feel for what we got to enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmn5GzjDei0
Information you should know:
The dive itself is VERY MUCH WORTH THE PURCHASE PRICE of $360 USD. Think of it this way – Where else could you get this experience? Please note that this does not include the entrance price of the aquarium.
Also, book ahead. While this is a requirement, I know that our first date wasn’t available when we were booking (and thankfully, we were able to get our second chance of dates). Also, there are a maximum of eight divers per session, and you must be fully certified. Bookings, at the time of writing, are available seven days a week at 3 p.m. with additional sessions at 11 a.m. on weekends.
Feel like booking right now or you’d like to learn more? Visit https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/experience/journey-with-gentle-giants-dive/ and get in the water!
See you next time with more rainy-day dreaming!
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